Government Benefits in Canada

Old Age Pension

All seniors for resided in Canada for at least 10 years may be eligible for Old Age Security Programs. It is important to know that benefits under Old Age Security Programs are not automatic; a senior must apply for them.

  • Old Age Security Pension (OAS) is a federally funded monthly pension, which is paid to eligible seniors who have reached the age of 65, are Canadian citizens or permanent residents and have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after the age of 18. To receive OAS, an applicant can apply up to twelve months before his / her 65th birthday or the date of their eligibility. Seniors will receive full amount if they have lived in Canada for 40 years. The maximum amount for January- March 2006 is $484.63. The seniors, who lived in Canada for at least 10 years, may qualify for a partial pension depending on the number of years they lived in Canada.

    Seniors who lived in Canada for less than 10 years may still qualify for OAS if their country has an agreement (International Social Security Agreement) with Canada (Russia, China, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mexico do not have such an agreement) or if they lived in such a country. For example, if a senior lived and worked in the USA for four years, he will be able to receive a partial pension after he has lived in Canada for 6 years. The portion that the senior will receive will be 6/40 of the full pension. If a senior moved to another country, he/she will be able to receive OAS pension only if they resided in Canada for 20 years after they turned 18. If they lived less than 20 years, their pensions will be paid for the month that they leave and for six months after that. The payments will be restored from the month a senior returned to Canada.

  • Guaranteed Income Supplement: Seniors may be eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), which is a monthly benefit paid to residents of Canada who receive a full or partial OAS pension. If a senior is single, his/her income should be below $14,256. Income of a senior who is a spouse of a pensioner should be below $18,720 and income of a senior who is a spouse of a non-pensioner should be below $34,368. This benefit must be renewed annually. Seniors will be able to receive GIS for only six months after they moved out of Canada but they may reapply after their return to Canada.

  • Allowance and Allowance for the Survivor. Seniors whose spouse or common-law partner is getting the OAS pension and GIS, who are aged 60 to 64, and have low income may qualify for the Allowance. Seniors whose spouses or common-law partners died may qualify to receive the Allowance for the Survivor. To receive either Allowance seniors must have been Canadian citizens or permanent residents and have lived in Canada for at least 10 years. This benefit must be renewed annually. Both benefits are design to help seniors living in Canada. Seniors who moved out of Canada will be able to receive the Allowance or the Allowance for the Survivor for six months but they may reapply after their return to Canada. Once a senior turns 65 he or she may be eligible for their own OAS pension.

  • Seniors not receiving Old Age Pension and GIS who are 65 may be eligible for social assistance from the Ministry of Human Resources. Eligibility is based on the income, assets and shelter costs.

    Old Age Security Programs are only a part of Canada's retirement system. The other levels of retirement system are Canada Pension Plan for those who worked in Canada and paid into the Plan and Private Pension Plans. The Government of Canada helps residents in saving for retirement by providing tax assistance with Registered Pension Plans (RPP) and Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP). Senior can also use their savings.

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