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Take advantage of family and caregiving benefits

When you raise a child or help support a dependent family member, you’re sure to face extra costs. Here are some common family and caregiving situations and associated benefits from the federal government that can help you meet your financial needs.

Expecting a child, having a newborn or adopting a child.

Maternity benefits can begin after giving birth or as early as 12 weeks before the due date, and the mother can receive this benefit for up to 15 weeks. Parental benefits can be received by one parent or shared by both parents after the birth of a baby or the adoption of a child. Parents can share these benefits for up to 40 weeks, or they can choose extended parental benefits for payments up to 69 weeks but with a lower weekly amount. Maternity and parental benefits are received as employment insurance payments. Note that in Quebec, maternity, paternity, parental and adoption benefits are managed through the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.

Raising a child under age 18.

To help with the cost of raising a child, the Canada child benefit provides a tax-free monthly payment until your child reaches 18. You can apply when you register your child’s birth; otherwise, apply online using My Account or by mail with a Canada child benefit application.

Raising a child who has a disability.

If you have a child under 18 who has a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions, you may be eligible for the child disability benefit, which pays a tax-free monthly amount. You’ll receive the benefit automatically, without the need to apply, as long as you receive the Canada child benefit and your child is eligible for the disability tax credit.

Caring for a family member who is critically ill or injured.

If you take time away from work to care for your child or an adult family member who is critically ill or injured, you may be eligible for the family caregiver benefit. Your involvement can be participating in physical care or providing emotional support. The benefit provides employment insurance payments for up to 35 weeks when caring for a child or up to 15 weeks when caring for an adult. An illness must be recent and not an already existing chronic condition, and the illness or injury must be certified by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner.

Providing end-of-life care to a family member.

If you have a family member who has a serious medical condition and a significant risk of death within six months, the compassionate care benefit can help you take time off work to participate in their care or provide emotional support. It provides up to 26 weeks of employment insurance payments.

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