Old Age Security Program
Q - What is the Old Age Security Program?
The Old Age Security Program (OAS) is part of Canada's retirement income system. It includes the Old Age Security pension, the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and the Allowance for the survivor.
Q - What can I do if I don't agree with an OAS decision?
You can ask for an explanation of any decision by contacting Service Canada and speaking to a service agent. You can also ask for a reconsideration of a decision about your eligibility or the amount of the OAS pension.
To do this you put send a written request to Service Canada within 90 days of receiving a decision. If you are not satisfied with that decision, you may appeal to a Review Tribunal within 90 days of receiving the Service Canada decision. If the reason for the appeal (called grounds for appeal) is income related, the appeal will be referred to the Tax Court of Canada for a decision.
For more information on the appeals process visit the Service Canada website at http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/isp/oas/oasappeal.shtml.
Q - What is an Old Age Security Pension?
An Old Age Security (OAS) pension is a monthly payment available to most Canadians 65 years of age and older. Anyone may apply. It does not matter what your work history is and you do not have to be retired to receive it.
Q - How do I qualify for an OAS pension?
To qualify you:
1. must be 65 years of age or over,
2. you must be a Canadian citizen or a legal resident of Canada on the day before the application is approved; or
3. if you are not living in Canada, you must have been a Canadian citizen or legal resident of Canada on the day before the day you stopped living in Canada;
4. you must have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after you turned 18.
Q - How do I apply for OAS pension?
You fill out an application and send it to Service Canada. Application kits are available on the Service Canada website, or you can call Service Canada and ask them to mail a kit to you.
Q - When should I apply for an OAS pension?
It is recommended that you apply six months before you turn 65 as it takes time to approve the application. You can apply after you turn 65 and you can receive back payments for up to 11 months. A payment will also be made for the month in which Service Canada receives the application. This is the same for the Guaranteed Income Supplement and Allowance.
Q - How much is the OAS pension?
The amount you receive will depend on the length of time you lived in Canada. For example, if you lived in Canada for 40 years after the age of 18 you may be entitled to a full OAS pension. In January 2010 the average monthly benefit for the OAS pension was $489.25 and the maximum monthly benefit was $516.96.
You may still qualify for a full OAS pension if on July 1, 1977 you were 25 years old and you:
- lived in Canada on July 1, 1977; or
- lived in Canada before July 1, 1977, after you turned 18; or
- had a valid immigration visa on July 1, 1977.
You must also have lived in Canada for the 10 years immediately before the OAS pension application is approved. There are some exceptions to the 10 year rule.
If you do not qualify for the full OAS pension you may qualify for a partial pension. For more information contact Service Canada or visit the website at http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/isp/pub/oas/oas.shtml.
For more information on OAS payment rates visit the Service Canada website at http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/isp/oas/oasrates.shtml. OAS pension payment rates change according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
For more information visit the Service Canada website at http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/isp/oas/tabrates/cpioas.shtml.
Q - Is the OAS pension taxable?
Yes, OAS pensioners pay federal and provincial tax. For more information contact the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) 1-800-959-8281 (toll free) or visit the website at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca.
Q - Can I receive an OAS pension if I live outside of Canada?
Yes. OAS will send your payment outside the country if:
- you lived in Canada for at least 20 years after reaching age 18; or
- you lived or worked in a country that has a social security agreement with Canada and is considered to meet the 20-year residence requirement.
If you do not meet the 20 year rule, payments will only be sent outside Canada for the month that you leave Canada, and for six months after that. Then all payments will stop.
Q - When does the OAS pension stop?
If you have not lived in Canada for at least 20 years after turning 18, OAS will stop the pension if you are out of the country for more than six months. The only other time a pension will stop is when you die.
Q - Where can I find more information on OAS pension?
Visit the Service Canada website at http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/isp/pub/oas/oas.shtml for more information.
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