The Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) is a monthly benefit that the government of Ontario pays to seniors who qualify.
The program is designed to assist low-income seniors by providing them with a monthly, non-taxable payment.
Read on to learn more about GAINS in Ontario, how much you can get if you are eligible, how to apply for it, and when you can receive it.
- The GAINS payments for 2023 are $166/mo for single seniors and $332/mo for couples.
- For seniors 65-74 years old, the guaranteed income level for January-March 2023 is $1,797.52/mo. for single pensioners and $1,388.71/mo. per person (couples).
- For seniors 75 years and older, the amount is $1,866.28/mo. for single pensioners and $1,457.47/mo. (couples).
- The GAINS payment schedule is on or around the 25th day of each month, from July to June of the following year.
The Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) is a type of government assistance extended to qualifying seniors.
It provides Ontario seniors with a guaranteed minimum income through monthly payments.
The GAINS payments are an addition to the OAS pension and the GIS payments eligible individuals receive from the federal government.
The overall maximum benefits from OAS, GIS, and GAINS is the guaranteed income level, updated every three months to reflect inflation.
The OAS is a monthly benefit that individuals aged 65 and older receive to supplement their living expenses.
The pension amount is determined by how long an individual has lived in Canada.
If you have lived in Canada for at least 40 years after turning 18, you may be eligible to receive the full OAS pension. If not, you may qualify for partial benefits.
The GIS is a supplement to the OAS, a program aimed at helping low-income seniors. Due to this, you need to be eligible first for OAS before you can qualify for GIS.
GIS payments are based on your income and marital status. GIS undergoes a review every three months (January, April, July, and October).
Throughout the year, the GIS amounts may fluctuate to reflect the cost of living increases. The monthly payments, however, do not decrease when the cost of living drops.
How Much is GAINS in Ontario?
The GAINS payments for all eligible seniors for 12 months beginning January 2023 are as follows:
- $166 per month for single seniors
- $332 per month for couples
The amounts were recently doubled. From January 2023 until December 2023, the double payment will be automatically issued as part of your regular monthly GAINS benefits.
Effective July 1, 2022, the guaranteed income levels for seniors 75 years and older have changed due to the 10% increase in their federal OAS monthly payments.
The information is organized by private income levels.
For seniors between 65 and 74 years old, the guaranteed income levels for January 1, 2023, to March 31, 2023, are as follows:
- For single pensioners – $1,797.52 monthly ($21,570.24 annually)
- For qualified couples – $1,388.71 monthly ($16,664.52 annually) per person
For seniors 75 years and older, the guaranteed income levels for January 1, 2023, to March 31, 2023, are the following:
- For single pensioners – $1,866.28 monthly ($22,395.36 annually)
- For qualified couples – $1,457.47 monthly ($17,489.64 annually) per person
To be eligible for GAINS, an individual must meet the following requirements:
- Age 65 years or older
- A recipient of the federal OAS pension and GIS benefits
- Has an annual private income of:
- Up to $1,992 for a single senior, or
- Up to $3,984 for a senior couple
- A resident of Ontario for the past 12 months or has resided in Ontario for 20 years since the age of 18
- Has been a resident of Canada for at least ten years
Private income may include money you collect from a private pension, bank interest, the Canada Pension Plan, etc.
The identification you need to receive the benefit is your Social Insurance Number.
If you are an eligible senior who receives the OAS pension and the GIS payments, applying for the benefit is not required.
The GAINS benefits you receive will be based on the following:
- Details provided in your personal income tax and benefit return
- Information from Employment and Social Development Canada
To receive your GAINS payments, you must:
- File your return every year by April 30, whether you have an income to report or not, or
- Complete a GIS application and send it to the nearest Service Canada office.
The GAINS payment schedule is on or around the 25th day of each month. It starts in July and ends in June of the following year.
You can collect your monthly GAINS benefits through your bank account. Sign up for direct deposit at the nearest Service Canada office.
For inquiries, you can call the GAINS Ontario phone number at 1-800-277-9914.
If you are a single, widowed, or divorced pensioner, you will receive a monthly GIS payment of $1,026.96. If you have a spouse or common-law partner, the monthly payment will be $618.15, and $1,026.96 if your spouse/common-law partner does not receive an OAS pension.
To qualify, your income plus the income of your spouse/common-law partner must be below $27,552 if your spouse/common-law partner receives the full OAS pension. If they receive no OAS pension, the amount is $49,920 and $38,592 if they receive the allowance.
Getting a pension from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) requires no specific number of years of employment. The pension amount you receive will depend on your average income throughout your working life, your contributions to the CPP, and the age you started your CPP retirement pension.