Q: Can I get financial help if I have to care for a loved one?
A: Did you know that if you are caring for an aging parent, a sick friend or loved-one dealing with mental health issues, you might qualify for caregiver benefits through the federal government? Two federal government programs directly support caregivers–the Canada Caregiver Credit and the EI Caregiving Benefits program.
WHO IS A CAREGIVER?
In simple terms, a caregiver is a person who tends to the needs or concerns of a person with short- or long-term limitations due to illness, injury or disability. Some people are surprised to learn that they may be eligible for caregiver benefits if the person they are caring for is not a relative. The government website says: “As a caregiver, you don’t have to be related to or live with the person you care for or support, but they must consider you to be like a family member.”
The Canada Caregiver Credit (CCC) is an income tax credit for caregivers available to Canadians who support a spouse or common-law partner with a physical or mental impairment. You may also be able to claim the CCC if a child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew with a physical or mental impairment rely on you. Find out more about the Canada Caregiver Credit by contacting the CRA at 1-800-959-8281, or visit www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/canada-caregiver-amount.html .
WHAT CAN THE BENEFIT DO FOR ME?
The Government of Canada’s EI caregiving benefits program provides financial assistance while you’re away from work to care for or support a critically ill or injured person or someone needing end-of-life care. You could receive 55 per cent of your earnings, up to a maximum of $650 every week. For more about the EI Caregiving benefits, a good place to start is by calling the Service Canada Outreach Line at 1-877-631-2657, or visit canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/caregiving.html.
Here at the Resource Centre, we can support you in understanding, connecting to and navigating this information, as well as many other resources around caregiving, under the umbrella of our Community Information Hub, our Caregiver Support Network, as well as our Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. Please feel free to visit our website at resourcecentre.ca to read about these programs, and contact us if you are looking for more information or support.
Angie Theilmann is an information and referral specialist at the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre, your community information hub at 107A – 5710 Teredo. The Resource Centre is open Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments are recommended to be sure we are available to help you. Note: on some days, we can book clients after 2 p.m. Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-885-4088. Search our online directory at www.resourcecentre.ca.