Old Age Security-Overview

1. Overview

The Old Age Security program is the Government of Canada's largest pension program. It is funded out of the general revenues of the Government of Canada, which means that you do not pay into it directly.

The Old Age Security (OAS) pension is a monthly payment available to most Canadians 65 years of age who meet the Canadian legal status and residence requirements. You must apply to receive it.

In addition to the Old Age Security pension, there are three types of Old Age Security benefits:

  • Guaranteed Income Supplement
    If you live in Canada and you have a low income, this monthly non-taxable benefit can be added to your OAS pension.
  • Allowance
    If you are 60 to 64 years of age and your spouse or common-law partner is receiving the Old Age Security pension and is eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, you might be eligible to receive this benefit.
  • Allowance for the Survivor
    If you are 60 to 64 years of age and you are widowed, you might be eligible to receive this benefit.

Changes to the Old Age Security program

The Government of Canada, in Budget 2012, announced three changes:

  • The age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will gradually increase from 65 to 67 over six years, starting in April 2023. The ages of eligibility for the Allowance and the Allowance for the Survivor will also gradually increase from 60 to 62.
  • As of July 2013, a voluntary deferral of the OAS pension allows you to delay receipt of your OAS pension by up to 60 months after the first date of eligibility in exchange for a higher monthly amount.
  • An automatic enrollment process will eliminate the need for many seniors to apply for the OAS pension. This change is being phased in gradually starting in April 2013.

Canadians working outside Canada for Canadian employers

Canadians working outside Canada for Canadian employers, such as the armed forces and banks, may have their time working abroad counted as residence in Canada. To qualify for the Old Age Security pension, you must have returned to Canada within six months of ending employment or have turned 65 years old while still employed.

You must provide:

  • proof of employment from the employer; and
  • proof of physically returning to Canada.

Under certain conditions, spouses, common-law partners, dependants and Canadians working abroad for international organizations may also count time spent abroad as residence in Canada.

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