What is the Old Age Security pension and who qualifies for it?
The Old Age Security (OAS) pension is a monthly payment you can get if you are 65 years and older. The OAS pension is predominantly based on your residency in Canada.
The federal government may send you a letter to let you know that you will receive the OAS pension. If you do not receive a letter about the OAS pension by the month after you turn 64, you should contact Service Canada to find out if you need to apply.
To receive OAS, you must be 65 years old or older, be a Canadian citizen or a legal resident at the time your OAS pension application is approved, and have resided in Canada for at least 10 years since the age of 18 years. If you have lived in Canada for 40 years since the age of 18 years, you should receive the full amount of OAS. If you have not resided in Canada for at least 40 years, you may be eligible for a partial OAS pension payment. The minimum years of residency required is 10 years. There are some exceptions to these rules of residency.
A partial monthly pension is earned at the rate of 1/40th of the full monthly pension for each year of residence in Canada after the age of 18. For example, if you have lived in Canada for 25 years after the age of 18, you will receive 25/40ths of the full monthly pension amount. Once a partial pension has been approved, it will not increase with additional years of residence in Canada.
You can receive your first payment the month after you turn 65. You will have to pay tax on the OAS pension payment. The OAS pension is reviewed in January, April, July and October to reflect increases in the cost of living and OAS monthly payment amounts may increase according to the Consumer Price Index. If the cost of living decreases, OAS payment amounts will remain the same and will not be reduced. If you are already over 65, you may be able to receive a retroactive payment for up to a maximum of 11 months from the date your application was received.
Since July 2022, the Old Age Security pension has been permanently increased by 10% for seniors 75 years of age and over.
The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is an additional monthly payment for seniors living on a low income. It is not taxable. To be eligible for the GIS, you must qualify to receive an OAS pension (full pension amount or partial pension amount) and live in Canada. You apply for the GIS at the same time as you apply for the OAS pension.
You may start receiving the GIS as early as you start receiving your OAS pension. The GIS amount you receive depends on your annual net income or the combined income of you and your spouse/common-law partner. Your GIS amount may change each year depending on your income. Your income must be below the maximum annual income threshold for the GIS based on your marital status.
If you are eligible to receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement, your spouse or common-law partner may be able to receive the Allowance if your spouse or common-law partner is between 60 to 64 years of age, a Canadian citizen or a legal resident, resides in Canada, and has resided in Canada for at least 10 years since the age of 18. Your combined annual income must be less than the maximum annual income threshold for the Allowance.
You could receive the Allowance for the Survivor if you are 60 to 64 years of age, your spouse or common-law partner has died and you have not remarried or entered into a common-law relationship, and your annual income is less than the maximum annual income threshold for the Allowance for the Survivor.
The above is simply a brief overview of the basics of Old Age Security pension and, if interested, you should seek more information and/or legal advice. You may start by contacting our Intake Line at 416-441-1764 ext. 1.