Old Age Security (OAS)
The Old Age Security program provides income to residents who have lived in Canada for more than ten years and are older than 65. The Old Age Security program is one of the cornerstone retirement income systems of Canada. The program has three basic benefits Old Age Security Pension, the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Allowance.
The Old Age Security pension is a monthly benefit. The amount of the pension is determined by how long the person receiving the benefit has lived in Canada.
A person who has lived in Canada for a period of at least 40 years after the age of 18 may qualify for a full Old Age Security pension.
A person who has not lived in Canada for 40 years after the age of 18 may still qualify for the full benefit if on July 1, 1980 they were the age of 25 or older and
Lived in Canada on July 1, 1980 or
Lived in Canada before July 1, 1980 after reaching age of 18 or
Possessed a valid immigration visa on July 1, 1980.
A person who can not meet the requirements for full Old Age Security may qualify for partial benefits.
A person must be 65 years or older. They must be a Canadian citizen or a legal resident of Canada on the day preceding the applications approval.
If no longer living in Canada, they must have been a Canadian citizen or legal resident on the day proceeding the day they stopped living in Canada.
The Guaranteed Income Supplement is paid to a resident who has little or no other income and is receiving, basic, full or partial Old Age Security pension.
A Canadian resident receiving Guaranteed Income Supplement must re-apply annually for the benefit. The Guaranteed Income Supplement is not subject to income tax, unlike Old Age Security pension but is not payable outside Canada beyond a six month period no matter how long they lived in Canada.
A person must be receiving an Old Age Security pension and combined income of the applicant and spouse or common-law partner can not exceed certain limits.
Sponsored immigrants from countries with which Canada has agreements are not eligible for Guaranteed Income Supplement and Allowance during their sponsorship period (up to a maximum of 10 years) unless they:
have 10 years of residence in Canada after the age of 18; or
resided in Canada as a Canadian citizen or permanent resident on or prior to March 6, 1996 and will become eligible for benefits January 1, 2001 or earlier; or
were receiving benefits under the Old Age Security Act for the month of March 1996 or earlier.
Amount of benefits:
The amount of the Guaranteed Income Supplement to which a person is entitled depends on his or her marital status and income.
Newcomers who have lived in Canada for less than 10 years and qualify for Old Age Security under a social security agreement will have their Guaranteed Income Supplement/Allowance entitlement grow gradually over 10 years - 1/10th of the benefit for each year of residence.
The Allowance is paid monthly and includes the allowance for persons whose spouse or common-law partner has died. Recipients who receive the allowance must re-apply annually and the benefit is not considered income for the purpose of income taxes.
The Allowance may be paid to the spouse or common-law partner of a person receiving the Old Age Security pension or to the survivor.
An applicant must be between the ages of 60 and 64, must have lived in Canada for at least 10 after turning 18 years of age.
An applicant must have been a Canadian citizen or legal resident on the day preceding the application’s approval.
To qualify the yearly combined income for a couple or the annual income for the survivor cannot exceed certain limits.
The Allowance stops when a recipient becomes eligible for the Old Age Security pension at the age of 65.
The Allowance will stop when a survivor remarries or has a common-law partnership for more than 12 months.
Amount of Benefit:
The Allowance is income based benefit. The maximum amount payable to the spouse or common-law partner of a pensioner is equal to the combined full Old Age Security pension and the maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement at the married rate. The maximum amount for a surviving spouse or common-law partner is somewhat higher.
The Allowance Benefit is prorated if the person did not reside in Canada for 10 years after reaching the age of 18 and:
They were not residing or had not resided in Canada before March 7, 1996 as a Canadian citizen or permanent resident or
They were residing in Canada on that date or had resided in Canada prior to that date but will not receive a pension in January 2001 or before.
The rate of 1/10th of the benefit is established for reach year of residence in Canada after reaching the age of 18 and will increase by 1/10th for each additional year of residence.