Rates Updated: June 30, 2018

The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), Allowance, and Allowance for the survivor are additional income-tested benefits available to low-income seniors through Old Age Security (OAS). Let’s look at each benefit more closely:

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

The GIS is a monthly benefit available to seniors who have a low income and are living in Canada. Unlike the universal OAS and Canada Pension Plan (CPP), GIS benefits are not taxable.

The liberal government increased the maximum GIS top-up benefit available in the 2016 Federal Budget by up to $947 annually for low-income single seniors.

Eligibility for the GIS and Benefit Amount

You qualify for the GIS if:

  1. You are receiving the OAS pension; and
  2. Your annual income is lower than the maximum annual threshold; and
  3. You reside in Canada.

If incarcerated for 2 years or more, GIS eligibility is suspended.

The amount of GIS benefit you qualify for is dependent on your income level and marital status. Your net income (excluding OAS and GIS income) for the previous calendar year is used to determine benefit amounts. For couples, the combined annual net income is utilized to calculate the guaranteed income supplement amount.

Guaranteed Income Supplement for 2018

The table above shows that for 2018, you are eligible to receive GIS if you are:

  1. A single senior with total annual income less than $18,096.
  2. A couple both receiving OAS and with a combined annual income less than $23,904.
  3. A couple with only one person receiving OAS and a combined annual income less than $43,392.
  4. A couple with one person receiving the Allowance and a combined annual income less than $43,392.

GIS benefit amounts and income levels are updated on a quarterly basis using the Consumer Price Index. For the most updated Service Canada GIS rate calculation, see here.

Applying for the GIS

You have to apply in writing for the GIS. This can happen immediately after you have started receiving the OAS. The application form for 2018 can be found here. For subsequent years, once you file an income tax return, your eligibility for GIS will be assessed automatically.

Related: A Complete Guide To Retirement Income In Canada

Allowance

The Allowance is one of the supplementary monthly benefits available to low income individuals who are the spouse or common-law partner of someone who is receiving the GIS. The Allowance is a non-taxable benefit.

Who is Eligible for the Allowance Benefit?

To qualify for Allowance benefits:

  1. You must be between the ages of 60 and 64;
  2. Your spouse or partner must be receiving the OAS and be eligible for the GIS;
  3. You must be a Canadian resident;
  4. The combined income of the couple must be lower than the maximum amount threshold i.e. $33,456 for 2018.

The maximum monthly payment payable as Allowance benefits is $1,133.15 for the July to September 2018 period. You will stop receiving Allowance benefits the month after your 65th birthday.

Applying for the Allowance Benefit

You must apply in writing if you want to receive the Allowance. You can send in your application starting the month after your 59th birthday.

Related: Understanding the Old Age Security (OAS) Pension

Allowance for the Survivor

This is the third supplemental benefit under the OAS program. It is a non-taxable benefit available to low-income seniors between the ages of 60 and 64 whose spouse or common-law partner has died.

Eligibility for Allowance for the Survivor Benefit

To qualify for OAS survivor benefits:

  1. You must be between the ages of 60 and 64;
  2. You must be a Canadian resident;
  3. Your annual income must be less than the maximum threshold ($24,360 for 2018);
  4. Your spouse or common-law partner has died and you have not remarried or entered into another common-law relationship.

The maximum monthly benefit payable under the Allowance for the Survivor benefit is $1,350.74 for the July to September 2018 period. Allowance for the Survivor benefits stop the month after you turn 65, at which time you may qualify for the OAS and/or GIS benefits.

Applying for the Allowance for the Survivor Benefit

You must apply in writing to receive the Allowance for the Survivor benefit. You can send in your application the month after your 59th birthday. Your eligibility for the benefit in subsequent years is assessed automatically based on your income tax return.

GIS Payment Dates in 2018

  • January 29, 2018
  • February 26, 2018
  • March 27, 2018
  • April 26, 2018
  • May 29, 2018
  • June 27, 2018
  • July 27, 2018
  • August 29, 2018
  • September 26, 2018
  • October 29, 2018
  • November 28, 2018
  • December 20, 2018

Conclusion

In some cases, your income for the current year can be estimated to compute how much benefit you will receive. This may be due to lower income due to a recent retirement, a reduction in pension income, a change in marital status, and so on.

If you have questions regarding your eligibility for the Old Age Security benefits, you can contact Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914. You can also download general application forms for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, Allowance and Allowance for the Survivor here.

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