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Home   >   Social Benefits   >   Seniors Benefits

Old Age Security: OAS

The Old Age Security pension is a monthly payment available to most Canadians aged 65 or older. You must apply to receive benefits. If you meet the eligibility requirements explained below, you may be entitled to receive the Old Age Security pension even if you are still working or have never worked.

Eligibility Information

We look at three factors to determine if you can receive the Old Age Security pension: your age, your legal status, and the number of years you have lived in Canada.

If one of the two scenarios listed below describes your situation, you may be eligible to receive the Old Age Security pension.

Application Information

To get an application kit, you may contact us, you may pick one up at a Service Canada Centre near you, or you can print one from our Web site.
The kit contains detailed instructions to help you apply for the Old Age Security pension, including where to send the completed and signed application form.

What documents will I need to provide?

If you were not born in Canada or if you have not lived continuously in Canada since age 18, you must submit proof of legal status in Canada such as citizenship or immigration papers. Also, you must submit a statement of all the dates you arrived in Canada and departed Canada from age 18 to present. You may be asked to provide documents to substantiate this.

We check the information we have for you in the Social Insurance Register. If your name or date of birth does not match these records, we will ask you to send us your birth certificate.

The application kit contains more details about these requirements. For more information, please contact us.

Guaranteed Income Supplement: GIS

The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) provides a monthly non-taxable benefit to low-income Old Age Security (OAS) recipients living in Canada.

The Guaranteed Income Supplement is a monthly benefit paid to eligible residents of Canada who receive a basic, full or partial Old Age Security pension and who have little or no other income. Guaranteed Income Supplement payments may begin in the same month as Old Age Security pension payments. Recipients must re-apply annually for the Guaranteed Income Supplement benefit by filing an income statement or by completing an income tax return by April 30. Thus, the amount of monthly payments determined for the year may increase or decrease according to reported changes in a recipient's yearly income. Unlike the basic Old Age Security pension, the Guaranteed Income Supplement is not subject to income tax. The Guaranteed Income Supplement is not payable outside Canada beyond a period of six months after the date of departure, regardless of how long the person has lived in Canada.

Eligibility Information

To receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement benefit, a person must be receiving an Old Age Security pension. The yearly income of the applicant or, in the case of a couple, the combined income of the applicant and spouse or common-law partner, cannot exceed certain limits.

Allowance

The Allowance provides money for low-income seniors who meet the following conditions:

  • your spouse or common-law partner (same sex or opposite sex) receives or is entitled to receive the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement;

  • you are 60 to 64 years of age;

  • you are a Canadian citizen or a legal resident at the time your Allowance is approved or when you last lived in Canada; and

  • you have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after turning 18.

If you have not lived in Canada for at least 10 years since age 18, you may still qualify. Canada has social security agreements with many countries. If you have lived in one of these countries or contributed to its social security system, you may qualify for a pension from that country, from Canada or from both countries. For more information, contact us or see International Benefits.

When our records show that you may be eligible for the Allowance, we normally send you an application kit. You should complete the application and return it to us as soon as possible. If you don't apply right away, you could lose some benefits.

Normally, individuals must apply for the Allowance on their own behalf. If you are applying for someone else, contact us for more information.

If you haven't received an application, but you think you may be eligible, contact us toll-free at 1-800-277-9914.

Application Information

Depending on your situation, you will have to provide up to three kinds of documents with your application:

  • Birth certificate - Normally, you have to prove that you are between 60 and 64 years of age by submitting a birth certificate. You do not have to provide your birth certificate if the information in the Social Insurance Register matches the information on your application. If you cannot obtain your birth certificate, contact us for information about other documents that may be acceptable.

  • Marriage certificate or statutory declaration - If you are married, you must provide a marriage certificate. Common-law couples must sign a "statutory declaration" and provide other documentation as proof of your relationship.

  • Citizenship or immigration documents - If you were not born in Canada, you must submit proof of your legal status in Canada such as citizenship or immigrationdocuments. If you have not lived continuously in Canada since age 18, you must submit proof of all the dates you arrived in Canada and when you left. Usually, you can do this with a passport.

Benefits received from the Old Age Security program are not to be included as income. Consult the application form for more details about what to include as income.

What happens if there is a loss or reduction of income?

In some situations, like when you stop working or you suffer a loss or reduction of pension income, we can calculate your Allowance by estimating your pension and employment income for this year, instead of using last year's pension and employment income. If you or your spouse or common-law partner have a lower income this year for either of these reasons, you should contact us. Your benefits may increase.

Allowance for the Survivor

The Allowance for the Survivor provides money for low-income seniors who meet the following conditions:

Eligibility Information

  • you are 60 to 64 years of age;

  • you are a Canadian citizen or a legal resident at the time your Allowance for the Survivor is approved or when you last lived in Canada;

  • your annual income is below the prescribed limit (refer to the following tables);

  • your spouse or common-law partner has died and you have not remarried or entered into a common-law partnership exceeding 12 months since then; and

  • you have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after turning 18.

If you meet these conditions, please contact us. We will send you an application kit for the Allowance for the Survivor. Please complete it and return it quickly. If you don't apply right away, you could lose some benefits.

Application Information

Depending on your situation, you will have to provide up to five kinds of documents with your application:

  • Birth certificate - Normally, you have to prove that you are between 60 and 64 years of age by submitting a birth certificate. You do not have to provide your birth certificate if the information in the Social Insurance Register matches the information on your application. If you cannot obtain your birth certificate, contact us for information about other documents that may be acceptable.

  • Marriage certificate or statutory declaration - If you were married, you must provide a marriage certificate. If you lived in a common-law relationship, you must sign a "statutory declaration" and provide other documentation as proof of your relationship. See below for more details.

  • Citizenship or immigration documents - If you were not born in Canada, you must submit proof of your legal status in Canada such as citizenship or immigration documents. If you have not lived continuously in Canada since age 18, you must submit proof of all the dates you arrived in Canada and when you left. Usually, you can do this with a passport.

  • Death certificate - You must send us proof of your spouse or common-law partner's date of death.

  • Statement of Income - Form number ISP3025

Canada Pension Plan: CPP

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Retirement Pension provides a monthly taxable benefit to retired contributors.
Delivered by: Service Canada on behalf of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)

Eligibility Information

You qualify for a CPP retirement pension if you worked, you have made at least one valid contribution (payment) to the Canada Pension Plan, and you are at least 60 years old. (Your retirement pension does not start automatically. You must apply for it.

Application Information

  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN);

  • If you wish to arrange for Direct Deposit, please have the financial institution number of your bank, the branch and account number;

  • If you lived or worked in a country other than Canada and want to apply for benefits from that country, give details of when you worked or lived outside Canada and your Social Insurance Number there;

  • If you want to take advantage of pension sharing for possible tax savings, your spouse or common-law partner's SIN; and,

  • If you were the primary caregiver of any child(ren) or received Family Allowance or Child Tax Benefits while they were under the age of 7, you need to provide:

    • the SIN of each child; and,

    • the date of entry into Canada for each child born outside of Canada.

Exception

If you are receiving a CPP disability benefit and you turn 65, your disability benefit automatically changes to a retirement pension. See “What happens to my disability benefit when I turn 65?” for more information.

How does my age affect the amount of my pension?

Although the CPP retirement pension was originally intended to start the month after your 65th birthday, you can begin receiving your CPP retirement pension any time after age 60. Your monthly payment is smaller if you begin receiving it before age 65, and larger if you take it after age 65.

  • If you start your pension before age 65: The CPP reduces your pension amount by a set percentage for each month that you take it before age 65, calculated from the time you begin receiving your pension. For example, if you had taken your pension at age 60 in 2011 (60 months before age 65), the reduction would have been 0.5% per month, for a maximum reduction of 30%.

    From 2012 to 2016, this early pension reduction will gradually increase from 0.52% to 0.6% per month. This means that if you start receiving your CPP pension in 2016 at age 60, your pension amount will be 36% less than it would have been had you taken it at age 65.
    This adjustment is permanent—if you choose to start your pension before age 65, your reduced pension amount does not increase when you reach age 65.

  • If you start your CPP retirement pension at age 65: You will get the unadjusted pension amount you are eligible to receive.

  • If you start your pension after age 65: The CPP increases your pension amount by a set percentage for each month that you delay receiving it after age 65, up to age 70.

    From 2011 to 2013, this late pension increase will gradually rise from 0.57% to 0.7% per month. This means that, if you start receiving your CPP retirement pension in 2013 at the age of 70 (60 months after age 65), your pension amount will be 42% more than it would have been if you had taken it at age 65.

  • If you start your pension after age 70: These increases stop at age 70 and there is no financial benefit in further delaying your pension. Note that, in general, Service Canada can only pay retroactive payments of CPP benefits for up to 12 months.