As our population ages, the whole issue of applying and qualifying for government pensions becomes a priority for a lot of people.
In this blog, we will deal with the Old Age Security pension (OAS). This pension is administered by the Government of Canada on behalf of Canadians and qualified residents who are 65 years of age or older and meet the residency requirements. It’s important to note that this is not the Canada Pension Plan or CPP. That is a different pension altogether. Also noteworthy is that there is also a Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) for low income Canadians that is also in addition to the OAS. For the moment, we’ll deal with the OAS.
Interpreting your rights and obligations with regard to the OAS can be somewhat tricky and confusing. Let’s see if we can clarify what you need to know.
The OAS pension is paid out to Canadian citizens and permanent residents who meet the following criteria:
- 65 years or older
- Have legal status in Canada
- Those living outside of Canada must have legal status on the day before they left Canada
- Must have lived at least 10 years in Canada after you became 18 years old, or…
- Must have lived in Canada for 20 years after your 18th birthday if you now reside outside of Canada
- You need to submit the necessary documents
- You need to fill out and sign the application
So when can you apply? As mentioned you need to be at least 65 years old to qualify. You can apply the month after you qualify or the month after your 65th birthday.
You can also delay your application for up to 60 months. This would entitle you to an additional 0.6% per month delayed to a maximum of 36% over your basic initial benefit at age 70.
Your OAS pension start date can vary as well. It can start the latest of:
- The date you indicate in writing on the form
- The month after you qualify
- Retroactive up to 11 months prior to the date your application is received
If you were born outside of Canada there are various items of proof of which you will need at least one to accompany your registration documents:
- Certificate of Canadian citizenship
- Naturalization certificate
- Canadian passport issued in 1970 or later
- Canadian immigration documents or Canadian immigration stamp on passports for permanent residents
- Temporary resident’s permit for temporary residents
Documents such as passports, immigration records (such as visas), customs declarations or other approved documents may be required to prove residence history for those who have not lived in Canada all their lives.
Certified photocopies of any documents are best for submission rather than the originals.
OAS payments will be made to an account in your name at your financial institution.
As you can see, even with some clarification it can still be somewhat confusing and overwhelming. This is the start point and there are additional things that may impact on this.
You have much to consider and choices to make. If you still need OAS assistance and guidance, we would be pleased to help. Please contact us today!