(Closed) You're abusing the system comment from my "friend"

posted 3 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 45
1553 posts
Bumble bee

bellsprout :  ^^^ agreed. 

I would just not mention it again and try to move on. I can see what you were saying. 33% for 18 months *is* hard for most people. You’re not multimillionaires or anything. The system is absolutely designed for people in your situation. 

I can see why she took it personally if her circumstances are so difficult, but you weren’t trying to compare situations or say that you had it harder. There are people out there who have it harder than her, but that doesn’t negate her experience either…

Post # 46
646 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

railroaderwifeyxo :  I don’t think that you were being malicious, however, I could see how she would feel as though your situation is “undeserving” (for lack of a better word) of a baby bonus. It does not help you in the same way as it would help her. A baby bonus for a couple making $150,000 annually (even if it is a small amount) is just extra. For someone making $10,000 annually, that baby bonus is everything.

Post # 47
1259 posts
Bumble bee

I don’t think it necessarily matters what you earn; most people I know would get a bit of a shock to the system with a 66% pay cut on one side of the household income.

Try to let it go, it sounds like your friend is anxious and lashing out because of this. I’m sure she didn’t mean it the way it came across.

Post # 48
2680 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Your friend is wrong. Accepting something you are legally entitle to is not “taking advantage of the system.” Also, I don’t know anything about the Canadian tax system, but assuming your income taxes are graduated- higher earners have theoretically paid more into the system for a proportionately smaller benefit. 

Regardless, your friend is basically dirt poor. She may be jealous or have some misdirected resentment, but you having a little more compassion and empathy for your friend would go a long way. Don’t discuss money with her! Why does she know how much you and your husband make? NONE of our friends or family know how much my fiancé and I make. 

Post # 49
5882 posts
Bee Keeper

railroaderwifeyxo :  I’m a Canadian Bee who teaches tax classes so let me chime in here.

As others have already said, you’re not abusing the system by claiming something you’re legitimately eligible for. In addition to this- with yours & your husband’s combined incomes: you pay thousands of dollars per year in income tax and at a higher tax rate, you are not eligible for ANY federal or provincial benefits such as GST/HST, Trillium benefits (Ontario) or Working Income Tax Benefits (while your friend as a single mom earning $10k would get the maximum of all of these. Your maternity benefits are through EI, something you’ve paid into (proportionately higher) for years. you get only a small CCB while your friend, again, would get the max.

In fact, your friend gets several thousands of dollars per year from the government and yet she would be stung if you accused her of abusing the system (which she’s not either, this is what she’s eligible for as a single parent low income wage earner). But truthfully, you and your husband put far more into taxes (which goes toward hospitals, education, etc) than you take out, while she would get back all of her income tax and thousands more in benefits on top (I would refrain from pointing this last bit out as she likely does see you as privileged  from her p.o.v. even if the person she should be mad at is the father of her child who should be helping her raise her child both financially and by being a daddy)

Post # 50
68 posts
Worker bee



Just commenting to point out that regardless of whether its 55% or 33% over 12 or 18 months, there is a cap on how much you can receive… so it’s X percentage of your income up to a max of like 52k per year, meaning you can only receive like $530 per week regardless of whether you make 52k or 150k. Now I think the leave is calculated based on the PARENT receiving the beneft’s income, so not on the total family income. But for someone earning more than 52k per year before going on leave, you can definitely see how there is a very big change in financial circumstances when you take that time off.

One thing I don’t get (from what I read on the website above) is where it says that you can receive benefits WITHIN 52 weeks of the child’s birth (presumably that will change to the equivalent of 18 months once the whole system is approved), but you can only receive up to 35 weeks of benefits. So basically it sounds like you are only getting that $537/week max over 35 weeks… so realistically the 12-18 months of leave only effectively guarantees a job when you return to the worforce and less so your income. 

Post # 50
741 posts
Busy bee

railroaderwifeyxo :  you’re not abusing the system but I think your friend thought you shouldn’t be entitled to a baby bonus with a household income of 150k, which I do agree with.  I’m not sure why you keep talking about 10k v 30k, that’s really not the situation at all. 

Post # 51
649 posts
Busy bee

railroaderwifeyxo :  You didn’t mean to be insensitive, but your friend is struggling to survive.  She is surviving on less monthly than I pay for childcare for one child. She like many women makes less than the cost of childcare which means 18 months of 33% pay is the much better choice for her family.

Your husband alone makes more than many couples combined so it would be hard for many people to feel sympathetic for households making $133k vs $150k let alone those below the poverty line. Money, politics, and friendships should generally not be mixed especially when your household likely pays more in annual taxes than your friend is living on. Let this go. 

Post # 52
47205 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999


ladytimberwolf :  The current 12 month entitlement is a combination of maternity leave (17 weeks) and parental leave (35 weeks). The number of weeks of maternity leave will stay the same. It is the parental leave which will be extended to a maximum of 18 months after the birth, but at a lower amount.  Prior to Jan 1, 2017 there was a two week waiting period for all kinds of EI benefits. 2+15+35=52 weeks.

Parental leave can actually be taken by either parent.


Neil and Sarah are expecting their first child in Kelowna, British Columbia. Both of them qualify for EI benefits and are applying for EI maternity and parental benefits. Sarah may access up to 15 weeks of maternity benefits, and they are eligible to share up to 35 weeks of parental benefits.

Sarah is planning to take all 15 weeks of maternity benefits and 30 weeks of parental benefits. Neil is planning to take 5 weeks of parental benefits after Sarah returns to work.

There are also employers and collective agreements who top up the amount of money you receive on maternity/paternity leave to a higher percentage of your salary as part of your benefit package.

Post # 53
1592 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

railroaderwifeyxo :  It is not abusing the system to claim a payment you’re entitled to. Abusing the system is like pretending you’re single when you’re married to claim a higher benefit, or claiming you don’t own a home when you do in order to claim rent assistance. Yes, you may not need that entitlement if your household pulls in $150k a year, but it’s up to the government to cut benefits if they are deemed unnecessary, not individual people saying “no thanks, I earn too much”. 

Post # 54
1041 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

railroaderwifeyxo :  I read your post but not all the comments. Your friend is silly to think you are abusing the system if you get a child cheque from the government. The government knows how much you make and caps how much you would get based on income. You are not unique in this scenario and definitely not abusing the system. She will get significantly more money than you.


As for the 18 month leave, I’m so sick of people complaining about it. They haven’t taken away the 12 month option. This just give Canadians more options if you can afford it.

Post # 55
1184 posts
Bumble bee

People get funny about money, even when they are friends. I’m more surprised that you’re surprised by this actually! There’s a large income disparity between your two households, and she feels put off by that. If I were you I would just try keep that in mind when chatting with her. xo

Post # 56
816 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Your friend is wrong to think you are abusing the system, you aren’t but to those who are struggling they think that 100k is close to millionaire status.  She doesn’t even understand what it entails when you actually have to pay your entire costs with no assistance and that 100k in Canada is closer to 60k.

To the American bees there is more to it than the child supplement.  If she makes 10k she is also entitled to the following: additional provincial child benefits (300+), subsidized low income housing which in a major city can save you tons of money, free or greatly reduced health plans (for drugs), and subsidies to childcare.  The benefits can be significant enough that she could live off all hose benefits which are not available to others who make more than 40k (I thrink that’s the threshold). Also, the child benefit is tax free where as mat leave pay is not so you end up paying quite a bit of taxes (which ends up being a tax braket below your original earning if you’re lucky) on your mat leave pay.

This being all said she doesn’t understand all the expenditures you have to deal with.  So it’s best just to ignore her comment and never mention finances to her as it’s clear she is sensitive about the topic.

Post # 57
488 posts
Helper bee

Just because you are a reasonably high income earner, it doesn’t mean you can’t have opinions on your countries various financial policies, and in fact all its policies. Your friend was being rude making it personal. 

Post # 58
1815 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

railroaderwifeyxo :  I’m Canadian too – so I understand what you’re saying. 

In our case, we too get peanuts for our child because of our  income bracket. I don’t think you’re cheating the system – you’re getting what you’re entitled to. It’s not like you’re making thousands and thousands of $$$ – i think I’m getting about $46 a month to give people an idea of the type of money we’re talking about here. This is for a 15 year old boy. That probably only pays for his milk consumption for 1 week. It’s not a windfall of money. 

I think your friend is probably just jealous of the whole situation – she’s living on very little money with a deadbeat baby daddy. She probably looks at your life and feels you have everything. She doesn’t consider the years it takes of sacrifice to get university degrees that get you to the higher pay levels — the student loans, living on Kraft dinner, etc… so I would just let it roll off my back. Say ‘I get what I’m entitled to from the government.’ and leave it there. You’ve done nothing wrong. 

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