On our last blog post, we looked and the Canada Pension Plan and its associated Disability Benefit. These benefits are contribution based; in short, you pay money into them, and you get pension based on the amount of money you’ve contributed. Today, we’ll take a high-level overview of other benefits that are relevant to seniors: Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

Old Age Security is a residence and age based benefit. It is age based because you can only begin receiving OAS when you are at least 65 years of age. The residence based portion of the benefit relies on years of residency in Canada after the age of 18. For a full pension, you must have resided in Canada for at least 40 years after turning 18, and you must have lived in Canada for 10 years consecutively immediately prior to your OAS application. There is a caveat to this rule in order to help people who only left Canada temporarily: if you have not lived in Canada for the last 10 years, but you dwelled in Canada for at least 3 times as many years as you were absent prior to the 10 year period, you are still eligible. For example, if you were absent from Canada from the age of 60 to 63, and you apply at age 65, you are still eligible so long as you dwelled in Canada for 9 years between the ages of 18 and 55. If you lived outside of Canada, but worked for a Canadian employer, your time in the other country may also positively affect your OAS eligibility. Those who did not reside in Canada for 40 years are still eligible for a partial benefit; the maximum benefit is multiplied by X/40, where X is the number of years you resided in Canada after the age of 18.

The Guaranteed Income Supplement is available for seniors who are receiving OAS benefits. GIS is an income-tested benefit, meaning that it’s based on how much you earn; the less you earn, the more GIS you will receive. To calculate how much you might be eligible for, you can use this webpage, though it might not be the most user friendly; the easiest way to find out how much you’re eligible for is to sign up for a My Service Canada Account, or to contact Service Canada. There are a lot of factors that can affect your eligibility for OAS and GIS that we don’t have room to discuss here; if you don’t have enough money coming in, you’re not receiving OAS or GIS, and you’re passed the age of retirement, I strongly advise you contact Service Canada.

Aging can mean physiological changes that can negatively affect your capacity to complete daily tasks; chores can become difficult, as can simple activities everyone engages in daily. Winnipeg home health care is available to help you stay in your own home and maintain your independence while getting the care you need.