Advertiser Disclosure

The content on this website includes links to our partners and we may receive compensation when you sign up, at no cost to you. This may impact which products or services we write about and where and how they appear on the site. It does not affect the objectivity of our evaluations or reviews. Read our disclosure.

Government Assistance for Seniors With Low Income in Canada 

Many seniors with low income in Canada depend on government benefits for seniors in their old age to help pay for their basic expenses. 

Find out the benefits for seniors 65 and older in Canada, including who is eligible, how to apply for these government assistance programs, and how much you can get.

Key Takeaways

  • Seniors with low income in Canada receive various government benefits, including the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
  • For 2023, the maximum monthly CPP amount eligible seniors receive if they start their pension at age 65 is $1,306.57.
  • The monthly OAS pension benefits for low-income seniors aged 65 to 74 are $698.60 and $768.46 for individuals 75 and over. 

What is Considered Low Income for Seniors in Canada? 

Low income for seniors in Canada refers to earnings below the program’s maximum annual income threshold based on marital status.  

Low-income seniors are those who have a total annual income of $21,168 or less and couples with a combined annual income of $50,736 or less. 

These amounts are based on GIS eligibility and whether or not a spouse is eligible for benefits.

Benefits for Seniors 55 and Older in Canada 

The federal government provides assistance for older and low-income individuals. Below are the three top benefits for seniors 55 and older in Canada.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

Individuals who contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) during their working years, whether employed or self-employed, are entitled to a retirement pension benefit. 

The CPP is a monthly taxable payment that serves as a replacement for a part of your income when you retire. It is a complement to Old Age Security (OAS). If you qualify for the CPP, you will receive the CPP retirement pension for the rest of your life.

For 2023, the maximum monthly amount you can receive if you start your pension at age 65 is $1,306.57. In April 2023, the average monthly amount paid for a new retirement pension (at age 65) was $760.07. 

Everyone who has contributed to the plan is entitled to receive this monthly benefit regardless of the number of years they have worked. The amount you receive depends on your earnings and contributions.

Sign in to your My Service Canada Account to get an estimate of your monthly CPP retirement pension payments.  

If you are qualified for this benefit, submit your application for it in advance of when you want your pension to start. This is to make sure that you will receive your CPP retirement pension in the month of your chosen start date. 

The monthly amount you receive will be based on your average earnings throughout your entire life, your CPP contributions, and the age when you want to start receiving your CPP retirement pension. You can choose to start receiving it as early as age 60 or as late as age 70.

Unlike some of the other senior benefits on this list, CPP is not subject to clawbacks based on your income level. As such, it is available to low- and high-income retirees.

The following are the CPP payment dates in 2023:

  • January 27, 2023
  • February 24, 2023
  • March 29, 2023
  • April 26, 2023
  • May 29, 2023
  • June 28, 2023
  • July 27, 2023
  • August 29, 2023
  • September 27, 2023
  • October 27, 2023
  • November 28, 2023
  • December 20, 2023 

Old Age Security (OAS)

The Old Age Security (OAS) pension is a monthly payment for individuals 65 or older. Regardless of whether you have never worked or are still working, you will receive the OAS pension. There is also no requirement to make contributions. 

There are four types of OAS benefits available:

  1. Basic OAS Pension
  2. Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
  3. Allowance
  4. Allowance for the Survivor

The table below shows the monthly OAS pension amount you may receive:

AgeMaximum monthly payment amountMaximum income recovery threshold to receive the OAS 
65 to 74$698.60Less than $134,626
75 and over$768.46Less than $137,331

You will receive your first OAS payment either on the month after you turn 65 or on the specific date that you have selected. 

You can choose to delay receiving your OAS pension payment for up to 60 months (or five years) after you turn 65. The longer you delay receiving your payment, the larger your pension payment will be every month. 

The payment schedule for the OAS pension is the same as the CPP.

Next Payment Adjustment – October to December 2023

Changes in the Consumer Price Index will bring a 1.3% increase in OAS benefits for the October to December 2023 quarter (an increase of 3.2% over the past year, from October 2022 to October 2023).

The benefit amounts will be available at the end of September 2023. 

Government officials conduct a quarterly review (January, April, July, and December) of the OAS benefit amounts to make sure they keep up with the inflation rate. 

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is a non-taxable monthly benefit for low-income Old Age Security (OAS) pensioners. 

The tables below show the GIS amounts from July to September 2023:

If you are a single, widowed, or divorced pensioner

Your situationMaximum monthly payment amountAnnual income threshold
If you are a single, widowed, or divorced pensioner$1,043.45Less than $21,168

If you have a spouse or common-law partner

Your situationMaximum monthly payment amountMaximum annual income threshold
If your spouse/common-law partner receives the full OAS pension

Less than $21,168
If your spouse/common-law partner receives the Allowance

Less than $39,168
If your spouse/common-law partner does not receive an OAS pension

Less than $50,736

The supplement is based on income and is available to Canadians who meet the eligibility requirements.

Qualified individuals already receiving the OAS may need to apply for GIS since the government may not have enough information to automatically enroll qualifying Canadians. 

You will typically receive your first payment after you turn 65. The amount you get will depend on your income, whether you are married or have a common-law partner. 

Applying for the GIS requires that you apply in writing using the Application for the Guaranteed Income Supplement form

You can opt to receive your payment by cheque or direct deposit to your bank account in Canada.

The payment dates for CPP, OAS, and GIS are the same. 

Other Benefits for Seniors

The CPP, OAS, and GIS are just three of the various federal government benefits that Canada provides for seniors. There are also provincial government benefits for seniors.

How to Qualify for Seniors Benefits

Qualifying for seniors’ benefits requires that you meet several requirements. Prepare the following as well before beginning the application process:

  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Information about where you have lived since age 18
  • The date you would like your pension to start
  • Information about where you have lived since age 18
  • Information about your spouse or common-law partner, such as SIN and date of birth (if applicable)
  • Your reduction in employment or pension income (if applicable)

How to Qualify for Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

To qualify for the CPP benefit, you must:

  • Be at least 60 years old
  • Have made at least one valid contribution to the CPP

Eligible individuals must send a filled-out application to receive the CPP benefit. You can complete the application form online and submit it electronically. 

How to Qualify for Old Age Security (OAS) Pension

To receive the OAS benefit, you must meet the following:

  • If you are a resident of Canada:
    • Be a Canadian citizen or a legal resident at the time the government approves your OAS pension application 
    • Have resided in Canada for at least ten years since age 18
  • If you are living outside Canada:
    • Have been a Canadian citizen or a legal resident of Canada on the day before you left Canada
    • Have resided in Canada for at least 20 years since age 18

How to Qualify for Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

To qualify for the GIS, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be 65 or older
  • A resident of Canada
  • Earning below the maximum annual income threshold for the GIS based on their marital status
  • Currently receiving the Old Age Security pension

How to Apply for Government Benefits for Seniors

To apply for the government benefits for seniors, follow this procedure:

  1. Decide when you want your pension to start.
  2. Submit your application online or through a paper application. 
  3. Receive a response from Service Canada. 
  4. Review your application status at your “My Service Canada” account or contact the agency. 


What benefits do I get when I’m 60? 

These include Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), Allowance and Allowance for the Survivor, and Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Other benefits are CPP Post-Retirement Benefits (PRB), CPP Survivor Benefits, CPP Death Benefit, and International Pension Benefits.

Who is eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement? 

Recipients of the Guaranteed Income Supplement are individuals who are 65 or older, live in Canada, and receive the Old Age Security (OAS) pension. Their income must be below $21,168 if single, widowed, or divorced. The complete list of requirements is on this page

Are seniors getting any money from the government? 

Yes, they are getting money from the government in the form of seniors benefits. Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) are among the primary benefits that the government provides to them. 

Related: What you need to know about inheritance tax in Canada

Retirement 101 eBook - 3D


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

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in Forbes, The Globe and Mail, Business Insider, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, CBC News, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, and many other personal finance publications. You can learn more about him on the About Page.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Learn how to master your money
Millions of Canadians visit annually to read our latest personal finance tips. Subscribe to receive our bi-weekly newsletter and free eBooks.
We hate SPAM as much as you do. You can always unsubscribe...
Learn how to master your money

Millions of Canadians visit annually to read our latest personal finance tips.

Subscribe to receive our bi-weekly newsletter and free eBooks.

We hate SPAM as much as you do. You can always unsubscribe...
Please click the link in your email to complete your subscription and download your free ebooks!
Please click the link in your email to complete your subscription and download your free ebooks!