Old Age Security Pension (OAS)

Until April 1, 2023, the Canadian Old Age Security Pension is available to Canadian citizens age 65 or older, who have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after age 18. For Canadian seniors living outside Canada, the OAS is still available for those who were Canadian citizens or legal residents at the time they left the country, as long as they lived at least 20 years in Canada after age 18. Currently seniors must apply to receive the OAS. This should be done 6 months before you are eligible to start receiving it. The 2012 Federal Budget indicates that proactive enrolment will be implemented in a phased-in approach from 2013 to 2015, eliminating the need for many seniors to apply for OAS and GIS.

For contact numbers or application forms to apply for the OAS, see Applying for the Old Age Security Pension on the Service Canada website.

The Federal 2012 Budget revises the age of eligibility for receipt of the OAS, starting in April 2023, as per the following table:

OAS/GIS Age of Eligibility by Date of Birth
Year of Birth19581959196019611962
Month of BirthOAS/GIS Eligibility Age
Jan6565 + 5 mo65+ 11 mo66 + 5 mo66 + 11 mo
Feb-Mar6565 + 6 mo6666 + 6 mo67
Apr-May65 + 1 mo65 + 7 mo66 + 1 mo66 + 7 mo67
Jun-Jul65 + 2 mo65 + 8 mo66 + 2 mo66 + 8 mo67
Aug-Sep65 + 3 mo65 + 9 mo66 + 3 mo66 + 9 mo67
Oct-Nov65 + 4 mo65 + 10 mo66 + 4 mo66 + 10 mo67
Dec65 + 5 mo65 + 11 mo66 + 5 mo66 + 11 mo67

Starting on July 1, 2013, the Government will allow for the voluntary deferral of the OAS pension, for up to 5 years, to receive a higher, actuarially adjusted, annual pension. The 2012 budget indicates that the annual OAS pension will be increased by 7.2% for each full year that it is deferred.

Service Canada also provides the ability for recipients of OAS or CPP benefits to view and update their personal information online.

Canada has social security agreements with many other countries, so those not qualifying for the OAS as above may still qualify for some type of pension. See the International Benefits information on the Service Canada website for further information.

OAS monthly payments are adjusted quarterly, based on changes in the Consumer Price Index. For current average and maximum payment amounts, see the Old Age Security Payment Rates on the Service Canada website.

OAS payments are considered taxable income.

The Allowance, until April 2023, is available to 60 to 64 year old spouses/common-law partners of OAS pensioners who receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). Starting in April 2023, the ages at which the Allowance and the Allowance for the Survivor are provided will also gradually increase to 62-66. The Allowance is available when 2011 combined annual income of both spouses (excluding OAS and GIS) is less than $30,336.

The Allowance must be applied for. For more information, see Allowance Program on the Service Canada website.

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