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Can You Stop OAS Payments Once You Start?


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Perhaps you have applied for OAS and started receiving the monthly benefits only to realize you don’t need the income now. Can you stop receiving OAS payments after you start?

Yes, OAS payments can be cancelled or deferred until later if you decide to do so within six months of receiving your first payments.

How To Cancel or Delay OAS Payments

You can cancel or postpone OAS payments by contacting Service Canada in writing within six months of receiving your first payment.

Send your letter to the nearest Service Canada office. You can also visit one of their offices for in-person support.

Note that you will need to repay all the benefits you have received and re-apply in the future when you want benefits to restart. The latest you can delay OAS is until age 70.

Reasons To Stop or Delay OAS

Some reasons to cancel OAS and defer payments to the future include:

1. Increased Benefits: Every month you defer past age 65, your monthly benefits increase by 0.60%. For example, delaying OAS by one year will result in a permanent guaranteed 7.2% increase in benefits.

If you don’t need the income at age 65, are still working, or have a long life expectancy, deferring OAS could make sense.

2. Current High Income: Following the first point, if your current income from other sources is high, taking OAS now can result in partial or full clawback of those benefits. You can either lower your net income or defer OAS until income from other sources is lower.

Reasons Not To Defer OAS

Sometimes, there is no point in deferring OAS. For instance, if your income will remain high throughout retirement, you may as well collect whatever you can now or come to terms with the reality that you won’t benefit much from the pension plan. Financial planning strategies can help you find breakeven points that are optimal.

If you have significant health problems and a short life expectancy, it may be beneficial to start OAS as soon as you qualify.

Lastly, if you qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) or if your spouse qualifies for the Allowance, you will not be able to receive these benefits while OAS is deferred.



Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and recently created a practical investing course for beginners. You can read his full author bio.

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