Canadian Old Age Security (OAS) & Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

10562935_sEach year when preparing personal tax returns, I seem to be completing more applications for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).  The GIS provides money to low-income seniors, living in Canada, in addition to their Old Age Security Pension.  Now whether this is because my client base is becoming older and/or the need is now greater is really irrelevant.  The point is that there are a lot of seniors living on the poverty line and these funds are necessary for their day to day living.

What is Old Age Security?

OAS is a pension paid monthly and available to most Canadians.  You may receive this pension whether you are still working or have never worked. An application must be completed to receive these benefits.

To be eligible you must be living in Canada and;

  • 65 years of age or older
  • You must have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after turning 18
  • Be a Canadian citizen or legal resident at the time your pension application is approved

OR

If you live outside Canada, you still may qualify if you meet the following requirements:

  • 65 years of age or older
  • You must have lived in Canada for at least 20 years after turning 18
  • Been a Canadian citizen or legal resident of Canada the day before you left Canada

If neither of the above scenarios apply, there is still the possibility of receiving OAS if a social security agreement is in place with the country pertaining to your history.

You should apply for your OAS pension 6 months before you turn 65.  To get an application form you can go to a Service Canada Centre or print one from the website by  clicking here.

 

For more information concerning calculation of pension benefits, payments, income tax implications and numerous other topics, go to Service Canada website for answers to these and other OAS questions. You will find the link by clicking here.

 

What is the Guaranteed Income Supplement?

 

The GIS is a benefit that you may be eligible to receive, only if you are currently receiving the OAS pension.  You must complete an application form to initially apply.  To reapply, you need to continue to file your personal income tax returns by April 30.  To receive an application form call 1.800.277.9914 (TTY: 1.800.255.4786)

If you did not qualify for a GIS benefit in the past, but you think you might be eligible now, you should apply as soon as possible.  There is no cost involved to apply.

The amount you could receive is based on your age, marital status and income from the previous year.  Service Canada has a great website that helps you determine, based on income, what monthly OAS and GIS payments you may be eligible to receive. Here are the tables of rates.

There is also an Allowance for those aged 60 – 64 with details and rates included on the website.

From the CRA website, is a list of what is considered income and determining eligibility for the GIS and Allowance.

When applying for the GIS benefit, you, and in the case of a couple, you and your spouse or common-law partner, must report the following income:

  • Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan benefits
  • private pension income and superannuation
  • foreign pension income
  • RRSPs that you cashed during the year
  • Employment Insurance benefits
  • interest on any savings
  • any capital gains or dividends
  • income from any rental properties
  • any employment income minus allowable deductions including your Canada Pension Plan and/or Quebec Pension Plan contributions and your Employment Insurance premiums. Subtract the lesser of the result of the calculation or $3,500;
  • income from other sources such as workers’ compensation payments, alimony, etc.

Benefits received from the Old Age Security program, including the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Allowance, are not included as income.

For more information on getting the greatest tax credits, deductions, pension splitting and other topics of interest go to the government website for Seniors. You will find the link here.

It’s important that we take care of Canada’s valuable assets.

Education is the best provision for the journey to old age. – Aristotle

I love getting feedback here on the blog. Please feel free to comment or ask for more information!

Until next time,

Maureen

6 thoughts on “Canadian Old Age Security (OAS) & Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

  1. Hello Maureen
    I’m having a difficult time knowing what I qualify for. I receive OAS and CPP as well as a disability pension from when I was injured in the armed forces . My wife has conditions that leave her unable to work trouble with her back. She had a knee replacement last year and still needs a hip replacement.and the other knee as well. She just came from an appointment with a specialist and was told that she may lose mobility within two (2) years. She is 59 years old and wont be able to receive a pension for 6 more years..I had my left knee replaced 5 years ago and got infection in the knee leaving me unable to work for 3.5 years finally they got that fixed and they replaced the other knee last year. Now what I would like to know is there any supplements out there that we may qualify for, Guaranteed income, Disability tax credit , disability refunds. my wife has not been able to work for at least 15 years + I am 70 years old and now in good health but we are having trouble making ends meet. Please e-mail me and let us know what we can do .

    • Hi Robert

      Both of you may be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). You would each need to have your doctor complete a T2201 form and submit it to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for approval. Depending on the time you became eligible, and if you paid Federal Tax during that period, you may qualify for a refund. You may also be eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) since you’re already receiving OAS. One of the determining factors is your combined income. Start the process to determine if you qualify for the GIS as soon as possible since it takes about 3 months for it to be included in your OAS monthly income. And don’t forget the Healthy Home Renovation Tax Credit. The purpose of it is to improve safety and accessibility in your home. Here is a link for you to determine if appropriate. http://www.ontario.ca/taxes-and-benefits/healthy-homes-renovation-tax-credit
      Maureen

  2. Hi. We have decided not to pull money from our rrsps this year as it is depleting. Is there any supplements available for reduction in income. Our family income will be around 12k total . What forms are required? thks

  3. I turned 65 last Oct. & need to apply for the income supplement. Do I have to wait till my income tax is done to apply for 2013? At present I am receiving only about $900 a month & an incurring debts because I can’t keep up with payments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge