Government Benefits

How much will the government pay you?

How much will the government pay you?

A while back, I wrote an article on how much money you might get from government benefits.

In the article I stated, “The most you will receive from the government is $24,346.44 if you have no other sources of income and only $16,684.92 if you have other sources of income. Clawback and contribution rules may reduce these amounts.”

I’ve been asked by many readers where these numbers came from so here it is.

First, let’s address the $16,684.92. Most Canadians will qualify for some level of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS).

At the time the article was written, the most you could collect from CPP was $10,614.96 per year. For Old Age security the most you can get was $6,069.96 per year. Add those numbers together and you get $16,684.92.  Heres the maximum CPP and OAS amounts for current years:

YEAR Max Monthly CPP Max Monthly OAS Combined monthly Combined Annual Max
2013 $1,012.50 $546.07 $1,558.57 $18,702.84
2012 $986.67 $540.12 $1,526.79 $18,321.48
2011 $960.00 $524.23 $1,484.23 $17,810.76
2010 $934.17 $516.96 $1,451.13 $17,413.56
2009 $908.75 $516.96 $1,425.71 $17,108.52
2008 $884.50 $502.31 $1,386.81 $16,641.72
2007 $863.75 $491.93 $1,355.68 $16,268.16
2006 $762.92 $484.63 $1,247.55 $14,970.60

As of October 2007, the average CPP retirement pension paid out was only $481.46 per month. That’s a lot lower than $884.58 per month because not everybody qualifies for the maximum. Some of the reasons you might not get maximum CPP includes lower contributions because of lower income levels or not contributing for enough years because of starting late into the workforce or maybe you retire early which also means you contribute less into CPP.

1. Canada Pension Plan is a contributory plan. Basically that means how much you get when you retire depends on how much you contributed while you worked. If you have made at least one payment into the CPP plan, you qualify to collect a benefit.While it would be nice to get the maximum from the government, not everyone does. As I said in the article that amount represents the most anyone can get from the government. Here are a few examples of why people might get less than the maximum:

It’s a little more complicated than this but basically, you have to contribute the maximum amount for at least 40 years over the age of 18 to qualify for the maximum benefit. For more details, you can visit the Service Canada website (

Related article: How much will you get from CPP in retirement?

2. The maximum CPP amount is based on a normal pension at age 65. You can collect the CPP as early as age 60 but at a reduced amount. In 2013, you will lose 0.54% for every month you take CPP before your 65th birthday. For example, at age 60, you will lose 32.4% (0.54% x 60months) of your eligible amount at age 65. To collect CPP early, you no longer have to stop working. Taking CPP early means makes good sense for most people but it means you will not get the maximum.

Related article: Should you take CPP early under the new rules?

The best way to find out how much you will get from CPP is to check your Statement of Contributions, or call 1 800 277-9914. The closer you are to the date on which you want to begin your pension, the more accurate the estimate will be.

3. Old Age Security is a monthly benefit available to anyone 65 years of age or over (unlike CPP, you cannot collect earlier). Eligibility for OAS is all based on residency and has nothing to do with employment history. It also does not matter if the applicant is working or retired. If you were resident of Canada for less than 40 years after the age of 18, you will get a reduced amount of OAS.

Related article: Three big changes to OAS

In addition to the basic OAS pension, low-income seniors may qualify for other retirement benefits such as the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and the Allowance. The threshold for low income depends on whether you are single, married or widowed. That’s where the $24,346.44 figure came from. The difference between this number and $16,584.92 is the maximum benefit for GIS as a single person. Again, few people qualify for the maximum GIS.

Related article: The difference between CPP and OAS

The rules for government benefits are not easy to understand. For more information, contact Service Canada.


  1. Gloria

    I was forced to retire prior to turning 65 due to ill-health. So, I retired and am fast approaching my 65th birthday, at which point, as everyone has told me, I will lose whatever CPP has been sending me each month.

    I was a provincial employee and paid into our pension plan. I receive a cheque from this fund. I applied for early CPP and receive a cheque from CPP. According to all, once I turn 65, the pension amount from CPP will be “deducted” from my provincial pension cheque.

    For example, say I receive $2000 a month from my provincial pension and $600 from CPP; according to retired friends, once I’m 65, the provincial pension will be dropped to $1400 a month and I will receive $600 from CPP — essentially, a big drop in income regardless of which cheque is affected. 🙁

    Can you tell me why this will happen and if there is any way to minimize the loss?

    • Doug

      It is unclear to me whether the CPP that you are currently receiving is the disability pension or the early retirement pension. If it is an early retirementy pension, that amount will continue to be paid to you until death (with annual increases for cost of living). If it is a disability benefit, that will convert at age 65 to a retirement pension at a lower rate. The basic formula for the conversion from disability to retirement benefit is to subtract the flat-rate benefit (approx $440) and divide the answer by 75%. Thus if your current CPP disability were $600/mthly, your converted retirement pension would be about $213.33 ($600-$440)/75%.
      As to your provincial pension, you probably should check with your personnel office, but the common approach if you worked for the province for your entire CPP contributory period is that your pension from them would be reduced at age 65, by your estimated age-65 CPP retirement pension (which may be more than your actual CPP if you’re receiving the early retirement benefit.
      The good news (assuming you’ve lived in Canada for at least 40 years after age 18) is that you should also be eligible for Old Age Security (OAS) at age 65. The approximate amount of OAS is $530 mthly.

      • Gloria Carter

        Why does the CPP-Disability Benefit end at age 65 and convert to a much smaller amount. It seems discriminatory. I mean am I somehow not disable anymore?

        • Doug Runchey

          Gloria – The CPP was designed to work in conjunction with the OAS program, so it was felt that the higher CPP disability amount could end at age 65 when OAS/GIS eligibility starts.

        • Deb

          You are much better off than a lot of people.

          • Deb

            I know that because I am married, I will receive less money when I retire-because of spouses income, we will not be able to still afford our mortgage, food, utilities etc, once I retire. Therefore I have two options- divorce & claim as single…which many common-law people already do, or hopeful that I can stay working until I am 75 yrs old. That would be when mortgage is paid off. Or give up our house?? This just doesn’t seem fair. I do not get a pension from any job…only CPP,with no supplement ~ as of now. I am not sure what I am to do??
            My observation is this:If you are white & born in Canada, do NOT get married. Live common-law, as you still can claim single. Like I stated- most people do not claim all of their income (from partner) and no one ever gets caught. Therefore the household income is much more. There will be GST,family allowance,income tax returns-all of which stopped once I married.
            So unfair. If I know then, what I know now (after 37 years of marriage), we would be living common-law!!!

    • Bob

      I receive a provincial pension and the clawback is calculated when I retired, independent of my CPP. It is a little higher than my CPP at age 60 but does not start til age 65 so I feel it is to my benefit to receive CPP for 5 years with no clawback. If you wait til 65, CPP will be bigger but you have lost 5 years of CPP at the lower rate. I calculated to breakeven at age 76, if I am still alive.

      • Lorianne

        I lived in canada since I was born I turn 65 this year.

    • Tim Darron

      You have a bridging pension which means that after you receive OAS on your 65th birthday (about 565$ per month) then your defined benefit is reduced or clawed back.

      • DEB

        OAS IS $589.49

        • Lorianne

          I thought it was more but a person still recieves GIS how much is that?

    • Sonja

      Dear Doug (or anyone who is willng to help;))
      I was just wondering about one thing-my stepfather who is a canadian citizen has worked and lived in canada for 26 Years. Last year he moved to Croatia and he retired early (turned 60 this year-2017). His pension is around 200 dollars. My questions Are: is that too low in your opinion? And is it possible that his pension has been reduced for 66% (that is what we have been told) thank you all so much for all your help

      • Doug Runchey

        Hi Sonja – If he took his CPP at age 60, it would be reduced by 36% not 66%, but he may also have some withheld as a non-resident tax. If his earnings were at the YMPE level for each of the 26 years, his CPP at age 60 would be approx. $529, so a pension of $200 represents an average salary of approx. $20,000 in 2017 dollars. Is that approximately what he was earnings just before he left Canada?

        • Sonja

          Dear Doug, thank you so much for your answer. I did not know that there was such a thing as a non-resident tax so I assume that that was the reason why his pension had been reduced so much. I think that it probably was calculated correctly then…. we just weren’t sure why it was so much lower than he had expected but with the non-resident tax it probably makes sense. 🙂 thank you once again

      • She

        How does this happen are you kidding me my grandfather my father my mother have paid taxes all there life’s and a new immigrant to Canada gets 2500 per mth THIS IS NOT OK !!

    • Latrice monet borwn

      latrice monet brown would like $679 aday or amonth call me at 804-709-8549 .

  2. Mike

    Does the calculation of the benefit (before the penalty) at 60 count the years 60-65 as no income for the average? In other words, can they bring down the average?

    I am thinking of someone who turns 60 and can choose to stop working early but has less than 40 years of contributions. Is the difference just the 30% or must they also look at any potential increase in their benefit from 5 more years of higher contributions?

    • Doug

      If someone applies for a CPP retirement pension at age 60, their contributory period ends then, thus they will not have those 5 years of zero income reducing their average earnings for benefit calculation purposes.

  3. Jeff

    Jim I believe that the $24K in maximum benefits may be overstated. If you receive the maximum in CPP benefits of $10.6K and OAS of $6K, you can’t receive the full amount of GIS payments of $7.7K because your CPP income is included in the income that is taken into consideration for GIS clawback. So based on 2012 clawbacks they would only receive $2.9K in GIS payments. This would total $19.5K. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Please clarify. Thanks.

    • Doug

      I agree with you 100%, but if we want to use the 2012 figures for the GIS, perhaps it would be useful to update the CPP & OAS figures also.
      I get max CPP for 2012 as $986.67 mthly x 12 = $11,840 annually and max OAS for Jan/2012 as $540.12 mthly x 12 = $6,481 annually. Using the $11,840 to calculate GIS for a single pensioner would be $188.76 mthly x 12 = $2,265.
      Using these numbers, the max gov’t payout for 2012 would be $20,586 ($11,840 CPP + $6,481 OAS + $2,265 GIS).

      • Tim Darron

        Jeff you are correct and do not worry. The Fed and Provincial Revenue Agencies are watching you like a hawk.This often results in big tax return over payment claw back.The revenue agencies often over pay GIS and Provincial GAIN payments only to send you a huge bill at tax time.

    • Doug

      I agree with you that you can’t count the max GIS if you’re receiving max (or any) CPP. Updating all of the data for Jan/2012, I get:
      – max CPP mthly of $986.67 x 12 = $11,840;
      – max OAS mthly of $540.12 x 12 = $6,481;
      – GIS of $188.76 mthly (based on max CPP of $11,840) x 12 = $2,265.
      – combined total of CPP/OAS/GIS = $1,715.55 mthly x 12 = $20,586.

  4. Denyse

    Does one qualify for GIS if one owns a house or condo and is receiving only $400 in CPP?

  5. Doug

    Owning a house or condo (or any other assets) does not affect GIS eligibility. The only 3 factors are:
    – receiving OAS;
    – marital status;
    – income (combined income if married or C/L).

    In your example, if the person is receiving “full OAS” (based on having lived in Canada for 40 years after age 18), is single and has income only of $400/mth CPP, they would be eligible for GIS in the amount of $481.76/mth.

  6. tony

    I already receive a pension from my workplace of 33 years. When I reach the age to get old age and cpp do i lose this amount from my workplace pension?

    • Doug

      You would have to get that answer from whoever administers your workplace pension. Some plans are “integrated” with the government benefits (OAS and/or CPP), whereby they pay higher amounts until you become eligible for benefits from the government. Other workplace plans are independent from government benefits and may not be reduced at age 65 or when those government benefits start.

    • Tim Darron

      Tony. typically your defined benefit pension is reduced by the OAS pension amount pension at 65 yrs old. Before this time it is called a bridging pension.

      • Cindymarshall

        Hi I am 59 recieved a pension statement it looks like 213 a month is this correct have worked most of my life some years my income was up to 44 thousand I sit better to receive it when I turn 600 next year?

  7. Catherine Smith

    I just wanted to thank you so much for such great information. I still have a few years to go but it still helps to be informed. By the time I retire things will totally be different because the Canadian Government likes to change things without our input.

  8. Phil in Victoria

    Great info Doug, thanks a bunch.
    Amazing, so many Canadians don’t know all the ins-and-outs of our system. For example one of my neighbors just turned 65 gets max CPP benefits but I mentioned what about OAS, he was clueless. Apparently when you apply for CPP whether earlier or at age 65, OAS is not received until you separately apply for it. And the good thing if we can say anything for the governement, they told him once you apply for OAS it is paid retro-actively from when you apply to that starting age of 65.

    • Doug

      You’re welcome for the info. I’m glad to be able to pass on some of the knowledge that I learned in working for OAS/CPP for over 30 years. Speaking of which, the retroactivity that your neighbour mentioned for OAS is limited to 1 year, so it’s good that he learned of it when he did.

  9. Interested Reader

    If a woman (or man) stops working to have children (raise children) and never really goes back to full-time work for the rest of her/his life, is there some advice you can give as to how much money she/he can expect for her/his contribution to society?
    Will they be poverty stricken because their contribution to society was in the area of volunteerism (not measurable in GDP or dollar earning exactly)? Has the government thought of rewarding volunteers for their equally important, but not monetarily measurable contributions?
    It seems that CPP should not only be tied to “paying in dollars” but also recognizing years of effort and time/volunteer hours. Has there been some thought given to that by the government to your knowledge? Since most communities have a lot of non-profit organizations and charitable efforts, we see huge numbers of people volunteering their time, sometimes they are unable to find work and volunteer in the meantime, but some forego a salaried job for the growth and benefit of their community and community organizations. Some of these people are well off due to spouses working, but some live a meager existence, yet contribute hugely to the social fabric of their communities by their dedication, hard work and sacrifice. This is not being recognized at pension time, yet hours and hours of time are devoted to their country and community without a measurable monetary input.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this and if you feel it would be beneficial (what with all the push for people to “serve” “volunteer” etc) if some of these volunteers (under certain conditions) may be able to translate their freely given hours into a pension later in life. I am thinking of clergy also in this, but mainly people who volunteer for a non-profit organization (community recreation, religous, charities, etc) and are unable/unwilling to hold a full-time job because of the time commitment (or even that taking a full-time job would mean the valuable work of that organization would falter). Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Doug

      Dear Interested Reader
      From a CPP perspective, every year spent out of the workforce raising children under age 7 by an eligible parent (usually the female), can be “dropped out” under the CRDO provision. This won’t create a benefit if they’ve never worked, but if they did work before or after raising children, it will increase the amount of their benefit by about 2.5% for every year that they’re able to drop out.
      Aside from feeling good about themselves, the only other “payment” for volunteers is under the OAS program. Under that program, each year of residence in Canada after age 18 (up to a max of 40 years) is worth about $13.50 monthly at age 65. In addition, if they have no other income, they could be eligible for up to $732/mth in the form of GIS benefits.

      • Lionel

        Re: “payment” for volunteers
        quote ” the only other payment for volunteers is under the OAS program. Under that program” What is “that” program named and how do you apply for it? Are stay at home moms considered volunteers under this program? Thank you

        • sherrie l white

          Well considering everyone gets OAS then I guess they (stay at home moms) will get it.

        • Mike Smith

          Staying home with children is not volunteer work. It is a choice. You should save all of the money you are saving from not paying for childcare.

          Otherwise everyone would just stay home and no one would work.

          • Gary Forgie

            Mark Smith: As a Canadian you seem to believe that being a stay at Home Mom, has little or no value.

            Can you explain to me how a stay at home mom is supposed to save all of this money up that you are speaking about.

            As a fellow Canadian I cannot believe that you have such a low opinion of the choices that Women in this Country have a right to make.

            Stay at home Mothers have every right to the OAS and any other Monies available to them for Nurturing, Loving and Caring for their Children instead of having them raised by Strangers.

            What is wrong with you?

          • Ted Boomsma

            Mike Smith, I am so disappointed in your views of stay at home Mom’s. You feel like everyone would stay at home if they could get a government pension, but that is a very very uneducated response. I am the father of a household where we have decided that my wife will stay at home and raise our children. We have been doing so for almost 10 years now and I can assure you it’s not an easy lifestyle. The sacrifice needed to raise a family of 5 on one income is difficult at the best of times. I do not have a job that has a pension so appreciate that the government recognizes that sacrifice. I’m glad not everyone shares such a narrow minded view of the life of a stay at home mom.

  10. Allan

    I am 59 and retiring next July; My private pension will be approximately 6000/mnth; My wife quite work when we had our kids however she will be collecting $200 per month Canada Pension; I am figuring maximum Canada pension of “800 something”
    1. If I continue to work a part-time job (not related to my principal occupation) that pays approximately 1200 a month will it have an effect on my ability to collect/ amount of Canada Pension?

    2. What is the present maximum amount of Canada pension to collect at 60 years old?

    • Doug

      1. Effective 2012, working a part-time (or even fulltime) job has no impact on your ability to collect your CPP retirement benefit at age 60, and it affects the amount of your benefit only if it increases or decreases your “average lifetime earnings” prior to age 60.
      2. For 2012, the maximum age-65 retirement benefit is $986.67. If you start your CPP retirement benefit prior to age 65, for 2012 that amount is reduced by 0.52% for every month that you’re under age 65. Therefore the max age-60 CPP retirement benefit for 2012 is $678.83 ($986.67 – 60 X 0.52%).

    • Tim Darron

      Your CPP payout is not dependent on your income after CPP retirement. it is in your best interest to delay CCP until 65 yrs old or more. Your “private” retirement income of 6000$ at 60 yrs old is high enough that it is far better to continue contributing to CPP until 65 yrs or more since you state that you will be working up to that time.
      1.) If you take early CPP at 60 yrs old and subsequently live past 80 yrs old you will then be losing money on your lower CPP payment after 80 yrs old than if you receive full or close to full payout at 65 yrs old. DO the math yourself at zero interest rate.
      2.) Never forget to consider your tax deduction benefits after 65 yrs old which total about 19K in deductions plus the ability to income split with your spouse. You do not have these deductions at 60 yrs old except for personal basic exemption.
      3.) Once again be very careful. YOU CANNOT reverse your RIF , LIF and CPP decisions after you commit.

  11. Elroy Tanner

    I was told by a gov. agent that if we make 21.700.oo we were not able to collect any gis monies from the gov.If that is true you would be better off knowing about the system when you call or read the system you get different answers. Sad system people moving in to Canada knows more about the details the we being bon here BIG ?

  12. Allan

    I’m 57. I would like to start collecting my pension at 60. I was told that my pension would be $350. Will I get some GIS if I have some bank interest? And what about RRSP if I don’t want to withdraw it for some time? Thanks

    • Doug

      GIS is part of the Old Age Security program, so you can’t receive GIS until age 65 at the earliest. At that time, the amount of GIS would depend on your marital status, your income (joint if married or common-law) and how many years of residence you have in Canada.
      For example, if you are receiving the full OAS (40 yrs residence in Canada after age 18) and if you are single, the maximum GIS is $732.36/mth and it’s basically reduced by half for any income that you have (excluding the OAS itself). The current annual income cutoff for a single pensioner is $16,368, above which you wouldn’t receive any GIS.
      I hope this helps?

  13. Elroy Tanner

    How in hell can any two, retire on an income making a couple of dollars more than 21,648.oo be closed out from receiving the GIS. Not all people in their days of struggling to make a living by working dam hard coud save for a great sum of monies to lay back and live on in time of retirement.Yet there are ways for some people to get GOV. hand outs with out working ever in their lives. Good luck for those who can God Bless Those who cant

  14. Allan

    And if my wife and I start collecting pension at 60 and it will be $700 (combine), will we recieve any additional allowance? Thanks

    • Doug

      I’m not really sure what you’re asking? When you say that you will both start collecting pension at age 60, I assume you’re talking about the Canada Pension Plan (CPP)?
      If so, there are no further government pensions until at least one of you reaches age 65, at which time you should qualify for Old Age Security (OAS), depending on how long you’ve lived in Canada since age 18, and possibly the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). If the other one of you is still under age 65 at that time, that person might then be eligible for the Spouse’s Allownace, depending on residence in Canada and income.

  15. Sandy

    what income can 2 people expect when we retire we are wife is 58 and i am 60 both of have always work and there are no company pensions just cpp and oas.

  16. Jess

    Doug, the replies you have provided to everyone have been so much more helpful than anything I can find on the GC.CA sites. They warn their tables for OAS/GIS calculations only apply if you have lived in Canada the full 40 years. When younger, we lived overseas for over 15 years so can never get to 40 years. With 27 years of Canada residency by 65, your 13.50 per month figure suggests an OAS of $364 per month at age 65. If CPP is also less than max at $650 per month, and younger partner age 60 opts to retire at same time taking early CPP of $400 month, and no other income/RRSPs, how can we estimate GIS and Allowance for the first 4 years until parter reaches 65 and also gets a reduced OAS? Many thanks.

    • Doug

      Before I reply to your question, there’s a bit more info that I need. What is each of your mth/yr of birth, and what years have you resided in Canada?
      The importance of these questions is that the 40-year rule is only one way of qualifying for full OAS. If you were a) age 25 by July 1, 1977 and b) had some residence in Canada over age 18 and prior to July 1, 1977; there are a couple of other ways that you might qualify for the full OAS and not the 27/40ths that you are counting on.

      • Jess

        Thanks again, my partner Len is born Jun/53 and departed in Apr/78 at age 24. I am born Apr/58 and departed Oct/79 at age 21. We both returned to Canada in 1997. So neither of us was age 25 in 1977. It’s a good thing we have experience living frugal artist lifestyles!

  17. Doug

    Thanks for the additional details. After doing a little further checking to refresh my memory (I “retired” from the gov’t almost 10 years ago), it appears that at your income levels, there is little or no difference to the net amount that you will be eligible for, combining the OAS, GIS and Allowance amounts, regardless whether your husband qualifies for full OAS (which he won’t) or partial OAS (which he will).
    That is because the gov’t “tops up” partial OAS recipients who are eligible for GIS, by adding more GIS benefits to replace the missing OAS benefits. In some ways you’ll actually be better off, as the OAS benefits are taxable and the GIS?Allowance benefits are not taxable.
    So, by my calculations and using the current April/12 benefit amounts, your husband would be eligible for about $915/mth (comprised of 27/40ths of the full OAS of $540.12 = $364.50 plus a topped-up GIS of approx $550.50) and you would be eligible for an Allowance of approx $376/mth. How’s that sound?

    • Jess

      Doug, I can’t thank you enough for doing the calculations. I was rather hoping it would be around that much. We have always managed to “live happy” over the last 30+ years, balancing a modest lifestyle with our artistic leanings. And we think we could definitely “retire happy” on approx $28K per annum of CPP/OAS/GIS (with some TFSA savings for emergencies and incidentals). We already had our extensive travel years in our youth, so we’re looking forward to quiet times in our small paid-off home and studio 7 or 8 years from now. Thanks again!

  18. Doug

    You’re more than welcome! It sounds like you’ve got your priorities right, so congrats and good luck in your future. 🙂

  19. Louise

    I came back to Canada 9/5/2004 from the States! I had no idea that I would need proof of my entry back into Canada. I went back to the border to see if they would stamp my Canadian passport, and they refused. How am I going to prove I have been here for 10 years without that? Someone told me I needed proof! I have worked the last eight years, and will retire at 65 in two years. I have my taxes for all years, and worked at the same job for seven years. Not sure what to do when my time comes..I can’t collect from the other side as I didn’t work while I lived in the States except for a few years, and don’t qualify there either. Any information would be appreciated! Louise

  20. Doug

    I wouldn’t worry too much about what to use as proof. The government is pretty reasonable about what they might accept, and the main thing might be that nothing contradicts your dates. Things that they might consider are lease or purchase agreements for your housing, a letter from your employer(s), utility records, tax returns etc.

  21. Sam


    I have worked every summer in Canada since I was about 12 years old through high school and every summer I was at university contributing to CPP etc…Then after I graduated from university in 1989 I worked full time till 2000 when I left Canada to work abroad. If I return to Canada in 2015 at the age of 55 with my wife 43 who is not a Canadian citizen and who has never lived in Canada what sort of benefits will I be eligible for in Canada assuming both I and my wife work till the age of 65 once back in Canada?

  22. Doug


    Sorry that it’s taken me a few days to reply. Let’s look at your CPP entitlement first. As you’ve perhaps read elsewhere in this Blog, CPP at age 65 can be estimated at about $25/mth for every year (up to your best 39 years) that you’ve made max earnings and contributions (Year’s Maximum Pensionable Earmings, or YMPE).
    For yourself that means that if your 11 years of contributions from 1989 to 2000 and your 10 years from 2015 to 2025 were all at the YMPE, those years alone would be worth about $525/mth at age 65. You wouldn’t have contributed for any of your work prior to age 18, so if your part-time work for the 11 years from 1978 to 1988 was at approx 1/4 of the YMPE, those years would equal 2 3/4 years of YMPE and would net you an additional $68.75/mth of CPP at age 65 .
    For your wife, if she contributes for 22 years from age 43 to age 65, she would qualify for a CPP retirement benefit of approx $550/mth if all of those years are at YMPE, and proportionately less if under YMPE.
    For the Old Age Security (OAS), it’s earned at 1/40th of the maximum (approx $540/mth) for every year of residence in Canada after age 18. Your total of 32 years would therefore give you about $432/mth and your wife’s 22 years would give her about $297/mth.
    Hope this helps?

  23. Ivan

    Is the amount of GIS one can get according to number of years in Canada? I sponsored my parents here, and they will be here 10 years next year. Assuming their income is nil, what amount will they get in OAS and in GIS, and will this increase as they live longer here, e.g. in year 11, in year 12, etc? They are both 80 years old.

  24. Andre

    I work in Canada on a contract basis but I am considered as a non resident tax payer. From what I can see is that as I am paying tax I should therefore be paying CPP contributions. My question is that I do not know if I will be working in Canada till retirement age, So if I for example only contributed for 5 years and then stopped working in Canada do lose the money I put into the CPP or is it kept till 70 years of age and then paid out?

  25. Doug

    I can’t answer your question as to whether you should be paying CPP contributions, as that is a Revenue Canada Taxation question. For the most part however, CPP contributions are not optionable. Either your earnings are considered contributable and you must make contributions, or they aren’t and you can’t make contributions.
    I can answer your questions on benefits however. If you make even one valid contribution to the CPP, you will be eligible for a retirement benefit. It is not paid to you automatically at any age though. You must apply for it and you can do so as early as age 60. A rough estimate for your benefit would be $25/mth at age 65, for every year of earnings & contributions at or above the yearly maximum (YMPE). If you apply before or after age 65, that amount is adjusted down or up by an actuarial adjustment factor.
    What you may not qualify for under the CPP is the disability and death/survivor benefits, as they both require contributions for more years (it’s slightly complicated). Depending what other countries you have lived and worked in though, you may even qualify for those CPP benefits if you have sufficient credits in those countries to meet the minimum requirements through what is called “totallizing” your contributions to both countries.
    I hope this answer helps a bit, but your first enquiry should be to RCT to find out if you must or may contribute to the CPP, based on your earnings and your status in Canada.

  26. Allan

    How is GIS calculated: does it depend on your savings or only on interest from them? Does it mean that one can have savings and other investments but doesn’t have any income from them, will a person receive GIS?
    Thanks, Allan

  27. Doug

    GIS is based on income only, and not on assets. So yes, as you suggest, if someone has investments but doesn’t have any income from them, they could receive max GIS. Unfair perhaps, but that’s the way it is.

    • Allan Heit

      You are right, Doug. This is unfair to GIS to people who never contributed in Canada. You work all your life and just get CPP (far from full amount) and OAS and you can end with $1000-1200. And people who never contributed make $1350. This system work perfect in Austarlia. Everybody gets $500 and then… if you paid contributions, you can get a lot, if not – just $500.

  28. Doug

    Not exactly why I considered the GIS to be unfair, and not exactly correct. GIS is only reduced by 50 cents on the dollar for any CPP benefits received (or any other income), so you would always be better off to have worked and contributed to the CPP than not.

  29. Rick

    I have an Ont. govt. pension of $3100/month and took my CPP at age 60. I am turning 65 next July and wonder what I can expect from the OAS. (if any) Thanks. Rick

    • Doug

      You left out the critical details of how long you have resided in Canada, but for purposes of responding I’ll assume that you have lived here for at least 40 years after age 18 (probabaly a safe assumption based on your Ont gov’t pension amount). If that is true, you will be eligible for the max OAS of approx $550/mth. The “clawback” doesn’t start until your income (excluding OAS) exceeds approx $70,000/yr, so you shouldn’t have to worry about that unless you have significant income that you haven’t mentioned.

  30. Don

    I am applying for CPP and OAS pension. I turned 65 just over a month ago. My CPP benefits are supposed to be around $690 per month and I am assuming that my OAS will be $544. My wife’s will be around the $200 mark for CPP. We are both working and will continue to do so. Will she also be eligible for OAS at the $544 level when she turns 65 next summer? I will continue working full time and she is working half time.

    • Jim Yih

      Hi Don,
      OAS is based on residency. If she was resident of Canada for 40 years between the age of 18 and 65, she is likely to get maximum OAS. You can call Service Canada to see how much OAS she qualifies for.

      • Don

        Thank you for your reply, Jim. Based on your reply she should qualify for the maximum as she has lived in Canada all her life.

  31. Allan

    My pension on retirement will be approximately 80,000 (72 private + 8 CPP); My wife just CPP will be 2700 ; As you would expect we are splitting income on our tax filing therefore we will both be claiming approximately 41350. The claw back on OAS begins at around 70,000; would I be effected? Is the clawback based on your income tax filing?

    • Jim Yih

      OAS clawback is based on individual income, not combined income. If you split your income properly and keep your income below the $70,000 threshold, you should not be affected.

  32. Alf

    I am 64 and my wife is 61. I looked at the tables and if I receive full OAS at 65 and qualify for GIS, my benefits will be $X. If my wife qualifies for the Allowance (she has not lived in Canada for 10 years and would have to use U.S. credits under the tax treaty), my GIS would be reduced, to make up for the amount she would receive. My question is: is she required to apply for the Allowance? The amount we as a couple would receive looks to be the same, whether it all comes in the form of OAS and GIS to me, or whether she gets part as an Allowance.

    • Doug

      The GIS/Allowance rate tables are complex when a partial benefit is involved, but if you are correct in thinking that the net benefit is the same either way, there is no requirement for youe wife to apply for the Allowance. I would however recommend that you confirm those calculations with SCC.

      • Alf

        Thanks. Now I’m completing the GIS application and a couple things are unclear: 1. for U.S. Social Security, do I put down the total I received, or only the 85% that is taxable in Canada (under the tax treaty)? 2. My spouse and I are pension splitting. Do I have to make note of that anywhere?

        • Doug

          I believe that GIS will be based on your total U.S. Social Security, but I would include a note about the lower taxable portion just in case. Because the income that you report will be compared to what you declare on your tax returns, I would clearly note who actually received the pension amounts, and that you are splitting it differently for income tax purposes.

    • Alf

      My wife applied for the Allowance 14 months ago. She has called Service Canada several times to check on the application, and was told that the delay was caused by needing U.S. credits to make up about 6 months of the 10 year residency requirement. When she called on Friday, she was told that the U.S. credit inquiry was just sent to Social Security two days before! She was also told that they asked for information from Citizenship & Immigration Canada at the same time. My wife sent a true copy of her landing document with the application and nothing else was requested. Can Service Canada request information from CIC without my wife’s permission? I thought they required a consent form for that. Any idea what information they need from CIC?

      • Doug


        I know that it takes a long time to process applications that require any of the international agreement, but 14 months to even request those records from the U.S. is ridiculous. My apologies for the bungling by Service Canada.

        I’m not sure what kind of information-sharing agreements there might be between Service Canada and C.I.C., and I can’t imagine what they would be wanting from them if you’ve already provided a copy of her landing document?

        • Alf

          Doug, my wife called Service Canada again and this time was told that the inquiry to CIC was to see whether she was sponsored. She was not; she immigrated to Canada in the Skilled Worker category.

  33. Allan

    I am retiring in July 31, 2013 (60 years old); I am presently employed where I pay the maximum CPP and Unemployment insurance by the month of June. Will I get a rebate for the five months (Aug 1 to Dec 31)?

    • Doug

      I have no knowledge of the EI, although I’d be surprised if you would get a refund of those premiums. As for CPP, prior to 2012, you would have been eligible for a refund if you applied for your CPP retirement at age 60, as that would have been the end of your contributory period. Your max contribution would have been 7/12ths of the YMPE, and you could have claimed a refund on your 2013 tax return.
      Since 2012 however, you are required to continue contributing on any employment earnings until age 65, regardless whether you apply for your CPP retirement pension early or not. If you do apply for a retirement benefit effective Aug 2013, 7/12ths of your 2013 earnings should be used to calculate your early retirement pension, and the other 5/12ths should be used to calculate a post-retirement benefit (PRB), which would be payable effective Jan, 2014.

  34. Frank

    I have read here a number of times that it is necessary to have 40 years in Canada to receive full OAS. But isn’t there another way of qualifying, which is to have been born before July 2, 1952, and lived in Canada for some time…even briefly…as an adult (over 18), and to have lived in Canada for the last 10 years? I think this means that someone who left Canada in his or her 20s, then returns to Canada to retire, can get full OAS after being here for 10 years. It’s important that they know not to seek OAS before they have those 10 years, or they’ll just get a partial pension. (But they can make up for missing years in the final 10, with years in Canada after age 18, at the rate of 3 old years = 1 new year.)

    • Doug

      You are basically right in what you say, and thanks for pointing this out. There should be no concern however, if someone who can qualify for the old or new rules (ie., someone who had attained the age of 25 by July 1/77 AND resided in Canada on that date or had prior residence in Canada after age 18 or possessed a valid Canadian immigration visa on that date) applies before they had the “magic 10 years”. Such a person would always be given a choice between taking an immediate partial pension under the new rules, or waiting until they qualified for a full pension under the old 10-year or 3-for-1 rules.

      • Frank

        I applied for OAS based on the above formula (born before 1952, lived in Canada before 1977, lived in Canada last 10 years). I’m one year short of 10 years back in Canada, and was hoping to use the 3-for-1 rule to make it up. I received a letter from Service Canada stating that my application can’t be processed until I prove my departure date from Canada back in the 70s. Since I’m a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, there was no immigration involvement on either side of the border. I’ve read of cases like this where immigrants (though I’m not an immigrant) are refused a pension, because they can’t show plane tickets from 40 or 50 years ago, and that was one of the options given to me. I don’t have plane tickets, because I simply drove across the border. All I could think of to send to prove that I arrived in the U.S. was acceptance at a U.S. university (but that occurred in the following year) and a U.S. Social Security statement showing that I started contributing in the year I left Canada. I also provided the name and address of a U.S. citizen who knows when I crossed the border. Any idea if that will be enough?

        • Doug

          All you can provide is what you’ve got, so I suspect that might be enough. If you’ve been in Canada for the last 9 years, all that you should have to establish is that you had at leats 3 years of prior residence in Canada. Is your actual departure date that critical in coming up with those 3 years, or do you clearly have much more than that?
          Good luck!

          • Frank

            Just a followup: I called Service Canada and was told that a full pension had been approved to start the month after my 65th birthday. (They didn’t event contact the person I gave as a witness.) So…everything turned out well. Thanks!

  35. Walter

    When receiving early CPP at age 60 can I count on some other government supplements?

  36. Barry

    Once you start receiving the GIS… what lines from your income tax return do they use to determine the amount of your GIS.

  37. Gabe Bijerta

    Thank you so much for very useful information here. I wonder if there are any conclusions regarding what is more beneficial for a couple not married, both in Canada all their lives, 4 years apart, with no income past 60 years of age, to apply as two singles or one common law? I assume this is legal to do, since we file taxes as singles. Many thanks, Gabe

  38. Doug

    You ask a very good, but difficult question.
    First, let’s look at a definition with the OAS act of a “common-law” relationship (CPP definition is similar):
    common-law partner”, in relation to an individual, means a person who is cohabiting with the individual in a conjugal relationship at the relevant time, having so cohabited with the individual for a continuous period of at least one year.
    So, you’ll have to decide whether that definition allows you to choose or not.
    As to your marital status and net CPP/OAS benefit, there is no difference to CPP, except that whoever lives longer might be eligible for a survivor’s benefit if you claim yourself as common-law. As for OAS/GIS, you would normally be better off claiming single once you’re both age 65, but you might be better off claiming common-law when the oldest reaches age 65, as the younger one could then be eligible for Spouse’s Allowance.
    So, the choice isn’t as simple as you might think!!!

    • Gabe Bijerta

      Thank you Doug, your kind input it reinforces my own calculations of reporting a common law spouse, since I turn 65 and she is 4 years behind.
      And, after a 35 year period of cohabitation, the choice becomes obvious…..

      Thank you for taking the time to help people!

      • Doug

        Gudonya Gabe! And you’re welcome!

  39. Elizabeth

    I am 65 and still working, having spent the previous 21 years as a Canadian resident. My husband has just become a Canadian resident and his only income is a small pension ($6000 / year)from his country of origin. As yet, I have not applied for either CPP or OAS and intend to keep on working for a year or two. Service Canada calculates my current CPP as $4200 / year and OAS as $3600 / year. Is it worth deferring application for CPP/OAS until I finish work? I calculate I will generate around $6000 / year from RRSP savings and also have some non-registered savings. Is GIS a possibility for us?

  40. Doug R

    You have a very interesting scenario! You haven’t said how much income you receive from working, but based on what you have indicated, I think your plan to defer both CPP and OAS is a good one, at least until you decide to retire.
    As for CPP, your current estimate of $4,200/year will be going up by 0.7% each month that you delay, based on your increasing age alone. Depending on your employment income, it could also increase by about $300/year for each subsequent year of contributions that you make.
    For OAS, if you currently have 21 years of Canadian residence, you are eligible for 21/40ths of a full OAS. For every full year that you wait before applying, you accumulate another 1/40th, or about 5% of your current OAS estimate. Starting July 2013, you will also benefit from a 0.6% increase in your OAS for every month that you continue to defer your application for OAS.
    As for GIS, it’s unlikely that you will be eligible, at least while you’re still working. Once you decide to quit however, that will be a better time to look at when you should apply for CPP and/or OAS, and whether you might be eligible for GIS based on your income at that time.
    I hope this information is sufficient for you to decide what to do for now, but if you want more detailed calculations on your CPP options, you would have to email me at [email protected] with your detailed CPP statement of contributions.

    • Elizabeth

      Thank you, Doug, your comments have been very helpful in outlining the various options.

  41. sewa ac

    in my country. I pay to the government. not government pay me

  42. travel agent jakarta

    very interesting, it looks like I will try to join ppc too. because my salary is very less so

  43. Tom

    Just a quick question guys. My dad turns 65 in 3 years. He is currently getting CPP since he was 60, but at a very low rate. We are selling our current house and he is thinking of purchasing a condo. Would the government factor in that you own a property and reduce your OAS + CPP + GIS since you are paying less a month (maintenance fee + hydro = $500) as oppose to renting a place at like $1300. He would have little income, since if he does not buy the condo, he would assist me with the money for my place. Thanks!

    • Doug

      Whether your dad owns or rents will not affect the amount of his CPP, OAS or GIS entitlement. The only possible impact if he sells his current home would be if he invested the proceeds and generated some income that might reduce his GIS entitlement. From what you say though, that’s not his plan.

      • Tom

        Thanks Doug for the clarification, really appreciate you taking the time to response to everyone’s questions in here.

  44. Jean Humphreys

    Hi Doug: Presently I’m retired– receiving a modest pension from my employer. My husband, a number of years older, has a good pension. I also work on-call, and contribute to the CPP still. I’m 64, and my question is: I feel so guilty applying for OAS or CPP because of the perceived monetary situation of the funds, plus shows like “Money Talks” which discuss our taking for granted what we get from gov’t and how the “free” ride can’t keep going. Should I apply to start these pensions at age 65? (I’m in very good health). Thanks.

  45. Doug

    I’m not sure whether you’re asking whether you should apply at age 65 versus waiting until a later time when your benefits will be more, or whether you shouldn’t apply at all?

    If your question is the latter, I’m not one of those who feels that there’s any guilt in applying for either CPP or OAS. CPP benefits are financed directly through your contributions, and OAS is financed through federal taxes which you’ve probably paid your fair share?

    If your question is the former, you should check out these two articles:

    If you want accurate calculations of your CPP at various ages to help you decide when to start receiving it, email me at [email protected], and I can help you (for a fee).

  46. Doug


    I thought that I replied a couple of days ago, so my apology for the delay in this response, and my further apology if a 2nd similar reply eventually shows up!

    It depends on whether you’re question is whether you should apply for your OAS and CPP at age 65 versus waiting until later to receive higher benefits, or whether you shouldn’t apply at all because you don’t need or deserve the benefits?

    If the former, I would suggest that you read these two articles, and then get back to me if you still are uncertain:

    If the latter, I don’t believe that you should feel guilty about applying for either your CPP or OAS benefits. You paid for your CPP directly through your contributions and you paid for your OAS indirectly through your federal tax dollars. Both benefits are taxable, so you’ll be refunding more of that money back to the government if you’re in the higher tax brackets, and the OAS even has a specific surtax if you’re in that income range. So again, no guilt!

  47. Dave

    Hi Jean,

    Your say you’re receiving an employer based pension already and I assume you have no guilt about it. (Rightly so). The CPP is an employer based pension not a government pension. Whats the difference? I believe Michael Campbell is near 65 and I have no doubt he will collect any CPP…. and he should IMO.

    Dougs info is all correct except in my opinion regarding OAS when he says you PAID for it. There is no money set aside to pay for OAS so we’re all PAYING for it. The problem Michael Campbell points out is this and the explosion of those reaching 65 with life expectancy so much longer now. Currently 2 age 65 people start collecting OAS for every 1 over 65 who dies.

    I think more correctly, you paid for other seniors during your working years to have OAS and now its your turn to collect. Notionally though, we are still paying for long dead seniors OAS pensions, as some portion of the national debt must have been previous OAS payments.

    Its just like health care, we paid for others and now as we grow older we need/expect more health care. But because of large ever increasing seniors population the numbers won’t work. You won’t have to feel guilty about not using health care we’re all going to get a whole lot less of it. So if you don’t want the OAS, save it to pay your health care later.


    • Doug


      Good to see you back here again! You seemed to have disappeared for a while?

      I’m OK with your interpretation of the OAS financing, but I’m also OK with believing that just because the government used my tax dollars for other purposes when I gave it to them (rather than holding it in a separate account for me) doesn’t mean that I didn’t pay for my own OAS.

      The main point that I think we agree on though, is that Jean shouldn’t feel any guilt in applying for her OAS at age 65, or waiting past age 65 to receive even more at a later age.

  48. Mabel

    Hi Doug,my dad has been approved the OAS, and he also waiting for GIS approve, my question is his EI benefit just approve at july, (he apply at march) however, if he received EI now is affect the GIS qualify?
    So should he stop to receive EI,? So headache at this point.. Thank you.

    • Doug


      If your dad has been approved for EI, it might reduce his GIS but only by about $0.50 for every $1.00. So, he’s still better off receiving any other money that he’s eligible for.

      Also, GIS is normally paid for one fiscal year (July thru June) based on the previous calendar’s income, so any EI that he receives now wouldn’t normally affect him immediately. Plus, when the EI stops, he can be paid on his estimated income after that time, so it might not even reduce his GIS at all.

  49. Andrea

    Would anyone be willing to talk to me about my alternatives one-on-one? I’m so confused and desperately need to put plans in place!

    • Doug

      I can definitely give you some one-on-one consulting, although I do chsrge a fee for that service, If you’re intersted, email me at [email protected].

  50. michele

    I took early cppp at 60 yrs old/ I now receive cpp apx 435 am nth and OAS apx 546 a month I am going to be laid off thisyr I am 66 and will be collecting EI for 36 weeks at apx 485 weekly I hav ealso withdrawn 6000. from my rrif this year Can I qualify for gis in 2014 If so would you know how much?

  51. Doug

    You haven’t indicated your marital status, but if you’re single you won’t be eligible for GIS until your EI payments stop. At that time, you will be eligible for GIS based on your estimated yearly income after that date. It’s a bit of a guesstimate, but I think your GIS might be as much as $470 monthly (in addition to your OAS), again assuming that you are single and have no income other than CPP in 2014 after your EI stops.
    If you have another RRIF withdrawal of $6,000 in 2014, that will reduce your GIS by about $250 per month.

  52. michele

    Thanks so much for the info. I call GIS today and I understand gis is deducted dollar for dollar of the amount of rrif withdrawls. Also they said it takes about 30 weeks to process a gis request. I was told by them today that I should fill out a 2014 estimated income in march 2014 and an estimated income for 2013 now. Its all very complicated. Can you clarify the procedure and wait time–30 weeks sounds like a very long time to wait for a decision in 2014, They also told me that I probably would not qualify for any money in 2013 because of the 6k rrif I withdrew in 2013 Even though they deduct salary and ei in their calculations, my income would still be apx 16k for 2013 disqualifying me for the gis.. Should I withdraw more now and save it for the 30 week waitng time in 2014, as I will only have about 1000 a month to live on after the EI runs out? I don’t want to withdraw in 2014 as that will affect the gis payment again By the way I am single.

    Thanks Again for all of your help

    • Doug

      GIS is NOT deducted dollar for dollar for RRIF withdrawals. RRIF income is treated the same as any other income and is deducted for the most part by 50 cents on the dollar.
      I can’t comment on the processing time, other than to say that another client (in BC) was told 20 weeks and it actually took about 10 weeks. I’m sure that it can vary by province, but it is what it is.
      I wouldn’t bother completing the 2013 estimate form, as your EI will be pro-rated and will make you ineligible (even without the RRIF). I would wait until your EI stops, and complete the estimate form then.
      Your plan to withdraw extra RRIF moneys in 2013 is probably a good one from a GIS perspective, but you’d also have to consider how that might affect your 2013 taxes versus 2014 taxes.

  53. Shaw A.


    Thanks for your very informative blog.

    I lived in Canada for almost 15 years, from Sep 71 to April 86, came as a student, became landed in 72, citizen in 75, worked starting 72,contributed to CPP, moved to US in 86, worked there and am living there till now. Just turned 65

    Want to know:

    1) how much CPP I may expect
    2) how much OAS I may expect
    3) how much GIS I may expect if my adjusted gross income (myself and my wife) is below US $20K all of whioh is from rentals and not employment
    4) whether I need to report to social security organization of respective country that I am receiving social security from the other
    5) and if so, how are social security payments (CPP/OAS/GIS Canada) SS (USA) affected by such disclosure, or it doesn’t matter as the amounts will show up in the tax return
    6) whether I need to file Canadian Tax Return for Canadian social security payents that I’ll be receivimg as I am now a permanent resident of the US
    7) will my combined 42 years (15 in Canada, 27 years in US) entitle me to full (42/40) OAS ( under Totalization Agreement)?
    8) would it be to my advantage to get the Canadian payments in US dollars direct deposited to a US bank, ignoring for now FX implications, or direct deposited to a Canadian bank taking into account tax witholding and other charges for non-resident Canadian
    9) would it be to my advantage to move back to Canada, get residency and get full benefits of a resident Canadian(not sure how they compare to a non-resident status)
    10) How does the Services Canada pro-active enrollment affect my initiative/requirement to apply on my own (online or otherwise)

    Looking forward to your reply. Many thanks in advance


  54. Doug

    Lots of questions, but I’ll do my best.
    1) If all of your 14 years of CPP contribution were at max, your CPP would be approx. 14/39.5 x $1,012/50 = $358.86.
    2) If you resided in Canada for “almost 15 years”, you will be eligible to 14/40 x $550 = $192.50 (see also #7).
    3) You can expect $0.00 GIS, as you aren’t residing in Canada.
    4) You don’t have to report your US SS to Canada. Can’t tell you the other side of it.
    5) CPP and OAS eligibility and entitlement aren’t affected by US SS eligibility.
    6) I don’t think so, but you’d have to check with Revenue Canada to be sure.
    7) No! Totalization can be used only to meet the minimum 20 year residency requirement or you wouldn’t be eligible for OAS at all. It doesn’t increase your 40ths.
    8) Couldn’t tell you.
    9) Too big a question.
    10) It won’t affect. You must apply if you want to receive either CPP or OAS.

  55. Shaw A.

    Thanks a bunch Doug!

  56. Rick

    Could you please tell whether or not the savings I have in the bank will affect how much I receive in my Old Age Pension or the supplement? Thank you.

    • Doug


      It is the interest paid on any bank savings that you have that will affect your OAS, but only if your net income is over the threshold for the “clawback” ($70,954 for 2013). The OAS clawback rate is 15% on income above that threshold amount. See Jim’s article on the OAS clawback for further details:

      If your income is low enough to qualify for GIS, most types of income (including bank interest) will reduce your GIS entitlement. For the most part, GIS is reduced by $0.50 for every $1.00 of such income that you receive.

  57. Krish

    On the application form for OAS/GIS, my income is negative and my wife has a positive due to split pension, her only income. We completed ISP 3025 , but they say since my income is set to zero, leaving my wife at positive, we are penalized. Why bother with ISP 3025 ?

  58. D.W.

    Hi … working or school all my life … full-time employment w/ max. CPP contrib. for only 271 months. All my life lived in Canada. I’m 58 and wife 50 (she has always been self-employed so no CPP contrib.) Her gross inc. ($35,000) and net inc. ($23,000). We have other inc. of $23,000/annum until 2030 (gov’t solar contract). Currently I’m employed and contrib. max. CPP contrib. If I want to retire at 60 (ie quit working) but collect CPP at 65 and my wife works until she is 55 but collects OAS/GIS at 65. Can you kind of guessimate what I would collect at 65 (7 yrs from now) from the gov’t in total and then what my wife would get when she reaches 65 (15 yrs from now)?

    If not then any suggestions how we can figure this out based on the current rules? Don’t want to go to financial planner b/c we think a lot of them have their own hidden agenda (promoting some financial vehicle).

    Thank you for considering the above. Sincerely, Daryl

  59. Allan

    Hello, Please tell me the following: what is the max amount of CPP, OAS and GIS combine a single person and a couple can get starting 65. CPP and OAS will be around $800 for husband and $800 for wife. I just want to know the difference between single person and married couple. Thanks a lot

  60. Doug

    I don’t understand your question. You ask what the maximum CPP, OAS and GIS would be, but you stipulate that CPP and OAS are $800 (far below the max).
    Is your question really how much GIS is payable to a couple with $1,600 OAS & CPP versus a single person with $800 OAS & CPP?
    If that is your question, I can only answer it if you tell me what portion of the $800/$1,600 is CPP and which portion is OAS (are they receiving full or partial OAS), as the CPP is counted as income for GIS purposes and the OAS isn’t.

    • Allan

      Doug, you are correct. here are the numbers.
      CPP – $400, OAS will be $450 – one person at65
      CPP – $450, OAS will be $450 – another person at 65

      How much GIS they will get as a couple and separately when without additional income?

      • Doug

        GIS for anyone receiving a partial OAS ($450 would be approx. 33/40ths of full basic OAS) are based on a complex set of rate tables that I don’t have access to, so the only answer I can give is based on full OAS. The actual amounts of GIS if they’re receiving partial OAS should be a little higher, but you’d have to call Service Canada if you want the precise amounts.
        Based on receiving full OAS:
        – a single pensioner receiving $400 CPP would be eligible for GIS of $496.19;
        – a single pensioner receiving $450 CPP would be eligible for GIS of $471.19;
        – a couple receiving $850 CPP would be eligible for GIS of $249.72 each, or $499.44 in total

  61. Allan

    Thank you Doug. I have a question for you. As far as I understand, CPP contributions don’t change your pension for better. An example: take two people living 40 years in Canada. One worked hard contributed all his life and by 65 his CPP is $800. The other one worked occasionally, had his business writing all expenses, many years didn’t work, worked under the table etc and his CPP at 65 is $100. At 65 both of them will get the same $1350 (approx.)pension. Am I correct?

    • Doug

      Not at all! GIS is only reduced by about 50 cents on the dollar, so using the examples that you’ve given, the hard-working person would receive about $1,650 ($800 CPP, $550 OAS and $300 GIS) versus about $1,350 for the other one ($100 CPP, $550 OAS and $700 GIS).

      • Bob

        This answered my question. Thanks

  62. Allan

    Hello Doug,
    This is off topic but this is insane. One person pays taxes, EI, CPP all his life and tried to save some RRSP. And at the end with some interest from his savings and RRSP he gets $1350 like other guy who pays almost nothing, gets $700GIS, have all his money due to different combinations.
    Everybody has basic in Australia – $500. and then depends how much you contributed in your life time. Didn’t contribute anything, so $500 is your max… It calls stimulus…

  63. Samantha

    Hi Doug,

    Is that true that $3500.00 (maximum) as extra income won’t effect my old age income and my CPP?
    Thank you for your help.


    • Doug


      $3,500 of extra income definitely won’t affect your CPP amount, and it will only affect your OAS if you’re near or over the threshold for “clawback”

      $3,500 of extra income will definitely affect your GIS amount though, if you’re eligible for that.

  64. Mabel

    Hello doug,
    My dad is receiving the GIS since last year at oct (he was 65 at july) ,so my apply allowance at last year oct last year, she is already 60 from feb 28, but now still not reponese , do you know how long she will have result normally ? Thank you!

  65. Mabel

    Hello doug,
    My father was receiving the GIS now, and also my mom apply the allowance at last year oct, she is 60 at feb 28 2014, so do you know when will she get a reponese and what is the maximun time waiting ?
    Thank you.

  66. Doug


    Her first Allowance cheque should be payable at the end of March (month following her 60th birthday), but she should likely have heard something by now.

    I would suggest phoning Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 to make sure that they have at least received her application and to see if they need further information or documentation.

    • mabel

      Hi Doug,
      My mom is still not get any letter,should she call them or wait til Apr 17,(because she apply in person at oct 17)?
      Thank you.

      • Doug


        I wouldn’t wait another day before calling!!

        She should have received her first payment already if she’s eligible, and she should have heard before now if she’s not eligible or if they’re waiting for further documentation.

  67. Dave Palmer

    I am a Canadian citizen, but have never lived in Canada or made any income in Canada. I do plan on retiring in Canada is there any benefits that I can receive? I currently live in the US.

    • Doug


      You will begin to qualify for the Old Age Security (OAS) once you start residing in Canada. Each year of residence in Canada is worth 1/40th of the full basic amount (currently about $550 monthly). You normally need at least 10 years of residence in Canada to qualify, but you may be able to qualify sooner under the Canada/USA social security agreement.

      As far as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you’re only eligible based on earnings in Canada where you’ve made CPP contribution. If you don’t make CPP contributions after you come to Canada, you won’t qualify for any CPP benefits.

  68. islam

    Hello ,

    Am islam born in quebecin 26/7/1987 am now 27 years, i leave in egypt. I didn,t recieve any monthly canadian benefiets before .
    I have some question:
    1. Do i have benifites for the previous 27 year?
    2. If i have how can i recieve them?

    Note:am now working from 2009 until now


    • Doug


      If you worked and contributed to CPP for any of those years, you will be eligible for a retirement pension when you turn age 65, or a reduced amount as early as age 60.

  69. Dee

    My husband and I both collect CPP – 700 and 675. My question is, my husband turns 65 in two years, and I will be 62. When my husband starts getting OAS then will I be eligible for anything until I reach 65?
    And when we are both 65 and have only this income and OAS, would we be eligible for GIS? Thanks so much. I did phone Service Canada but it is always hard to get info.

    • Doug


      Based on your current CPP amounts and the current OAS rate tables (and assuming that you both have at least 40 years of residence in Canada after age 18) here is what your entitlements would be.

      When your husband is age 65 and you are age 62:
      – he will have OAS of $551.54 and GIS of $300.72,
      – you will have an Allowance of $300.72

      When you are both age 65:
      – you will each receive OAS of $551.54 and GIS of $116.72

  70. Ivy


    My dad is currently collecting partial OAS. My mom is not a Canadian citizen and currently reside oversea. My parents are still legally married.
    As far as I understand, GIS is calculated based on the marital status.
    I am just wondering if my dad is considered as single or married in this case. Based on the fact that my mom is not a Canadian resident, how can I complete the GIS application form for my dad? Do I need to print my mom’s name, attach the marriage certificate and have her signed on the form? Or simply write non-resident under her name.
    I have talked to the staff at Service Canada office but they are not really helpful.


  71. Doug


    The answer to your question depends on the circumstances of your parents’ separation.

    If the separation is due to a marital breakdown, your father could be considered as single three months after the separation began (even if they’re not “legally separated”), and there’s no need for your mother to complete any form for his GIS purposes.

    If, on the other hand, the separation is temporary and is considered as “involuntary” (e.g., due to financial, health or other reasons), then your father should claim married status for GIS and your mother’s income should be reported.

    I hope this helps?

    • Ivy

      Doug, thank you for the clarification.
      My parents have been living apart for years due to financial reason(?). Back then, My mom was unwilling to give up her job back home. Even now she is retired, I don’t think she is planning to apply for Canadian citizenship again. I am not sure if this falls into the separated status category.
      Now my question is…. When my dad filed his tax for 2013, he stated he is married. Would there be a problem if he applies as single for GIS (which the marital status did not match the tax return for 2013)?
      Thanks again.


  72. Doug


    Only your parents can truly decide what their relationship is now.

    Some of the questions that might help define their status would be:
    – Do they ever hope to live together again?
    – Do they continue to share their finances etc, or do they maintain separate lives and they just haven’t taken any legal steps to end the marriage?
    – Have either of them had a common-law relationship since the started living separately?

    Once he decides what his marital status is, your father should certainly be consistent in how he claims his marital status, especially to various government departments. He can’t simply claim to be married when that is better for him, but separated when that is better.

    For instance, what will happen when one of them dies? Is there an expectation that the other will be eligible for survivor’s benefits?

  73. Judith

    My CPP is $350.00 a month, and I’ll receive full OAS. I have a Lif and I receive about $3600 a year. I average about $600 a month (part-time job). My income for last year was around $13, 500. Never been married or partnered. Will I receive GIS. If so, about how much? Thank you.

  74. sonnycat

    I have been told that someone who has never worked will end up with the same amount of income as someone who is getting cpp retirement old age and income supplement is this true. as of june 14 this is 1,261.00 per month.

  75. Doug


    You are quite misinformed. Firstly, as of July 2014 the basic OAS is $558.71 and the maximum GIS for a single person is $757.58, bringing the total for those two benefits to $1,316.29. That is the least that anyone who has lived in Canada for at least 40 years after reaching age 18 should receive at age 65.

    If they worked and contributed to CPP, they would receive more than that amount. While it’s true that someone receiving CPP wouldn’t receive the maximum GIS, they would still be ahead by approximately half of the amount of their CPP.

  76. Brian Smyth

    Doug – your knowledge is such an asset for many at such times as that approach to Retirement Life.
    With me – it has been several years of illness and depending on the support of a working spouse thankfully to get us through.
    I am weeks away from my 65th Birthday and am very vague about finances will be coming together for me. My wife and I had been initially back in Europe a lot caring for elderly family – I am a Canadian Citizen since 1978 and am presently only receiving $61 cpp monthly. I have only lived in Canada 15 to
    16years. There should also be some pension eligibility from time spent in the UK.
    My wife is a Permanent Resident and will hopefully be applying for Canadian Citizenship next year. I don’t know if it is possible but is there some way I could use the very few years she has of cpp contributions towards boosting my meagre monthly sum? She will be 60 in two weeks time and has only 4 years of contributions so I don’t see her ever getting a payment from.Thanks for any advice.

    • Doug


      No, there’s no way to transfer your wife’s CPP contributions to increase your pension. She could receive her own CPP at age 60 though, and they will have the same impact on her pension as they would on yours, except that she’ll have the age-reduction if she starts at age 60.
      You should be eligible for OAS now, if you’re presently residing in Canada. If so, you may also be eligible for GIS and your wife might also qualify for the Allowance.

      • Brian Smyth

        Doug – thanks for the response. I have been getting very little from CPP but considering that I had returned to UK to look after elderly family, and also that I developed major illness myself – I am no doubt getting what is due to me. However, I have recently applied for partial OAS and they have turned me down- I think they are questioning my residency years in Canada. I just wish that I had more evidence to show them but they are actually wrong – thinking me to be less than 10 years here when in fact I am close to 14 years. (I might have to turn to my local Federal M.P.)
        Thanks for your help. Brian

        • Doug


          Sorry to hear that you’re having problems with your OAS. Residence in Canada is sometimes a grey area, especially if you had frequent and/or lengthy absences and/or significant ties to another country.
          They should have advised you of your appeal rights though, so don’t hesitate to follow that route (in addition to contacting your MP) if you believe that you have at least 10 years of good residence in Canada.

  77. Anna

    Hi, I am helping my parents to fill out all the forms and apply for anything they are eligible for. It so confusing, and I need help. My father is going to be 65 in May 2015, he was full time employee so he made maximum CPP contributions. He also has pension plan from Manulife at his work place. My mother will be 65 in 2016, she is self-employed and as per advise of her accountant never made any CPP contributions. They want to start their retirement as soon as my father become 65.
    I am getting confused with retirement sharing between spouses. I need to know if they should apply for CPP, OAC, GIS and allowance together or separately and which exactly forms to fill out in order for them to receive everything they are eligible for and to maximize their benefits.
    Please help.

  78. Doug


    I think you should contact Service Canada for some assistance, but in a nutshell:
    – they have to apply for their CPP separately, but they can share their CPP through a joint Assignment, if that would be an advantage for tax purposes;
    – they have to apply separately for OAS (Old Age Security);
    – they have to file joint income statements for GIS and the Allowance, but the benefits are paid separately

  79. Andrea

    Hi all … fascinating reading.

    I would love some advise. I just turned 60 and I am considering going for the early CPP. My employment is a mixed bag of working, child rearing etc.

    At 22 I had my first child and stayed home with her for 1 2/ yrs and had three children 1989 through 1995. Then a divorce and raising 4 kids on my own … not working. I am the person that collected the Baby Bonus / Child Tax Credit and will definitely be filing the ‘Child Provision’ and need to know:

    1) If they only calculate from 0 – 7 even for single parents?
    2) If they have my tax information, and if I have been collecting the child tax credit payments, why do I need copies of original birth certificates?

    My lawyer dropped the ball and didn’t tell me about my right to apply for split pension, though I also know that it is not too late for that:

    1) Does this mean that the split is for the years married, or does it include child rearing years and lost income and contributions?

    Question regarding early CPP:

    1) If you elect to take CPP early, does that mean that it is reduced for the 60 months of early CPP?
    2) The rest of your life?
    3) Does it pop up to normal rates at 65?

    I rec’d child support but it was non-taxable based on agreement, which means no contributions for all the years I stayed home with the 4 kids.

    Honestly, with such complex formulas I have no idea what I might expect to get at 60 or even 65 if I decide to wait. Any idea there?

    Is there anything else that I might be able to look into to up the amount?

    Thank you in advance,

    • Doug


      Lots of good questions!

      To answer some of your basic questions:

      1) Yes, the child-rearing provision (CRP) just covers periods up until the child reached age 7, even for single parents.
      2) If you take your CPP early, it is paid at the reduced rate for life.

      If you have a recent copy of your CPP statement of contributions, I could do some calculations for you (for a fee) to help you figure out when to take your CPP. I can easily calculate how much the CRP will increase your CPP, and I can also calculate the impact of a credit split if you have a copy of your ex-husband’s CPP statement (or I can approximate it if you can estimate his earnings).

      If you’re interested in having me do any calculations for you, email me at [email protected].

      • Andrea

        Thanks Doug … I appreciate your response.

        I guess my first response is … what a rip-off that taking early CPP means a 32% loss for life. Also, that a woman who makes the decision to stay home and raise children is once again ripped off good and proper in this scenario. I guess my lawyer, whom I had to pay a fortune to was worse that I had already decided. This non-taxable child support situation worked great for my ex but has been a disaster for me in the long run based on what you have told me.

        Would you please let me know what the % per payment period, i.e.: weekly, bi-weekly or monthly they take for CPP?

        Even though I have worked in one capacity or another since I was 13, full time since 20 and until 36, because of such low wages in the early years and ‘old day’s my CPP is next to nothing.

        I really need to augment with the Split Pension and CRP!!


        • Doug


          I’m not exactly sure what your question means, but if you’re wondering how they calculate and pay your CPP, the amount is 25% of your “average monthly pensionable earnings”, and it is paid monthly.

          I should clarify a couple of other points also.

          The current reduction for taking CPP early is 0.56% per month, or 33.6% at age 60. The reduction factor is increasing yearly, and will be 0.58% for 2015 and 0.6% for 2016 and beyond.

          Also, whether your child support payments were taxable or non-taxable wouldn’t have affected your CPP, as you only make CPP contributions on earnings from salary or self-employment.

          • Andrea

            Thanks again!!

            Would you please define what ‘pensionable earnings mean’ please? I’m guessing that its pretty straightforward and means your earning for the month.

            I will email you but the reason I am considering losing big-time and taking early CPP is because my financial situation is not good.

  80. Doug


    Pensionable earnings means your earnings from salary or self-employment on which you pay CPP contributions. Average monthly pensionable earnings (AMPE) means your average lifetime pensionable earnings, after adjusting for inflation and after any applicable CPP dropouts.

    You can read more about the CPP calculation here:

  81. Andrea

    Quite by chance I remembered that I had gotten something from the government last year and dug it out. Here’s what it says (which is an incomplete picture) and makes no sense based in your page where you explain that they calculate for inflation etc.

    Its pretty pathetic:

    IF I was 65 I would be getting 392.80; 60 – 260.82 and 70 – 557.78.

    IF you take that number, add OAS, CRP and PS .. what might I expect as a guestimate? Child 1976 ending 1983; Child 1989; 1992 and 1995 – ending 2002.)


  82. Doug


    I’d need to know your year-by-year earnings to do an actual calculation, but since you can potentially drop out approximately 20 years under the CRP, your age-60 CPP could be as much as $500 (if you had zero earnings in all of those 20 CRP years).

    OAS is payable at age 65, and the full basic amount is $558.71 if you have 40 years of residence in Canada after age 18. You may also be eligible for GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement), but I’d need more info to tell you if/how much.

    If PS means pension split, I can’t even guesstimate without much more information.

  83. Andrea

    You have been very generous with your time and I appreciate it.

    Over the two years there were two income reports totaling $54K.

    I am sure that I would quality for GIS when the time comes and I can see why it would be impossible to determine the PS and that’s something the government would have to do.

    Will you plz include your email in your reply as I’d like to know your fees for calculating the CRP and CPP.

    Thanks again,

  84. jo

    If my CPP is 450/mth and I receive full OAS (in 2015)I still can’t figure out if taxes will be owed.
    If I stay in the country I will also get GIS.

    If I head south (without GIS) will tax still be withheld if the CPP and OAS are my only income? non tax treaty country.


  85. michele

    Hi Doug
    I have recently applied for gis on an estimated income for for 2014 I was advised by them to empty my riff which was about 5000, so I did. They explained that the riff withdrawal would be forgiven as it is now at a 0 balance I enclosed the documentation to prove the 0 balance I hope they directed me correctly Do you have any idea? I currently receive 461 monthy cpp and max oas total monthly income apx 1000. How much gis do you think I may receive? The govt told me about 472 a month, I have trouble believing anything as they seemed confused and every time I call I get a different answer Please Help. Thanks Doug

  86. Doug Runchey


    The answer to your question depends partly on why you were being paid GIS on an estimated income, and whether you were making regular withdrawals from your RRIF until it was finally depleted or whether you simply made that one lump sum withdrawal to deplete it.

    If you were making regular withdrawals and you ultimately depleted your RRIF, that in itself could trigger being paid GIS on estimated income. If however something else triggered the estimated income and you coincidentally just made this one-time withdrawal from your RRIF, it will likely be considered as income after your estimate and will reduce your GIS.

    If you now have just the CPP income of $461, the quote of $472 for GIS is about right. If you receive less than that, they may be reducing it for the RRIF withdrawal and you may have to make a claim of “erroneous advice” to see if you can get it increased. In that case, hopefully you have the name of the agent at Service Canada that told you to make the RRIF withdrawal, as well as the date/time of your call.

  87. michele

    Thanks for your reply Jim. No I did not get the name or date of the person. I withdrew in 3 payments in 2014
    July 3500
    August 2000
    Sept 975,
    All of these amounts are gross amounts

    This is not good news for me for sure do they deduct dollar for dollar Is there ever exceptions to this rule? Would it affect my gis for Jan 2015 or only 2014? Thanks for your help. This is all so complicated yuk

    • Doug


      Did you have any other income that had stopped or reduced, or was the RRIF withdrawal the reason or trigger for the estimate? Did you also make any RRIF withdrawals in 2013, or were these 3 withdrawals the total amount of your RRIF?

      Income in 2014 would normally affect GIS for the period of July 2015 to June 2016, and it would normally reduce GIS by approx. 50 cents on the dollar. Being paid on estimated income makes the effect immediate though.

      My suggestion is to wait and see how much your GIS is, and then to enquire why if it’s lower than the $472 amount that you were told it would be.

  88. jenny t

    I can have a choice of taking one payment instead of monthly pension from my firm that I worked for some number of years. I will pay a lump sum tax on the payment. How does this one payment converts to ‘monthly income’ in terms of calculation of OAS and GIS?

  89. jenny t

    Hi, Doug, I am on LTD from workplace. As required by the insurer, I must apply CPP Disability benefits. I am currently 59 and would like to go back to work, possibly in 1-2 years. I heard that the CPP Disability benefit will reduce my CPP retirement amount (then without CPP Disability benefit had been received) in the future.

    1) is the negative effect of collecting CPP Disability benefit on CPP retirement income true or false?
    2) When I am on LTD, I do not contribute to CPP; due to the lower amount of contribution my CPP Retirement benefit would be lower than if I had been healthy (and did not stop contribute to CPP). true or false?

    Please help – I have tried other places but have not got clear information.

    • Ralph

      Hi there,
      I am retiring at age 65 in 16 months. I took early CPP at 61 (I presently receive 746/mos) . I have no other pension as I have been self employed. I do have savings (RRSPs) worth 300k which at 4% would produce about 2800/mos for 10 years. The next ten years if I make it that far I would survive off the equity in my small condo. ( present value 225)
      What can I expect my CPP and OAS to be a,t 65. Approximately? I hear terms like claw backs etc and I wonder if I would be affected by them?

      • Doug


        Your CPP at age 65 will be slightly higher based on four years of cost-of-living increases, but let’s say it will still be $746.

        If you have resided in Canada for at least 40 years after age 18, you will receive the “full basic amount” which is currently $563.74/mos.

        You won’t be eligible for GIS and you won’t be subject to the “OAS clawback” if the only other income you have is your RRSP income of $2,800/mos.

    • Doug


      You have the situation completely reversed. If you are not contributing to CPP because you are disabled, these years of zero earnings will likely reduce your retirement pension if you don’t receive CPP disability, but it will be protected if you do receive CPP disability.

  90. dave

    hi great stuff here I love your advice,i was wondering, I am going to retire soon. I have a municipal pension plan,that I will get when I retire. I have a pension plan from my dear departed wife. I am collecting right now a combined survivor and my cpp pension.( I am 61). life is good. I was wondering when the time comes to collect OAP AT 65, I KNOW THE MPP BRIDGE WILL COLLAPSE ,BUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY SURVIVOURS PENSION?, WILL IT B REDUCED OR JUST FADE AWAY. YOURS TRULY DAVE

    • Doug


      It will likely be reduced, but the combined benefit formulas are quite complex.

      If you want me to do this calculation for you (for a fee), email me at [email protected]

  91. Alex

    I elected to take early CPP and am now collecting $240 per month. Can you please tell me how much GIS I will be eligible for when I am 65 and collecting OAS next year. I have no other pension income, RRSPs, etc. I have looked everywhere on the Revenue Canada site for the table to show how CPP is worked into the GIS formula. I understand being able to earn $3500 annual”employment income” and the GIS not being affected. Is CPP considered pension income and therefore GIS is reduced $0.50 per dollar or is CPP considered “Employment Income” and possible included in the $3500 allowance? Thanks.

    • Doug


      CPP is considered pension income and is not eligible to the $3,500 exemption for employment income.

      Assuming that you’re single, your combined OAS/GIS at age 65 should be about $1,190.14.

  92. DAVE

    Hi Doug

    Do you know the 2015 YMPE amount.

    I’ve been searching the internet but can’t find it. I thought it was announced at the beginning of Nov. ?


    • Doug


      It’s usually announced by CRA sometime in November, but I haven’t seen it yet either.

  93. Dave

    I now see has it showing as 53,600 for 2015.

  94. Doug


    And here’s a link to CRA’s official announcement of the 2015 YMPE:

    Let me be the first to announce the 2015 maximum CPP retirement pension of $1,065.00

  95. Alf

    My wife applied for the Allowance 14 months ago. She has called Service Canada several times to check on the application, and was told that the delay was caused by needing U.S. credits to make up about 6 months of the 10 year residency requirement. When she called on Friday, she was told that the U.S. credit inquiry was just sent to Social Security two days before! She was also told that they asked for information from Citizenship & Immigration Canada at the same time. My wife sent a true copy of her landing document with the application and nothing else was requested. Can Service Canada request information from CIC without my wife’s permission? I thought they required a consent form for that. Any idea what information they need from CIC?

  96. Walter

    My parents are turning 65 early 2015. We came to Canada as permanent residents in 1994, my father was the only one who actually worked and is has already submitted applications for CPP and Old age security etc. My siblings (28, 24) are now thinking about their future, my mother never worked a day in her life here in Canada, as she took care of us. Is she still entitled to some government help? What would both be getting monthly from government to survive?

    PS. My father contributed to CPP for 20 years.


    • Doug


      Your parents will both be eligible for OAS, as it is based on the number of years of residence in Canada, not on contributions. The full basic OAS is currently $563.74 monthly, and it is earned at the rate of 1/40th for each full year of residence in Canada, so your parents should each receive about half of that amount.

      A maximum CPP retirement pension of $1,065 monthly for 2015 requires 39 years of maximum earnings & contributions. If your father has 20 years of maximum earnings ($52,500 for 2014), his CPP would be approx. $546. If his earnings were less than maximum, his CPP would be proportionately less than $546.

      Depending on what other income sources they have, they may qualify for some GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement), which is part of the OAS program.

  97. Dave

    If your mother has 20 years in Canada she will be eligible for one half of the OAS – presently the max is $563, so she would get about $282 per month. Assuming your father has the same 20 years he would get the same amount… $282 per month.

    Your fathers CPP is based on his contributions, but he could not more than 20/39 at age 65 which would be $1065/39 * 20 years. (Again, it is based on his contributions, so if he contributed less than max each year he will get less.)

    Depending on their combined total income they may be eligible for some guaranteed income supplement but details of their total income would be needed to estimate this. (OAS is not included in the total income).

  98. mabel

    My parents is currently received GIS benefit, if they plan to sell the condo(they are living there),and wants to buy another one.My question is if the new property is same price or maybe a little bit cheaper than they live one,will government investigate if they have earning after selling the property? Is there any affect to their GIS benefit?
    Thank you

    • Doug


      GIS is affected only by taxable income, and the sale of their primary residence should not create any taxable income. If the new condo that they purchase is significantly cheaper and they invest the balance, that could create some taxable income which might reduce their GIS a little bit, but they would still be ahead by having this extra income.

      • mabel

        My parents is only own the property, for example, my currently condo sold the price $260000,(deduct all expenses from agent commission, etc.)we can have $250000. But we decide to buy a $230000 for a new home,so it seems we can cash out for $20000. (But we are still $130000 mortgage ).
        In that case,the government will investigate it and affect to GIS income.
        Thank you for the reply

        • Doug


          If this condo is your parents’ principle residence, selling it should not generate any taxable income and it should not affect their GIS.

  99. Dave

    If they have excess from the home sale and they don’t already have Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) they should open them. In this way they can legally shelter up to $36500 each (which is the total amount for 2015)and the income produced is not taxable.

    They should be sure to name each other as beneficiaries of the account when completing the account documentation.

  100. p.joseph

    Can anyone explain my position, I have been living in Canada since 2003 and became citizen in 2010. I have worked only briefly in Canada , possibly about 1 year due to my age factor and trying to start a business. I am going to be 62 yrs in Jan 2015 and would like to know what , if any pension and other benefits i can expect ? I am married and my spouse is currently working in a bank since 2004 and earns about $ 48000 / year

    • Doug

      When you turn age 65, you should become eligible for OAS. It is earned at the rate of 1/40th of the full basic amount (approx. $560/mth), so if you have 15 years of residence in Canada at age 65 you should receive approx. $211/mth. You may also be eligible for some GIS at the same time, but the amount will depend on the age of your spouse and your combined income at that time.

  101. Paul

    I was badly injured in a MVA,which happened in Canada, IN 1979. I was classed as disabled by the BC Government until 2005; since then I have ran a small produce sales business, so I have made 9 years($1000 per year average) worth of CPP contributions. I want to retire, 3 years from now, at age 60, and I have two questions: 1)How much am I eligible for?
    2)Will CPP take my the time that I was disabled in to favorable consideration?



    • Doug


      Based on 12 years of contributions at approx. half-max earnings, I would estimate your age-60 CPP retirement pension to be approx. $207 per month. You should request a copy of your CPP statement of contributions from Service Canada though, to see what their estimate is.

      Unfortunately, your 26 years of non-contributions does count against you, unless you were receiving a CPP disability pension during those years.

  102. paul

    Thanks four your assistance.

  103. Yuri

    Do you know who can help me with EI Benefit issue ?
    Thank you.

    • Doug


      I regret to advise you that I don’t know anyone who’s an expert on EI, so the best I can do is suggest that you check with Service Canada.

      • Yuri

        Thank you, Doug

  104. Alf

    As I mentioned before, my wife applied for the Allowance nearly two years ago. She was about 8 months short of 10 years in Canada, and U.S. credits had to be used. Finally, a couple days ago, she received a call from someone at the International Benefits office in New Brunswick, who said that my wife qualifies and can be sent a retroactive payment of $6,000, but that I will then have an overpayment of $10,000! My wife questioned how the overpayment could be more than the payment, and the woman said it just was. She suggested that it would we would be better off to just drop the application. My questions are: 1) does that sound right to you?, 2) is the amount my wife would receive determined by a person doing math with a pen & paper, or by a computer?, 3) how can we determine if my wife received correct information? Thanks!

    • Doug Runchey


      The GIS/Allowance calculations can sometimes get quite complex, especially where your wife had less than 10 years of residence in Canada. They would even be further complicated if you are receiving a partial OAS yourself (less than 40 years of residence in Canada after age 18).

      What I recommend is that you ask them to send you a letter explaining their calculations. I don’t know exactly how their computer system is programmed these days, but I suspect there’s a mixture of manual and computer calculations involved.

      Long and short of it is that if you’re receiving a partial OAS pension yourself, I won’t be surprised if the $6,000 and $10,000 calculations are accurate. If you’re receiving a full OAS however, that amount of difference seems high to me.

      If you want me to analyze your numbers further (for a fee), email me at [email protected]

  105. Jasmine

    I will be turning 60 in Oct. 2016. I have worked from 1975-2003 and have made total contributions of $15,320.98. (Max. contributions were made from 1999-2002). I am married and my husband will not be retiring for another 6-8 years. Will his income affect my CPP? Approx. how much can I expect from CPP when I turn 60? Thank you in advance.

    • Doug Runchey


      Rest assured that your husband’s earnings will not affect your CPP.

      It’s impossible to estimate the amount of your CPP based on your total contributions without knowing the amount of contributions year-by-year. For example, a maximum contribution of $79.20 in 1966 has the same value as a maximum contribution of $2,479.95 in 2015.

      Call Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 and they’ll be able to give you a fairly accurate estimate of your CPP at age 60.

  106. Tony

    Hi Doug,

    My wife is turning 65 in November 2015 and is currently receiving a reduced CPP while still working 3 days a week. She has a small RRSP ( $28000.00 ) and is planning to stop working before her 65th birthday. Should she transfer her RRSP to a TFSA. I realize that this will result in withholding taxes but the logic is to qualify for GIS payments. In my case, I am also receiving a reduced CPP and have no other income. I will be 65 next year March and I have applied for the Allowance. I have an RRSP for $6500 and a LIRA for $36000.00. I am also thinking of transfering the $6500 RRSP into a TFSA, to qualify for GIS. The LIRA for $36000.00, I guess I have no options but to let it go to a RIF. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time!

    • Doug Runchey


      Unfortunately, whatever you and your wife do with your RRSPs from this point forward, they will reduce or eliminate your GIS eligibility for at least one year. The best strategy from a GIS perspective might be for you both to keep your RRSPs intact until age 71 (unless you need the money sooner) and then to both withdraw all the money in the same year and accept that you will get little to no GIS in the following year.

      I wish that I had better news for you, but perhaps someone else will have a different suggestion?

  107. Jini

    Hi Doug,

    My question bottom line is, I’m receiving $104.09 for my first CPP payout per month. Is this correct?
    I am 60 years old this year and have been working on and off since 1989. I have a husband who is receiving rather less than me ($65) and he is currently 63. We were a landed immigrant in March 1987 and because Canadian citizen in 2003. I am very curious for my pay seems so small when my in-laws who have not even worked in Canada who has arrived into Canada with me at the same year receiving more than $1000 per month (cpp+oas).
    Will my husband and I be receiving more by the time we are 65?

  108. Doug


    Your CPP amount is 25% of your “average lifetime earnings”, reduced because you took it earlier than 65. The amount will vary by individual based on how much they have worked and contributed since age 18.

    When you reach age 65, you will become eligible for OAS and possibly GIS, so that you will probably receive something like your in-laws in total.

    • Jini

      Thank you so much, Doug! 🙂

  109. lydia bigelow

    i will be 65 in september 2015 i retired in 2012 and have lived on my profit sharing since then it was put into a rif acccount and i withdrew monthly along with early cpp i collect 1300 dollars a month 1000 from rif 300 from cpp my last rif payment is september of 2015 i will be broke will i get the gis as well as my oas

    • Doug Runchey


      Your GIS starting Sept 2015 would normally be based on your 2014 income, but if you have monthly rif payments that will be ending in Sept you should contact Service Canada to request that you be paid on your estimated 2015 income after the rif payments stop.

  110. pauline

    Hi I am turning 65 in dec.21st 2015. I receive early cop at 284.00 myth and an employment income of 570.00 mth. How much gis should I get when I turn 65 and how much gis would I get if I stop working

    • Doug Runchey


      If you’re single and have only those two sources of income, you would be eligible for a combined OAS/GIS of approx. $848 per mth effective January 2016. If you stopped working and had only your CPP, your combined OAS/GIS would increase to approx. $1,157 per mth.

  111. Yuri

    Hi Doug,
    I am 68. My contract stopped in end 2014. Now I receive unemployment
    benefits to October 2015. My wife get only a partial OAS-$265, I get
    CPP $434 and a partial OAS-$251. When do I have to apply for GIS and
    how much can I expect to receive?


  112. Doug Runchey


    You should apply for GIS immediately, and you may be eligible retroactive to the month following when your employment contract ended. I can’t tell you how much you might receive without knowing your EI amount, your CPP amount(s) and any other income sources that you might have.

    • Yuri

      Doug, I can not apply now. My EI amount is $514 weekly.
      So to end of September I am fine. I am interesting how much
      GIS I might receive when I stop to get EI (from October 2015).
      From this date my income will be: CPP $434; a partial OAS $251; my wife a partial OAS $265. I do not have any other income.


      • Doug Runchey


        Because you’re only receiving a partial OAS, you should be eligible for GIS of approx. $120 per month even while you’re receiving your EI. Your wife will receive a little less, because she has a little more OAS.

        When your EI stops, your GIS should increase to approx. $681 and your wife’s a little less again.

        • Yuri

          Thank you so much, Doug!

  113. Ray

    Hi Doug, great and informative site. I’m learning alot, thanks. I have a question. I recently sold my house in Canada (parents lived with me) and moved to the US. Because my parents are seniors (retired) they will not have medicare like they have in Canada so I purchased a condo for them in Canada with a small mortgage. In order for them to be able to get a small mortgage I had to be the guarantor and have my name on the deed. Would I be able to apply on their behalf for the $500 grant by filling the Application for the Ontario Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant? As I read from above posts that their OAS and GIS will not be affected (principal residence) and they make under $13K per year/ each ? Thanks

    • Doug Runchey


      I don’t know anything about the Ontario Property Tax Grant, but your parents will continue to be eligible for OAS/GIS if they haven’t moved with you and continue to be resident in Canada (ie., make their home here and be ordinarily present here).

  114. Martin

    Hi, I am turning 65 on coming December, my wife is 63 now and on ODSP, should we apply for OAS together or alone, I am thinking to apply now and she will apply later , what is more beneficial applying together or alone. Thanks

    • Doug Runchey


      There’s no particular advantage to you waiting for your wife to turn 65 in order to apply for OAS together. The only advantage to waiting is that your OAS will increase by 0.6% for every month that you delay in applying.

      The critical issue is probably whether your combined income is low enough to qualify for GIS (less than $41,000 not counting OAS), in which case you should definitely apply for your OAS right away. Your wife might even qualify then for an Allowance if your combined income is low enough (less than $31,600 not counting OAS).

  115. Debbie

    Could you explain how rifs work. I was told it was a good idea to transfer rrsp to rif at 61. Is this a good idea? Thank you!

  116. Diane

    IF you retire at 65 can you receive ui

  117. Janey

    Hi Doug,
    Thank you for such a great and informative site. I have some questions here. Do you know how they calculate “years of residence in Canada”?
    My understanding is if one stayed in Canada more than 183 days during that calendar year, then that year is counted toward his residency requirement. Is that correct?

    What if one leaves Canada for over 183 days, but it’s crossed over two calendar years. For example, my dad came back to Canada on Mar 26, 2013, left on Oct 2, 2013 (so he was in Canada for more than 183 days in 2013), but after that he came back on Apr 12, 2014, and left again on Oct 15, 2014. (so he was in Canada for more than 183 days in 2014 as well, but in between, he left for more than 6 months)

    In this case, is he considered residenting in Canada for 2013 and 2014??

    Thanks so much for your help.

    • Doug Runchey

      Janey – For OAS purposes, residence is not determined simply by spending 183 days (or any other number of days) in Canada. Residence is defined as “making your home in Canada and being ordinarily present in Canada”.

      When someone regularly spends times in two or more countries, the first part of that definition requires an analysis of which country is their true home and which country are they visiting.

      If Canada is your dad’s true home, he could have temporary absences longer than 183 days that wouldn’t necessarily interrupt his residence here. But if it’s determined that Canada isn’t his true home, presence here wouldn’t be considered as residence regardless how many days it was.

  118. Joan

    Hello, my father is planning to move back to his birth country after retiring as he’ll be getting less then $1000/month in CPP/OAS and he won’t be eligible for GIS for full year due to his income from previous year. Therefore, my question is, if he’ll be eligible to receive OAS after he leaves Canada. He lived in Canada for 28 years. Thank you!

    • Doug Runchey


      Yes, your father will continue to be eligible for OAS after he leaves Canada, as long as he has at least 20 years of residence in Canada after he reached age 18.

      • Doug Runchey


        As a follow-up to my previous reply, your father may be eligible for GIS starting the month after he retires, based on his estimated current income. This GIS eligibility will end however, six months after he leaves Canada.

        • Wadud Ali

          I lived and worked in Canada 1974-79, paid into CPP, moved to US and started living there since 1983. I paid into US Social Security while working in the US. Did not work outside of the US since moving to US.
          Now retired, getting CPP payment for my Canada days. Why would US SSA reduce SS payments because of CPP payment when my stay and contributions to each country are distinct and separate periods, no overlap, no cross-border employment.

          How does Totalization come into play under the circumstances.

          • Doug Runchey


            I’m not an expert on the US SSA, but I do know that they have a “Windfall Elimination Provision” that I suspect is the reason for your US reduction. Here’s a link with more details:

            The way that totalization might help you is that you may qualify for some OAS pension from Canada by combining your 5 years of residence in Canada with 15 years of US contributions in order to meet the minimum 20-year threshold to qualify for OAS from outside Canada. The amount of your OAS will however just be based on your 5 years of residence in Canada.

  119. Tim Darron

    Recommend that you correct this article or delete it.
    As you state yourself ” The rules for government benefits are not easy to understand. For more information, contact Service Canada.”
    The benefit that you specify namely $24,346.44 is completely erroneous.The GIS table counts CPP income NOT including OAS and the maximum payout is for a single and that number is $1,330.80 as of Sept 2015. This is a single person who receives ZERO CPP.

    • Doug Runchey


      The amount of $24,346.44 in the above article is entirely plausible.

      In your scenario, for someone who is single they could receive approx. $1,811 per month in CPP/OAS/GIS combined, or $21,732 per year (monthly $1,065 CPP, $565 OAS and $181 GIS).

      However if someone had a spouse that wasn’t receiving OAS, they could be eligible for approx. $2,219 per month (or $26,628 per year). This would be comprised of $1,065 CPP, $565 OAS and $589 GIS monthly.

      • Tim Darron

        Doug. A new thread should be created to discuss additional Provincial Benefits for pensioners 65+ yrs old. The payout can be $200+ per month. Also another thread should be started for the complicated subject of pensioner survival benefits

    • Tim Darron

      Doug. It is worth mentioning that the Ontario Trillium Benefits provide more funding to pensioners.( say up to 300$ per month for the sake of mentioning). Some of these benefits are universal and others are based on income. Perhaps a new thread can be started to explain Provincial Pensioner Benefits as well as the really complicated survival benefits for all pensioners.

      • Doug Runchey


        I’m not an expert on provincial benefits. so I’ll leave it to others to cover that subject. If you want to know more about CPP survivor’s benefits, you may want to read this article:

  120. Tim Darron

    I agree that your payout numbers are correct but only for married couples.

    The value $26,628 per year is correct provided that the spouse less than 60 yrs old is not receiving OAS and has ZERO income AND the ONLY income that the pensioner receives is maximum CPP+OAS+GIS. This averages out to 1109.50 per month for EACH spouse due ONLY to the pensioners proceeds as the other non pensioner spouse receives nothing.

    A spouse between the ages 60-65 yrs can receive Allowance (GIS) if the pensioner spouse receives OAS plus GIS. The “plus GIS” signals that the Allowance will apply to the other spouse 60-65 yrs old due to low family income. Here is the payout if the pensioner receives FULL CPP and has no other income ::

    Pensioner gets MONTHLY payout of 1066 CPP + 959 OAS-GIS or $2025 per month or $24300 per year
    Spouse between the ages 60-65 yrs receives a payout of $394 per month (GIS-Allowance).

    The payout is adjusted on your annual tax return where every last cent of income is exposed even 10$ annual interest income.

  121. Anna

    Hello, everybody. I have question for Doug.
    I live in Toronto (I mean Canada) only for 15+ years. I am now almost 62. I didn’t work all these years, so I accume that my CPP contribution not enough at all. I look forward to get Old Age Security pension (or whatever it calls). I try to find the fixed amount of monthly payment for people like me online, but can’t find. Now comes the question :))
    Do you know how much people get monthly if they live in Canada less than 20 years and don’t have enough CPP contribution?
    Thank you.

    • Doug Runchey


      OAS is earned at the rate of 1/40th of the full basic amount (currently $564.87 monthly) for every year of residence in Canada. If you will have 18 complete years of residence in Canada when you turn age 65, you will receive 18/40ths of $564.87 = $254.19 monthly.

      If you have limited other income, you may also be eligible for GIS. Read this article for further details:

      • Anna

        Thank you, Doug, I will have more question for you in the future 🙂

  122. Nelson

    I am an immigrant to Canada. By the time I reach age 65 I would have resided in Canada 39 years which means I would be eligible for 39/40 (97.5%) of OAS benefits. If I defer the benefit for 12 months, I would be eligible for an additional 7.2% of benefits. Would I also be eligible for the full (40/40) benefit of the OAS benefits? In other words, would my benefits be increased by 9.7% (7.2% + 2.5%)?

    • Doug Runchey


      No, you cannot “double dip” by having that year count as both additional residence and as voluntary deferral. It counts as one or the other, usually which ever way helps you the most.

      Read this article for more details:

  123. Arthur Gannis

    Will be turning 65 next year but have been caring for my old father for the last 15 years and living with him without any income, just the Quebec pension of $140 per month. I am single and have lived in Canada for over 40 years. Can I get GIS while living with him and if so how much approx. Thanks.

    • Doug Runchey


      If your only income now is QPP of $140 per month, you should get OAS of $564.87 and GIS of $695.93.

      • Arthur Gannis

        Thanks for the quick reply Doug. I always thought that the amount is lowered as I am living with him and have less expenses otherwise.

  124. Ben

    I am trying to figure out what my retirement in Canada would be at age 67. I a US citizen and will have $850 from Social Security at that time. I am not sure how to figure what my OAS and GIS with 10 years residence in Canada. Based on 10 years at today’s value the OAS would be $137 a month. For the all the information or chart refer to max OAS. I am not sure if the GIS prorated as well. Will I be able to draw these benefits residing outside of Canada?

    • Doug Runchey


      Based on 10 years of residence in Canada, your OAS would be approx. $142.49 (10/40ths of $569.95). Because you have fewer than 20 years of residence in Canada, OAS would normally not be payable if you were residing outside Canada, but under the Canada/USA agreement you could use 10 years of contributions to the USA in order to make your OAS payable outside Canada. Here’s a link to the agreement:

      The GIS is trickier. Read this article:

      If you’re single and if the $850 is a monthly amount in Canadian $, you would be eligible for GIS of approx. $721.89, but GIS is payable only if you are residing in Canada.

      • Susan

        Will the US social security agreement also cover the 10 year minimum for OAS if you apply outside of Canada, and this US time being considered was before you had legal status in Canada?

        • Doug Runchey


          If you apply for OAS from outside Canada, the minimum residence requirement is 20 years.

          But yes, you can use periods of contributions to the US to meet that 20-year requirement and yes that US time could be before and/or after you had legal status in Canada.

  125. Vanoku

    Hi! My question has to do with my parents. They will be turning 65 in 2 years and they have been in Canada since December 1994. Service Canada right now shows each one receiving approximately $300 in CPP when they retire in 2 years. My mom will also receive about $1200/month from work pension. Can you please tell me what they may get at 65?

    Thanks for all your help!

  126. Kamru

    Hi Doug,
    I am 47 and a person with disability (PWD). I am got 906 dollars each month. When will CPPD replace PWD and how much.Thnx

    • Doug Runchey


      As I told you previously in a different thread:

      Your provincial PWD benefits will never convert to a CPP disability pension, because they are totally separate programs run by two different levels of the government.

      If you have made enough contributions to CPP and if your disability meets the definition of “severe and prolonged”, you should likely apply for a CPP disability pension immediately, although your PWD benefits will likely be reduced by any amount that you receive from CPP.

      As also mentioned, your CPP retirement pension will be much more when you reach age 65 if you receive a CPP disability pension now, compared to if you simply don’t work and contribute to CPP for the next 18 years.

  127. Kamru

    Thanks Doug. Well, if I got after 65 say 1000$ and OAS appox. 284.97$ (20 Yrs in Canada), How much will I get GIS (monthly/yearly).

    • Doug Runchey


      Are you single or married/common-law? If married or common-law, what is your spouse’s age and what will be her income when you’re 65.

      • Kamru

        Hi Doug, I am single and no plan to get marry or common law.Thnx

        • Doug Runchey


          If you are single with CPP of $1,000 per month and receiving OAS of OAS of $284.97 per month (based on 20 years of residence in Canada), your GIS would be approx. $500 per month.

  128. Jasmine

    Hi. My husband will be turning 60 in April 2016, but will continue working at his f/t job until 65. If he collects CPP at 60 at the reduced rate, will it even be less because he will continue working? (He has been a college teacher for 28 years now) Thank you.

    • Doug Runchey


      No, your husband’s CPP won’t be any less because he’s still working. In fact, each additional year that he works will increase his CPP through what are called post-retirement benefits (PRBs).

      If you want me to do a detailed analysis of your husband’s choices (for a $75 fee), email me directly at [email protected]

  129. Nitzer

    I worked in Canada from 2009 through 2011 for a total of 3 years. I contributed the maximum allowable amount to the Canadian Social Security and Quebec pension plans. I am an American citizen and live in the US. Would I be eligible for any canadian benefits because of my contribution to the Canadian System. The US SS shows 0 contribution for those 3 years on my records. How do I go about claiming them

    • Doug Runchey


      Three years of maximum CPP contributions will get you a retirement pension of about $84 per month at age 65, 64% of that amount at age 60 or 142% of that amount at age 70.

      To apply:

  130. Nitzer

    Thank you Doug. Any comments on the contribution to Canadian Social Security.

    • Doug Runchey


      Sorry, I thought that was just a terminology issue, as there is no such thing as Canadian Social Security. The two contributory programs are the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and/or the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP). You would normally have contributed to only one of those two, depending on where you were living and/or working. Those contributions are what will buy you the retirement pension amounts that I mentioned.

      The other federal social security program in Canada is the Old Age Security (OAS). It is funded from general tax revenues, so you don’t contribute to it specifically. It is “earned” on the basis of residence in Canada and whether the time you spent in Canada counts as residence may depend on what your immigration status was during those 3 years. If they count as residence, you would possibly be eligible for 3/40ths of the full basic OAS or approx. $42.75 per month starting at age 65. You normally require a minimum of 10 years residence in order to qualify for OAS, but you could possibly qualify with only 3 years if you have at least 28 quarters (7 years) coverage to the US social security program under the Canada/USA agreement.

      Here’s a link for OAS:

  131. Jai

    Similarly to Ralph, I would like to know what I’m entitled to at 65. I will be 65 in August of this year (2016). I took early CPP at 60 and receive 445.76/month. I have approximately 260,000 in RRSP’s. I can draw 1,000/mo if I need it. I still work when I can but make less than 20,000/yr. The past 2 years about 16,000.
    I’m a single Canadian, have no work pension and have resided here for 40+ years. Could you please give me an idea of how much I will get in OAS, if I can get GIS and any other information that may help me.
    Thank you in advance.

    • Doug Runchey


      If you have 40+ years of residence in Canada after age 18, you will be eligible for the full basic OAS of $570.52.

      In order to receive any GIS, your income (excluding the OAS) normally can’t exceed $17,304 in the previous year. Read this article for more details:

      • Jai

        Thanks for your reply Doug. I think I would qualify for GIS…as my total income on my 2014 tax return was 16,147.54 (so below the 17,304 amt.)
        Am I correct? if so then would I end up with the full amount of 773.60? Also if I don’t touch my RRSP or only take out a couple of 100 dollars once and a while, how would this effect what I would get? I find this very confusing and stressful as employment isn’t very promising and I need to know what I can be sure of. I hope you can clarify what I will get and would appreciate any advice/recommendations you might have. Thanks

        • Doug Runchey


          If you have zero income (excluding OAS), you get the maximum GIS of $773.60.

          If you have any income, GIS is reduced by approx. 50 cents on the dollar until your income exceeds $17,304 at which point the GIS has been reduced to zero.

          Based on your income of $16,147, your GIS would be approx. $48.15

  132. Vlad


    Is this thread still active ? I cannot see the dates of the posts so I’m a little confused.

    Anyway, I have a question I think should be fairly simple for somebody knowledgeable. Please help me if you can.

    My parents have lived on and off in Canada for the past 15 years (helping raise the bright young canadian future in the process). Other than that, they haven’t worked or contributed to any pension plan. Now they’d like to know if they can collect OAS, and how much more they need to stay in Canada to be able to do that. We’re talking partial OAS, there’s no way they can qualify for total. They are over 65.
    The thing is, some of the years they’ve stayed there they haven’t been legal residents. They got their residence some 6 – 7 years later.
    So the question is, do the years they stayed there before being legal residents count for the 10 years needed for partial OAS ?

    Thanks for any useful information.

    • Doug Runchey


      For OAS purposes, residence is defined as “making your home in Canada and ordinarily living here”. There is a separate requirement that they are legal residents in Canada at the time that their OAS is approved, so it’s not necessary that all of their residence in Canada was legal.

      When you say that they lived here “on and off” however, that raises the question of where else they were residing during the “off periods” and whether that other place might have been their true home or whether they more ordinarily lived there.

      In the end, it’s a subjective definition and I’d need much more detail to even guess what decision Service Canada will make in your parents’ case.

      • Vlad

        Thanks for the quick answer. You’re doing an excellent job here. Better, I might say, than the documents they provide at the government site for these things, which let one scratching his head on a few points.
        That was my guess too, from what I read at the government site and in a few other places on the Net, that the non-legal period also counts. But I couldn’t find a conclusive answer anywhere.

        Before I get into other details, somebody please remove my last name from my previous post if possible. I didn’t think about it when I sent it but a little privacy cannot hurt.

        As for where they’ve lived in the off periods, you may have guessed it from said last name, it’s Romania. Does this matter ?

        I’m glad you ask me about how much they lived where they lived, because that was my next question. 🙂 The general pattern was, 5 months per year in Canada and 7 in Romania. Except for about 2 years when it was the other way around. So, your guess about how Service Canada will count these years would be highly appreciated. (Though I would hope that it’s actually not a subjective thing and somewhere in the background there’s a very precise and consistent definition about how these things should be counted. Even though we cannot see it publicly, which would be very helpful but maybe it’s a bit too complex for laymen to understand properly.)

        Thanks again, you’ve already helped me a lot.

        • Doug Runchey


          Although the OAS legislation is very subjective, there are certainly policy guidelines for the staff to follow. The type of factors in the policy guidelines include:
          – did they own a home in either/both countries;
          – what did they do with their home(s) when they weren’t in that country;
          – where did they file taxes, and as residents or otherwise;
          – what was their legal status in each country;
          – where were most of their possessions;
          – where did they do their banking;
          – where did they have their driver’s licenses;
          – etc, etc, etc

          The amount of time that they spent in Canada would only be one consideration, but generally speaking it would be hard (for me, at least) to consider anyone who spent more time outside Canada than inside Canada as “ordinarily living here”, especially when the other country where they’re spending their time is their birth country.

          I regret that I cannot give you a more definitive answer, but I hope that I’ve been of some assistance.

          • Vlad

            You’ve already been very helpful, as I said. thanks.

            Well, based on what you’re saying they probably have no chance. Practically every point you list is a minus. We’ll try anyway (they’ll call the Service when they arrive again in Canada soon). I hope you’re wrong here, for obvious reasons, but I won’t be surprised if it turns out as you say.

            Thanks again, best regards.

  133. Lucia

    HI, Doug.
    Tow month ago I submitted application form for GIS and a
    Service Canada office worry me I have to wait from 9 to 27 weeks. I have some TFSA. Can government tell me spend this money before I can receive GIS.

    Thank you, Lucia

    • Doug Runchey


      No, the government can’t tell you to spend your TFSA money before they’ll pay you GIS.

    • Tim Darron

      GIS is based on your income as reported on your madatory annual income tax return including foreign based income.At present proceeds from the sale of your primary residence and use of a TFSA are not reported as income but capital gain tax laws can be revised at any time of a governments choosing. GIS is generally a welfare payment to individuals over 65 yrs old who have income below 1200 – 1500 $ per month depending on marital status. You must be eligible for OAS to receive GIS and residency requirements are made at the governments lawful whim.

    • Tim Darron

      GIS is now automatically processed from your income tax return based on the previous years income reported after you are 65 yrs old. BEWARE! It is very common to obtain GIS or provincial GAIN overpayments only to pay a large CLAWBACK based on your subsequent tax return. DO NOT SPEND the payout if you are not entitled to it based on a higher income reported on your subsequent tax return. In other circumstances like the Old Age Allowance for a spouse who is 60-65 yrs old while the other spouse is receiving OAS it may be adviseable to apply for the GIS from on Form ISP3025E.

      • Doug Runchey


        You make some good points, but you’re mistaken on this one.

        If GIS entitlement was determined on the basis of income tax returns, it is NOT clawed-back if your income increases in any subsequent year.

        The only time that GIS might be overpaid and recovered would be if someone was being paid based on their estimated income for the current year and if they under-estimated that income.

        • Tim Darron

          The GIS payout table in any given year applies to annual income tax return for that year and will vary accordingly.

          • Doug Runchey


            You’re wrong! Annual income for 2014 determines GIS entitlement for the period of July 2015 through June 2016. If your 2015 income increased, that would reduce your GIS for the period of July 2016 through June 2017, but it wouldn’t create an overpayment and a recovery of GIS already paid.

          • Tim Darron

            You’re getting hotter …call the governor.

  134. Tey

    Hi Doug,
    I lived and worked in Canada for 20 years. Can you give me an estimate how much i will get CPP/ OAS / GIS at age 65? No RRSP.
    If i want to stop working early like early 60’s,can i file CPP/OAS/GIS when i reach 65 years old?
    Also if i retire in another country, will they send me the cheque where i retired?
    Thank you.

    • Doug Runchey


      If your 20 years of CPP contributions were all at the maximum level, your CPP retirement pension at age 65 would be approx. $550 per month.

      The full OAS of approx. $570 per month is payable only if you have 40 years of residence in Canada after age 18. If you have less than 40 years of residence in Canada, you will receive 1/40th of that amount for each full year of residence.

      I’d need to know your marital status and family income to give you any advice on GIS amounts.

      Your CPP and OAS will be payable wherever you live. GIS would be payable only if you reside in Canada.

    • Tim Darron

      Full OAS is based on 40 yrs residency in Canada ..calculation done at the age of 65 yrs old and not indexed higher after 65 yrs old based on extra residency. Thus OAS after 20 yrs residency in Canada if you are 65 yrs is 50% of the max.
      If my memory serves me correct you cannot get provincial medical coverage and OAS if you reside outside Canada for more than 6 months of the year ….i think that the goal posts are moving on this one with the resendency time required now increasing. CPP is portable to any location since it is based on a defined contribution pension….you can start early reduced CPP at 60 yrs old but this is not a good idea if you live to at least 80 yrs old. The early CPP payout is droppping from what i heaard lately. All RIF and LIF can start at 55 yrs old.
      LIF at 55 yrs old has a low max. percentage allowed somewhere around 4% max at 55 yrs old increasing each year.. Be very careful …YOU CANNOT REVERSE YOUR DECISIONS ON ANY OF THIS AFTER YOU ACT !

  135. Pete MacDonald

    I just turned 65 mar 11 2016…been getting cpp $775.per mo
    will be collecting about $400.per mo from a company pension,
    do I have to apply for old age pension…I think I remember getting a letter after applied for cpp, saying I didn’t have to apply for the old age…is this true
    I lived in Canada my whole life, I will get max old age….will I qualify for supplement money….if so how much and how do I apply, thank you.

    • Doug Runchey

      I suggest that you call Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 to ask whether you have been pre-approved for OAS or whether you have to apply for it. At the same time, you can ask them to send you a GIS application.

    • Tim Darron

      Forgot to mention, Apply for OAS 6 months in advance when you are 64 1/2 yrs old

    • Tim Darron

      I always advise my friends to not take early CP unless you expect to become deceased before 80 yrs old. Most people need the extra $350 per month CP after 65 yrs old by delaying this defined contribution payout until that time….it is almost one week pay each month for a minimum wage working assuming you can even find job.

  136. Tim Darron

    Question ## 1 : OAS Application procedure :
    I had to apply for OAS in 2014 this way : fill out an application which you can download or pickup at Canada Service Center in your area ; fill it out then mail it in or drop it off at a Canada Service Office to save on postage. At that time in 2014 they did not allow online applications and it not done automatically by your age.

    • Tim Darron

      QUESTION # 2 : GIS Entitlement

      Here is the sample calculation asssuming that you are single:

      1) Determine your income without including OAS ::
      775×12 (CPP) + 400×12 (Defined Benefit or Defined Contribution LIF or RIF) equals a total annual income of 14100 $
      2.) Go to web page to read your entitlement. It will be on table 1 for singles and is $133.15 per month in your case.

      NOTE :
      The GIS will be adjusted higher to include provincial entitlements.In Ontario it will include the Ontario Trillium Benefits namely energy credit , ont sale tax credit , rental or property tax credits which will make your total credits at least $200 per month more than GIS.
      The calculation for GIS and extra provincial entitlements are automatically calculated from your annual income tax returns after your 65 th birthday.
      You can specify one annual payment or monthly payments on your tax return.
      To my knowledge the HST credit is paid separately.
      Do not forget that after 65 yrs old that your first $19000 per yr which does include OAS is income tax free …assumimg that you have a RIF / LIF / DB deduction on Line 314 of your tax return which you do.

  137. Pete MacDonald

    thank you Tim….I found the letter that says, I don’t need to apply for OAS,they will use the information they have on my CPP, I guess I’ll contact service Canada for the GIS application…will this money be retroactive?
    thanks again, your help was great. Pete

    • Doug Runchey

      OAS and GIS will both be effective April 2016, the month following your 65th birthday.

  138. Tim Darron

    You misunderstand what is said.
    You must apply for OAS and you cannot do that online. GIS is done automtaically as it is combined with the OAS application ; GIS based on your annual taxable income from the previous year which is only an estimate of the current year in progress that the GIS applies to….adjustment will be made at the year end if necessary including clawback if you have variable income in any each year.
    They obviously deem it that this is the most practical way to conduct the GIS program.
    GIS application is needed for the Old Age Allowance ; this is GIS that includes a spouse between 60-65 yrs old has little or no income while the other spouse receives OAS. The Old Age Allowance application is a special form and you may need to pick it up a the Service Center at least during 2014 that was the procedure.

    • Doug Runchey

      You may not be aware, but some people are approved for OAS without having to apply for it. Currently this “presumptive OAS application” affects only a small portion of the population (people who have at least 40 years of CPP contributions and who are receiving CPP before age 65), but it appears from Pete’s letter that he is one of these people.

  139. Debbie

    You need to apply for the GIS in Canada.

    • Tim Darron

      In my case I was informed to submit my OAS application (not available online) when i was 64 1/2 yrs old and the GIS was done automatically after that. ….c2014
      Procedures can and do vary slightly with time and circumstance.

      • Tim Darron

        should rephrase this to : OAS cannot be submitted on line aka over the internet.

  140. Debbie

    A spouse between 60-65 does not receive GIS, they receive an Allowance is income is appropriate.

    • TIM Darron

      I contacted Service Canada recently on this because it can be confusing. GIS is never counted as income or taxable income under any circumstance. Again, go to and look at Table 4 to determine the amounts if this applies to you and your spouse.
      Here is the important thing about Table 4 :: EACH spouse receives the SAME GIS specified on table 4 but the spouse 65 yrs or older receives the OAS in addition. The GIS for the youger spouse is called Allowance. (GIS)

  141. Tim Darron

    Folks ….If you really what something a little more challenging then try to figure out survivor benefits

  142. deb

    Doug, the expert, please come back. I never believe just regular people on the internet. Just experienced please.

    • Doug Runchey


      I’m here. What’s your question?

  143. Mike

    I have not been able to find anyone who can explain how CPP effects GIS. Lets say my only income is 6000 per year in CPP payments , how does that effect GIS ?

    • Doug Runchey

      Mike It depends on a your marital status, but if you are single and have no other income you could receive the max GIS of $856.39 monthly. With taxable income of $6,000 from almost any source (excluding OAS itself), your GIS would be reduced by $333 monthly or $3,996 per year.

      • Mike

        Thank you for the quick response. You are doing a great service, Much appreciated. Still lost , however. Somewhere it says subtract $1 for every $2 earned.There is also a $3500 exemption , does that apply to all income including CPP or can it not be applied to CPP earnings ? Seems that my CPP gets reduced by $4000 rather than $3000 which is half. Am I making sense here ? Ha !

        • Doug Runchey

          Mike – You’re correct in suggesting that GIS is normally reduced by approx. $1 for very $2 of income, but that doesn’t apply exactly at all income levels. Unfortunately the $3,500 exemption applies only to salaried employment earnings, and not to CPP or other income.

    • Tim Darron

      CPP payment is a source of taxable income and income from all sources is tabulated to determine GIS.
      OAS is excluded in the income calculation for GIS determination.

    • Tim Darron

      The OAS + GIS tables are provided on the Government of Canada web site. There are several tables for various conditions such as marital status. The Allowance GIS for a spouse between 60 -65 yrs old is the only table that is easy to misinterpret.

  144. Sarah

    My common law spouse and I have filed joint returns for a least 15 years. He is still legally married but has not lived with his legal wife since 1999. We met 7 years later. He did file for a divorce in 2002 but she refused to sign the documents. I am not sure where we stand with pensions. He will have a very small work pension and very small CPP. he is 58. I am 60 and will have 900 per month of a work pension, close to full CPP. I am trying to decide how much longer I will work. He is presently on disability insurance after a stroke but may be able to go back…not sure yet. My question is how will his legal wife factor into this situation?

  145. Tim Darron

    Call the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings for Canada to check status. The Divorce Act is Federal Law and requires a Court Order on the division of debt and property at the time of divorce. This includes Pension funds such as RRSP even if not spousal and disability income. Application can be made for CPP “splitting” also but GIS makes this not likely. Looks like to me that both you and your partner will qualify for GIS supplement that will offset what looks like a small divorce property split if any. In any event your partner will probably qualify for legal aid and if necessary bankruptcy if the debt card applies. It will probably be in both yourself and your partner best interest to apply for GIS as single ; check the calculation both ways and do not forget to consider income splitting and survivor benefits.

  146. Deb

    Can you apply as single if you are married| for GIS, etc.

    • Doug Runchey

      Deb – You can apply as single if you’re married and separated, but you are considered as a couple if you’re married and living together.

  147. Tim Darron

    Common law status can be a little tricky.
    There are some advantages for married couples namely income splitting , survivor benefits , and the GIS Allowance for a spouse between the age of 60-65 when other spouse is receiving OAS. The GIS or Allowance applies to individuals whose income is less than 17400 per year or couples whose annual income is less than 32160 per year not counting OAS as income for this application.

  148. Cheryl Marie

    Hi Doug, What a helpful page. I am 60, a Canadian Citizen since 1985. I have worked since the age of 18 but not always in Canada. From age 18 – 22 I worked in South Africa, 22 – 25 in the UK. 25 – 40 in Canada, 40 – 58 back in South Africa and 58 to date back in Canada. What am I likely to receive if I apply for CPP now? I am still working. Many thanks, Cheryl

    • Doug Runchey

      Cheryl – It depends not only on how many years you worked in Canada, but also on what your earnings were in those years relative to the YMPE. My best advice for you is to call Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914.

  149. Tim Darron

    Open your internet Service Canada Account and it is a good idea to open your Revenue Canada Account while you are at it.

    Your CPP contributions and estimated payout will be listed on your Service Account. Your OAS-GIS is proportionally based on your years of residency in Canada with maximum benefits after 40 yrs. at the time you are 65 yrs old with no further adjustment after that.

    OAS for non residences may apply to you later on ::

    Also determine your pension entitlements if any from foreign governments.


    I am on ODSP and getting Disability what happens when I become 65 years of age.If ODSP stops giving benefits how will I survive? How my medical expenses will be covered? Ny wife and myself both are getting ODSP,My wife does not get Disability CPP as she has never worked in Canad, she worked for 6 months in 2002. We have landed here in May 2002 Please inform me in details how to get best benefits. My wife will be 61 years when I become 65 years. What benefits she can get from Government?

  151. Tim Darron

    Let’s be clear.
    The maximum entitlement that anyone can get from “public pension” is 1824 per month which is maximum CPP+OAS+GIS.
    The minimum is 1430 per month with no CPP and maximum OAS+GIS.
    You must be a resident of Canada for 40 yrs to get full OAS and you are entitled to only 50% of that if you lived here for 20 yrs.

    Go to and the instruction is to telephone them ::::”” If you are receiving a partial Old Age Security (OAS) pension, you should contact us for more information about your OAS pension, Guaranteed Income Supplement or Allowance payment amounts.””

    I checked the ODSP payout tables and it looks like to me that your entitlements will be about the same after 65 yrs old that they are at present.
    The ODSP will probably “clawback” or reduce your entitlement by any CPP or OAS you and your spouse are entitled to.

    The biggest problem to date for any low income pensioner today is the escalating cost of shelter compounding 5% or morer each year in spite of “rent controls”.
    A 5% increase in annual shelter costs represents a 5% annual reduction in income since CPP+OAS_GIS is almost the same cost as rent in a larger urban centers like the GTA.
    Global central bank policies are in the process of securitization and rapid escalation of the cost of shelter which jeopardizes all of society. Stay tuned for that outcome

  152. RAY IK

    Hi Doug,

    I just separate from my spouse as I am 68 years old and have my OAS/GIS Pension but my spouse turned 60 this month and apply for OAS. What will be my new OAS/GIS. Please advise.



    • Doug Runchey


      Your wife can’t qualify for OAS until she’s age 65, and she can’t qualify for the Allowance at age 60 because she is now separated from you.

      As to your OAS/GIS after your separation, I need to know:
      – how many years you have lived in Canada;
      – what is your current OAS/GIS amount;
      – what other income sources & amounts do you have;

    • Tim Darron

      This ought to be a new thread topic namely Pension Adjustments After Divorce or Separation.
      Divorce is Federal law and focused on asset splitting while the remaining family common law is Provincial jurisdiction.

      CPP is split based on credit accrued during the marriage like this ::
      You may be able to claim some CPP split from your spouse but calculate your reduced GIS due to a CPP income gain ….may not be in your best interest to do it.

      “There’s no way to get the government to divide OAS payments between separated spouses. But sometimes the amount of OAS each spouse receives is taken into account when figuring out how much one spouse should pay another in spousal or child support payments.”

      Generally, RRSP , RIF , LIF will be divided up like a family home which is 50/50 but consult a lawyer for common law advise on this.

      Your CPP is so low that a split of that with your spose is not practical. Furthermore , your are already at the “minimum entitlement” levels if you have no other incomes.

      • Doug Runchey

        Tim – I’d suggest that you shouldn’t be recommending anything about what action Ray should take regarding a CPP credit split, as you have no information regarding his wife’s CPP contributions and you don’t have enough information regarding his CPP contributions. You therefore can’t know whether a credit split would increase his CPP or decrease it.

        • Tim Darron

          True except that RAY I K says:my other income my CPP $86.47 (see below). He appears to be mostly OAS + GIS entitlements.

          • Doug Runchey

            Yes, but his wife could be a maximum CPP contributor.

  153. RAY I K

    Lived in Canada 19 years. My current OAS/GIS $1,429.76, my other income my CPP $86.47

    • Doug Runchey

      Ray – Your OAS/GIS will decrease to approx. $1,386.76 now that you are separated.

  154. Ganesh

    Hi: I am a new immigrant who came to Canada 10 years ago. I saw my statement of CPP contributions and it said if I were 65 today, I would get $525 a month. I was surprised given that I worked only 25% of max and am guaranteed 50% of the benefit. I can work another 10 years and plan to retire at 52 because the additional years are not as valuable as the initial ones. Is this correct?

    • Doug Runchey

      Ganesh – No, it is far from correct. Read this article:

    • Tim Darron

      My personal experience is that it is best to greatly increase your RRSP and defined benefit pension as much as possible after you are 55 yrs old while planning to retire at 65.
      The main issue for me over time is understated inflation stats and overstated estimated investment returns. Another big issue is that persons over 50 yrs old on average are systemically victims of ageism when it comes to employment in their usual trades. This usually causes heavy losses in their incomes and “private” pension funds before they are 65 yrs old.

  155. Glen Reid

    Hello Doug I started receiving my CPP at 61 years of age, and I am turning 65 in October of 2016. I am currently receiving $561.97 monthly from my CPP. Is there any way that I can find out what my OAS and hopefully GIS will be after I turn 65? I am not working and have no other income. I have tried several times to phone the Canada Services CPP/OAS help line and it is BUSY always. Thanks for your reply.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Glen – Assuming that you have lived in Canada for at least 40 years after age 18, your OAS will be $573.37 and assuming that you are single your GIS will be approx. $478.39. If either of those assumptions are wrong, the numbers will change.

  156. Glen Reid

    Hello again Doug

    I am Canadian born and lived here all my life. THANKS for your reply so quickly. I am quite looking forward to my NEXT Birthday Party! Thanks again! Glen

  157. Bradley Deans

    I turned 65 last Dec 2015 and started my CPP in Jan 2016 (receiving the maximum amount). However, I continued working until June 2016 and paid the full CP contribution for 2016. How much will the extra contribution add to the monthly benefit in 2017? Thanks.

  158. Lori Anne

    Hi Doug,

    I am Canadian, born in 1959.

    *I lived and worked in Canada until I was 27. I started working at age 11 ( summer jobs) and worked part time as a student and then full time after University in Canada.
    *Went abroad for 2 years.
    *Returned and worked in Canada for 6 years.
    *Went overseas again and have been ever since.
    As I am 57 now, I am thinking about retirement planning. Yikes! What can I expect from CPP OAP or GIS?

    Incidentally, I raised my 2 kids myself after divorce, they are adults now, aged 25, and 28. Ex didn’t pay child support mandated by Ontario government. He is Canadian and abroad too.

    I would really appreciate your advise, thank you in advance.


    • Doug Runchey

      Lori – It sounds like you might have about 15 years of CPP contributions (age 18 to 27 plus 6 later years), which could qualify you for a monthly CPP retirement pension of approx. $420 at age 65 (if your earnings were at max for all 15 years) or 36% less at age 60. Your OAS would be 15/40ths of the full basic of $578.53 monthly at age 65, but only if you return to Canada or have enough residence and/or contributions in another country to meet the minimum 20-year rule for OAS to be payable outside Canada. You will only be eligible for GIS if you return to reside in Canada.

  159. Lori Anne

    Thank you very much Doug.I really appreciate your input. So if I return for 5 years what kind of GIS might I expect to receive?

    Warm regards,

  160. Glen Reid

    Hello Doug

    I spoke with you some time ago about my impending 65th. birthday that has now passed on October 13, 2016! The cake was Delicious! I have been collecting my CPP since I turned 61 but I have been looking forward to my 65th. Birthday happily!

    On October 12, 2016 I stopped into the Service Canada office in the City and asked about my OAS application and was told that my OAS paperwork was in place already with them, and it would first pay to me on November 28, 2016. Good News!

    I also asked the lady about my GIS application and she showed me online that I can fill in the form on my computer at home with my personal Info and then print off a hard copy of the completed form. You just can’t SAVE a copy of it on your computer.

    I filled in the GIS form online, printed it off, and took it back to the Service Canada office to submit my GIS application. The lady mentioned that it takes about FOUR MONTHS to process my GIS application! WOW! FOUR MONTHS???

    Could I have applied for my GIS four months ago BEFORE I was 65?

    The lady did mention that my first cheque for my GIS will be retroactive to my 65th. Birthday!

    I am very curious as to have some clue about the approximate amount of my GIS when it is added to my Pension? I have lived and worked all of my life in Canada, I started working at age 16 in 1967. I am divorced, my children are all moved out. I have NO outside Income besides my Canada Pension.

    My CPP is $516.51
    My OAS is $578.53
    My GIS may be? $ ???

    Thank You Doug for your Most Awesome Financial Advice for us newbies that have NO Clue about this stuff! Cheers!
    Glen Reid

    • Doug Runchey

      Glen – Your GIS should be approx. $520 per month.

      • Glen Reid

        Thanks for your reply Doug!

        Could I have applied for my GIS four months ago BEFORE I was 65 and then NOT have to wait now?

        Thanks again.


  161. Allan

    Hello Doug and Happy New Year!

    Would you be so kind to give an amount of GIS my wife and I will receive. My wife’s pension will be $1200 ($750 CPP and $450 OAS).
    Mine – $1100 ($650 CPP and $450 OAS). No other income. Thanks

    • Doug Runchey

      Allan – with those amounts of monthly CPP/OAS payments, you should each receive approx. $260 GIS monthly.

  162. Raj

    Hello Doug,

    I came to Canada in April 1990 and have been living here since then. I turned 65 in October of 2016. How much OAS will I get.

    Thank you,


    • Doug Runchey

      Ray – Since you have 26 complete years of residence in Canada, you should receive 26/40ths of the full basic amount of $578.53 = $376.04 monthly.

  163. Raj

    Thank you, Doug!

  164. David

    Hi Doug
    If I may conflate a couple of the questions/answers above to get clarity about my situation…

    I immigrated to Canada in May 1979 at the age of 28. As I understand it, if I had opted to start receiving OAS on my 65th birthday last May, I would have received 37/40 x $570.52.

    Q1: Would that amount have increased each of the following 3 years (excluding CPI) – i.e. 38/40, 39/40 and finally 40/40?

    Q2: Service Canada told me that the 0.6% increment for every month delayed in starting to receive benefits only applies to those who qualify for the full (40/40) benefit. Do I understand correctly that, if I waited until (for instance) age 67 to start receiving benefits, none of that 0.6% monthly increment would apply; that the best I might expect would be the 38/40 and 39/40 increments (subject to Q1 above)?

    Q3: If I waited until age 70, what would the calculation (methodology) be? Would the two streams of increments (other than CPI) be separate and parallel, or inter-active? That is, would the 1/40th increment apply for three years followed by 2 years of 0.6% monthly increments? Or would one or the other or both of those sets of increments be forfeit? Or would the base increase until 40/40 and then have the 0.6% increments be applied retro-actively from age 65?

    Thanks so much for your help.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi David
      Q1 – Yes, OR you could claim the 0.6% per month for voluntary deferral.
      Q2 – Service Canada is wrong (see Q1 answer).
      Q3 – You could choose between 40/40th with 2 years of voluntary deferral at 0.6% per month OR 37/40ths with 5 years of voluntary deferral at 0.6% per month.

      Read this article for more details:

  165. Arthur Gannis

    Hi Doug, I am 66 and receiving OAS with GIS since last year. I just recently got married 3 weeks ago to a 55 yr lady from Greece. I went there to marry. She will most likely get her permanent residency status to live with me in Canada sometime next year. It takes that long. In the meantime she has to wait in her country. Do I tell Canada pension office that I am married now and explain that she has to wait there or do I wait till after she arrives here in Canada next year. Will that have any effect on my GIS+OAS payments I’m already getting? Once she gets here next year and she has no income or employment, will that affect my benefits ?

    • Doug Runchey

      Arthur – You should advise Service Canada immediately that you are now married. It won’t have any effect on your OAS, but if she has no income it might increase your GIS.

  166. Arthur Gannis

    Thanks Doug.

  167. faika

    Hello Doug,
    I am a 55yr old female. Born in Canada. Single mom of 3 kids for many years. Only started working full time when I was 35. Before that I lived off of government assistance. I have a live in boyfriend for the past 10 yrs. . We file our tax returns separately. We have no savings. What can we expect when we retire at age 65?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Faika – You should call Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 to get estimates for your CPP, OAS and GIS.

      • Faika

        Thank you Doug

  168. Dee

    Is that even legal? Living with someone and claiming single.

  169. sue klickermann

    Hi Doug,
    which way will increase my cpp the most.I am 69 and still working but not collecting cpp yet.Someone recently told me that I could still work,collect my cpp and pay into the prb.Would paying the prb increase my pension more than letting it grow by 0.7% per month.Iwould not receive the maximum if I retired today.thanks in advance for your reply Sue

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Sue – Waiting longer to get more of the 0.7% per month increase will increase you CPP more than the PRB will.

  170. Dave

    Is CPP a good or bad investment?

    ***Service Canada website reports that approx. 1/3 of seniors receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement.***

    So lets take the case of twin brothers John and Gerry born in 1952 turning 65 in 2017. Both lived their entire lives in Canada and are entitled to maximum OAS.

    John worked and contributed the maximum CPP contributions each year for 39 of the 47 years between age 18 and 65. He also paid income taxes, and EI premiums but never collected. Life events and the pay of his work while high enough to pay max CPP really wasn’t enough to set anything else aside to enhance his retirement income. When he reached 65 John though because he had worked, contributed and would receive the CPP monthly income of 1114.17 (2017) that he would be much better off than his brother Gerry, who capable as he was, spent his life avoiding work, never paying taxes, EI or contributing to CPP.

    However, John (the working brother) was astonished to learn that rather than having $1114.17 per month more than brother Gerry, he only gets $416.

    John’s yearly income – 23453.
    Gerry’s yearly income – 17461.

    Source: Service Canada OAS/GIS tables and income tax calculator using Province of BC.

    • Dave

      Correction Johns yearly income should read 22453

  171. Pat H

    Hi Doug. I am 2 years into my retirement now at 67, getting OAS and GIS as well as the Quebec ( small sum). I live with my father taking care of him (95 years). He is not in good health and will pass away in the near future. The house is fully paid and on his final testament he wishes that it be split between my brother and I. My brother who lives with his family in another area wants to either sell the house and take his share or I give him his share and keep staying in the house ( which I prefer to do). I will have to take a mortgage on the house and pay the bank monthly to cover the loan. I cannot afford to do that given my monthly income. Can I keep living in my house after paying him off and get a reverse mortgage on the remaining equity on the property ? thinking that I will not have to pay the monthly mortgage. Say the house is evaluated at 600K and my brother wants his 300K leaving me with a house of 300K to get a reverse mortgage on. Can the bank do that or can we sell the house and I take my 300K and buy another lower priced property WITHOUT losing my GIS ? Do I have to pay income tax once the house is sold on my 300K and before I buy another house with it ?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Pat – I can’t answer most of your questions, but I can assure you that none of the options that you asked about will affect your GIS at all.

  172. Dave

    Pat H.

    Reverse Mortgage – think credit card. You have a credit line of 10000 but already owe 5000 which is accruing interest and then you want to take cash advances from the remaining 5000 of credit to make the monthly payment. Do you think that would work? How long with interest accruing on both the reverse mortgage and the original mortgage to do you think it would be before you no longer owned the house, didn’t have 300k and no place to live.

    The only way to stay in the house is to rent out a portion of it after getting a mortgage of 300k to payout your brother if the rent would cover the mortgage. You could then live in another portion of the house. ( Obviously I don’t know if the house is suitable but from a financial perspective it might work). But in my opinion you should sell, get your 300k and buy something outright for yourself. Given your income, age etc I would think having a fully paid residence would give you peace of mind in retirement. Presently I expect your father is receiving some OAS GIS or other pensions/investments which is helping to pay the monthly housing expenses. Remember they stop when he dies so your own monthly costs are likely to rise.

    If the house is his principal residence, after his death no taxes are payable by him/his estate. But as of 2016 the sale/transfer must be reported on his final post death income taxes. Beneficiaries would receive the proceeds of it tax free.

    If you do sell dads house and get 300k, Buy rather than Rent something for yourself . Why, because assets are not included when calculating GIS but if you were to invest the 300k the investment income is taxable and would reduce your GIS entitlement.

  173. Yuri

    Hi Doug. Could you tell me, please, how much do I get GIS, if my family income for 2016 is:
    My CPP-2,870 My wife CPP-2,500
    OAS-3,095 OAS-3,267
    Bank Int.- 166 Bank Int.- 166

    Thank you.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Yuri – Based on those incomes, you should each receive a combined OAS/GIS of 930.59 monthly, effective July 2017.

  174. Loa

    Doug. What is the meaning of resident here in Canada for 40 years to have OAS and GIS?I came here as a visitor on December 16, 1978, and overstay until I landed in 1997 and have my Canadian citizenship just last year.My CPP is very low at $114 a month.I will be 65 on August 19 this year (next month 19 August 2017). My question is this. Will I entitle to OAS and GIS at the start of September? Right now I’m on ODSP. Given my status as overstaying through all those early years.I have not left Canada since I arrived here 39 years ago. I applied last September for OAS and GIS. I even called Service Canada last week and they told me that they are still working on it. So what is your opinion given what I have read in here for you are doing a great service for the common folks? Thank you sir Loa

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Loa – For OAS purposes, being resident in Canada means “making your home in Canada and ordinarily living in Canada”. Since you have lived in Canada continuously since Dec 16/78, you should be eligible for 38/40ths of the full basic OAS effective Sept 2017 and you should also be eligible for GIS if your income is below the threshold.

      • Maunaloa

        Thank you, Doug. You’re the best Cheers to you buddy

  175. David

    Hello Mr. Doug,

    I am living in Canada since 1990 and July 2020 I will be 65 years.
    Worked few years only on minimum payments. My wife is 3 years younger than me and works for more than 15 years here in Canada.
    Please tell me how much will be my pension amount at 65 including OAS+ CPP and GIS. Can we (me and my wife) getting the same amount each or only allowances my wife can get? What will be the basic guaranteed minimum amount to live on it in Canada

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi David – Your best source for this info for free is by calling Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914. Otherwise you can email me at [email protected] and I will help you for a consulting fee of $75 each.

  176. Md Shamim

    Is there any information that which country from get this opportunity

    • Doug Runchey

      This article refers to Canada.

  177. Chandra

    Hi Doug
    Are you still working with the OAS

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Chandra

      If you mean am I still working for the OAS department, the answer is “no”. If you mean do I still consult on OAS, the answer is “yes”.

  178. Adele

    Hi there, Firstly thank you Doug SO MUCH for the wealth of information provided here! I went through all the questions and answers last night, and learned quite a bit!!

    I greatly appreciate your time and don’t want you to waste it, so The following part are pertinent details, but further down I will list my questions so you can just skip straight to those, and if something is not clear you could refer to this info. Thank you.

    Now just wanted to run some things by you to check if my understanding is correct, in terms of what my dads OAS+GIS should be.

    Namely, My dad turned 65 in February 2017. He was planning to retire then, but in the summer of 2016 he was diagnosed with cancer and had to stop working to undergo chemo, surgery, recovery, and more chemo which lasted until January 2017.

    Since could not go back to work, he was on EI, and CPP disability. and retired in Feb 2017. As part of the application we had included all pertinent info. Including the fact he is married, and his wife, who is 64, and does not work.

    His first retirement payment came in end of March.
    He received: $480 for CPP, and $304 for OAS.

    This seemed very low so I went to visit a local Service Canada and they explained this is because A) they were basing these on 2016 income, and B) the OAS was lower since my dad was in Canada for 21 years. We were aware of the later i.e. that OAS is calculated as 21/40*OAS. But they advised he would soon receive GIS (which we through would make things easier).

    Needless to say they were relaying in their savings quite a bit. And I am helping them out quite a bit as well.

    After 4 months of receiving $480+304 per month as his/their only income, the amount was increased in July 2017 at which point he continued receiving the $480 CPP, and now GIS $633. i.e. Monthly total: $1,112

    However, my dad later learned from other fellow retirees that the amount he is receiving is still lower lower than they were getting (all rules etc being taken into account).
    So a week ago I visited Service Canada again to inquire. (Personally I was thinking that somehow when the GIS kicked in, the OAS portion was somehow missed, as there was no accompanying information showing break-down). I was advised that OAS amount is included in the GIS payment.

    The agent re-iterated that dad’s GIS is based on the income from 2016 and that he would receive an automatic increase after taxes are filed, as well as any retroactive payments.

    She also advised that I could fill out form ISP3041 to request a recalculation earlier than that. Which is what I’m in the process of helping them with right now.

    My questions as follows:

    1) Based on all the info on this site, and then using the tables on Service Canada website, I came up with estimates of combined OAS+GIS my dad should be receiving and I’m hoping someone could check to see if this sound correct:

    Key info:
    – Age: 65; lived/worked in Canada for 21 years before he got retired;
    – Married; wife is 64, and does not work/receive any income.
    – His income for last year was: $11,600 (consisting of CPP+CPP Disability + OAS + GIS)
    – Of which non OAS/GIS was $4800 (CPP) + $1700 (CPP Disability for Jan+Feb)

    Info from Table 3:
    – income range: $6,496.00 – $6,591.99 (excluding OAS pension and GIS)
    – Monthly GIS with Maximum OAS Pension: $ 850.23
    – Combined monthly OAS Pension and GIS: $ 1,436.89

    My Calculations:
    – So I gather the max OAS portion would then be = $1,436.89 – 850.23 = 586.66
    – Since my dad lived & worked in Canada for 21 yrs prior to retirement:
    His OAS would translate to: 21/40 * 586.66 = $308
    So his expected combined monthly OAS+GIS: $308 + $850.23 = ~$1,158

    Does this sound correct?

    2) For the first 4 months after he retired (Feb 2017) my dad was receiving CPP and OAS-only.
    Was he supposed to receive GIS as well during those first 4 months post retirement?

    3) after the recalculation based on the low income in 2017, will my dad get retroactive differentials for prior months?

    4) Lastly mom is applying for the allowance which due to some misinformation from their friends they thought she did not qualify for. Will she be receiving retroactive differential for 2017 (she will be turning 65 in March). And what sort of amount would she be receiving?

    Again, thank you all so much for all the info herein. Especially Doug. I learned so much more here than on Service Canada’s web site. Thanks

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Adele
      1) it’s even better than you suspect, for two reasons. First, if you complete the ISP 3041 correctly and show the decrease in CPP from $850/mth in Feb 2017 to $480/mth in Mar 2017, his income for GIS purposes effective Mar 2017 should be just the annualized CPP of $480/mth = $5,760. Second, because he is only receiving a partial OAS of 21/40ths, his GIS gets “topped-up” by an additional $278.66 to be the equivalent of 40/40ths. This means that his current total OAS/GIS should be $1,444.89 ($308 OAS + $858.23 GIS + $278.66 GIS top-up).
      2) His GIS for Mar 2017 thru June 2017 would have been based on his 2015 income, until you submit the ISP 3041.
      3) Yes, after you submit the ISP 3041, it should be retroactive to March 2017, IF he also submitted a GIS application for that payment year.
      4) The good news is that your mother’s Allowance will be approx. $736.14/mth (table 4), retroactive to Mar 2017. The bad news is that this will reduce your father’s GIS by approx. $350/mth, retroactive to Mar 2017.

      • Adele

        THANK YOU SO MUCH Doug! May I ask if your email is set up on PayPal as I wanted to treat you to a coffee at least. Thank you!!

        One follow-up re: question #1:

        As noted, my dad only received OAS for the first 4 months (Mar/Apr/May/Jun): i.e. CPP $480 + $304 OAS.

        And as of July 2017 he was receiving $480 + $633

        Was he supposed to receive the combined OAS+GIS for those first 4 months as well?


        • Adele

          Sorry I see you already responded, but at first I didn’t get it, but now re-reading it again, I see what you mean. Thanks! Please advise re email?

        • Doug Runchey

          As mentioned, GIS for the period of March 2017 thru June 2017 would have been based on his 2015 income, so if he didn’t receive any GIS for those 4 months, either his 2015 was too high to be eligible for GIS or he didn’t complete a GIS for the 2016/2017 payment year. If he did complete the GIS application for that year and his 2015 income was too high, when you submit the ISP 3041 they should pay retroactive for those 4 months also. If he didn’t submit an application showing his 2015 income however, they will only pay effective July 2017 when you submit the ISP 3041. I suggest that you call or visit Service Canada along with your father, so they can tell you whether he has to submit such an application now, because it will soon be too late (maximum of 11 months retro when submitting a new application).

          Yes, my email address can be used for PayPal.

          • Adele

            Thanks for confirming re: email! And again thanks for all the helpful info!!

  179. Mabel

    Hi there, my mom is currently have allowance, and she will turning 65 at 2019 February, so my question is how early should she apply OAS and GIS ?


    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Mabel – I’m pretty sure that your mom’s allowance will simply convert to an OAS/GIS pension automatically when she turns age 65, but if so they will likely send her a letter fairly soon. If she doesn’t receive anything by Aprilish, I would recommend contacting Service Canada to see what is necessary.

  180. Emanuel Bugeja

    Hi Doug,

    I lived and worked in Canada from June 1974 to June 1988 and my wife lived and worked their from Feb 1975 to June 1978, I am 62 years old and my wife is going to be 64 years old in June. My question is, are we eligible for CPP and OAS and if we are what is the proximate ammount we getand is it worth to apply for CPP now since that currently I’m still working abroad.

    Thanks in advance for you advise.


    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Emanuel – You should both be eligible for CPP retirement pensions, because all that is required is one year of contributions. The amount at age 65 would be approx. $29 per month for each year that you had maximum earnings/contributions to the CPP. That amount is reduced by 0.6% for every month that you start receiving it earlier than age 65 (up to a maximum reduction of 36% at age 60) and it is increased by 0.7% for every month that you start receiving it later than age 65 (up to a maximum increase of 42% at age 70).
      Since neither one of you resided in Canada for 20 years after age 18, neither one of you will qualify for OAS unless you have sufficient residence/contributions in another country to qualify under one of the international social security agreements that Canada has. If you do qualify that way, the monthly amount of your OAS would be 1/40th of the full basic amount (currently $586.66) for every year that you resided in Canada after age 18.

  181. Dee

    My husband just turn 65. He was receiving CPPD and ODSP (approximately $1800).He applied for OSA/GIS. I’m 61 and not working. We are Canadian citizen (24 years in Canada) worked about 15 years each.

    My questions are:
    1.Will he collect CPP, OSA and GIS and how much?

    2.Can I apply for CPP and Allowance at the same time?


    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Dee
      1. Yes, his CPPD will automatically convert to a CPP retirement pension, at a lower amount (I’d need to know how much his CPPD was to estimate his CPPR). Yes, he can collect OAS of approx. $343.40 (24/40ths of $589), but he has to apply for that separately. Yes, once his OAS is approved he could also receive GIS, but the amount depends on all other income amounts/sources.
      2. Yes, you could also apply for CPP now and the amount depends on what your earnings were for the 15 years that you worked here. Yes, once your husband’s OAS/GIS is approved, you can apply for the Allowance.

  182. Dee

    His CPPD was $700. If I get CPP will the Allowance be deducted for some amount? I found info on web site my Allowance will be about $530.

    Thank you so much.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Dee – Your husband’s CPP disability of $700 will convert to a CPP retirement pension of approx. $286.40. He should apply for OAS/GIS immediately and you should apply for the Allowance immediately. If you also apply for your CPP now, that will reduce both your husband’s GIS and your Allowance, but not until July 2019 so I suggest that you apply for your CPP now also.

  183. Janet Hudgins

    Every year the gov’t advice on the following year’s CPP/OAS arrives at the end of June, but we should know in advance. Why do they do this and how can we get it changed?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Janet – I think what you’re really asking about is the annual change in the amount of GIS, but correct me if I’m wrong. The CPP generally only increases once a year, in January. This increase is based on inflation (as measured by the CPI), so it’s fairly easy to anticipate at least roughly. OAS increases quarterly for the same reason, every January, April, July and October. It’s GIS that changes up or down every July, based on your income from the previous calendar year. Service Canada tells you what this change will be at the end of June, because that’s when they find out from Revenue Canada what your income was from the previous calendar year, and that’s when they know what the July increase will be for the CPI increases. If you want to know approximately what it will be at an earlier date, you can just look up your income totals on the GIS rate table for the previous quarter, and you will be fairly close. Here’s a link to the GIS rate tables:

      • Janet Hudgins

        Thanks, Doug, that’s a help. Trying to get into my own account is like trying to get into Fort Knox.

        Thing is, they increased my GIS last year but I have to assume it will revert to my old rate this year. And, I realize there is only a 2-month gap to work with (I file early thinking it helps). It would also help to merge all changes to once a year, the first of the year when most other changes take place.

      • Janet Hudgins

        Doug, where do they take the income figure from in the tax return?

  184. Alexandra

    I receive full OAS, partial CPP of $250 Monthly ($3000 annually). I understand that receiving CPP benefits affects the eligible amount of GIS. I also believe one is allowed $3500 earnings exemption. Does this mean tat I am allowed to earn $500 ($3500 – $3000) without further affecting my CPP income reduced GIS or am I allowed to earn via employment $3500 – and this is exempt from GIS reduction (while still receiving a reduced amount of CPP affected GIS?

    Thanks so much for educating us on this topic.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Alexandra – Good question! The $3,500 exemption applies only to income from employment (not even self-employment), so any CPP income would reduce your GIS but you could have employment income of up to $3,500 before it would reduce your GIS.

  185. Mabel

    Hi Doug, my mother is obtaining allowance,and she will turn to 65 next year February, does she need to fill up the foam apply OAS?
    Or automatic enrolled?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Mabel – I’m quite sure that it will convert automatically to OAS, but I’m surprised that they haven’t sent her a letter to that effect. I suggest that she call Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 to make sure that everything is in order.

  186. ppp


    I first came to Canada on a student visa Nov 31 1990. I became landed immigrant May 10 1995. Lived in Canada until June 20 2006.

    I currently reside and work in Bulgaria with which Canada has a Pension agreement.

    My question is: Will these 4-5 years as a student count towards my OAS pension?

    Thank you.

    P.S. I had my Canadian student visa stamped onto my Bulgarian passport which I had to submit back to Bulgarian authorities when it expired (so I do not have it with me).

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi PPP – The best answer that I can give you right now is probably not. For OAS purposes, to reside in Canada means that you “make your home in Canada and ordinarily live here”. So, if your true home during those years was Bulgaria and you returned there during school vacation periods etc, you cannot claim to have resided in Canada during those years. On the other hand, if you had no home in Bulgaria and you stayed in Canada during school vacation periods, you may be able to claim to have been a Canadian resident during those years. It will be very difficult though, if you have no documentation to support those periods of presence/residence.

  187. Dave

    2018-07-12 Pension sharing for tax purposes.

    My wife is in receipt of her CPP @ 285 p/mth and she has $70 withheld for taxes.

    My own CPP has been approved at 1124 p/mth to start next Jan and I have submitted a request for pension sharing. My wife also signed my request (which the form provides for and encourages). While the form is clear that I will share my pension with my wife, what happens with hers. Do they total both of ours then divide by 2 or is it just 50% of mine that is shifted to her. If the latter and we want total sharing does she have to submit another request. Nothing that I could find online answers the question.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Dave – It’s a bit complicated, unless you’ve been living together since age 18. First, it’s always a two-way sharing so that both of your CPP benefits will be shared. The amount that’s shared though, is based on the number of years that you have lived together in proportion to the number of years in your “joint contributory period”. For instance, if you are both the same age and you both started your CPP at age 65 and you had lived together for 23.5 years, your joint contributory period would be 47 years and because you lived together for half of that time you would each keep half of your own CPP and you would share the other half 50/50.
      Using this example with your numbers would mean that after sharing your CPP would be $914.25 (75% of 1124 and 25% of 285) and your wife’s CPP would be $494.75 (75% of 285 and 25% of 1124).

      • 2018-07-13 Dave

        Based on your explanation and if I’ve done it right, it appears my filing a request to share was a waste of time, as the result will be negligible.

        My wife started hers at age 60 plus 5 months so I calculate 42.4166 contributory yrs.

        I will start mine at age 65 plus 7 months so I have 47 contributory years. (Max #)

        Total joint years = 89.4166 / 2 = 44.7083 “joint contributory years”

        Married 43 yrs so we each keep 96.179% of our own. (43/44.7083)

        She keeps 275 of 286 and shares 11*.

        I keep 1081 of 1124 and share 43*. (43*-11*= 32/2 = – 16 to me + 16 to her)

        After sharing mine reduces to 1108 and hers rises to 302.

        Have I done it correctly?

        Thanks as always Doug

        • Doug Runchey

          Hi Dave – The “joint contributory period” is defined as starting when the elder one of you reached age 18 and ending when the latter of your contributory period ends (which will be when you are 65 plus 7 months – even though you can drop out those last 7 months if you aren’t working, they’re still part of your “contributory period). You then share the proportion of that period that you have lived together. If you are older than your wife, your joint contributory period would be 47 years and 7 months. If by the time you reach age 65 plus 7 months you will have lived together for 43 years, you would share 43/47.58 = 90.37% of each other’s CPP 50/50 and you would each retain the remaining 9.63% of your own CPP pension.

      • 2018-07-13 Dave

        Further to my other response. Looking at it further its the 96.179% portion that we share rather than keep as our own. So she will get 689 and I will get 721. If this is correct then it makes more sense.

        • Doug Runchey

          Hi Dave – See my other reply.

          • 2018-07-13 Dave

            Got it now … Thanks again

  188. Deb

    I don’t understand the pension splitting thing. Are not all benefits figured out by joint income?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Deb – The short answer to your question is “No”.

  189. Joe

    I have an interesting scenario for you. I was born, raised and educated in Canada, but as a teacher, I have been working abroad as a non-resident for my entire life. So, I have not been paying Canadian income tax all these years. I would say that in my entire life, I have been resident in Canada and paying into CPP a total of maybe only 5 years. For someone like me, what kind of retirement assistance would I get if any at all? I am not asking this to take advantage of the system. I am just curious. I have invested my money privately and that will provide for my retirement without government assistance. But I am curious if a person like me would end up with the same amount as someone who had lived and worked in Canada their whole life (which seems unfair)? I remember my mother complaining about her sister who never worked her whole life and ended up getting more from the government than my mother who had worked and contributed all her life. Would this sort of unfair scenario also exist for a non-resident who jumped on a plane and says, “Hey everybody, I’m home. Pay me!”

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Joe – If you paid into CPP for 5 years, you would be eligible to a CPP retirement pension at age 65 or as early as age 60 at a reduced amount. If you had maximum earnings for each of those 5 years, the amount of your CPP would be approx. $145 per month or approx. $105 at age 60. You wouldn’t be eligible for any OAS unless you qualified under an international social security agreement, in which case your OAS would be approx. $75 per month. Welcome home to Canada!

  190. Lynn

    Hi Doug,
    I just have a question about the GIS. If I retire in August as opposed to January and ask the government to calculate my GIS based on loss of employment income will the fact that I worked form January till the end of July disqualify me from receiving it for that year? And also the following year based on my previous year’s tax return? In other words is it more benefical to retire in January? I’m single and my only other income once I retire will be OAS . (I plan to defer my small QPP pension to raise the amount a bit to take later.)

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Lynn – No, it doesn’t matter what month you retire in. For GIS purposes, you can always start receiving GIS effective the month following retirement, based mainly on your income after retirement.

  191. Mabel

    Hi Doug,
    My mom was applied the OAS and GIS at July,she will be 65 at 2019 Feb,and the officer it will be converted from the Allowance .So will she get any letter from government in coming few months,or confirmation letter for how much she can get? Thanks.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Mabel – She’ll likely receive a letter advising her that her OAS/GIS has been approved, but it may not give an amount. I would suggest that she call Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 for an estimate.

  192. Viththy

    Hi Doug,
    I would like to know that how much retirement ammount my dad and mom would get from government?
    my dad is 65 in may 2020. he’s been living in Canada 25 years and getting his CPP since he is 60. he’s getting $350 CPP. so with his $350 CPP and $375 OAS (25/40) how much GIS will he get? my mom is turning 60 in 2020 and she never worked so she doesnt have CPP but how much allowance will she receive? and will that reduce my dad GIS? and how much my parent totally receive?

    Your answers are very helpful!
    thank you in advance.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Viththy – If your dad’s CPP is their only income aside from his OAS, your dad will receive GIS of approx. $790 and your mom will receive an allowance of approx. $879.

  193. Meg

    I’m really astonished by the sense of entitlement I’ve read in the comments. The number of people taking retirement early, despite having no savings and expecting GIS is really shocking. Clearly changes need to be made to the program to ensure only those truly in need, not those who made poor/selfish choices, receives it. The percentage of retirees receiving GIS should be much lower. Very disappointing but also enlightening about what is contributing to the amount of senior poverty. There definitely needs to be more focus on planning for retirement.

    • Jenny

      I agree with you, Meg. GIS is not an entitlement but an additional help from Canadian Government with the tax dollars that contributed by every single Canadian tax payer. It is hard earned money that payed into the tax pool.

  194. Jenny

    Hi, Doug, I am on LTD and receiving disability CPP. When I am turning 65, the CPP disability pay will automatically convert to CPP Retirement pay. However, I prefer to delay the CPP retirement pay till I am 71 for a higher amount, while I am using my RRSP for this duration. Has anyone done this before? I wrote to CRA 2018/12 but no respond. Please help.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Jenny – First, you should be writing to Service Canada not CRA regarding your CPP benefits. CRA collects CPP contributions, but Service Canada handles all of the benefit payment aspects of CPP. Second, unless Service Canada has changed their policies recently, they will not allow you to make this request in advance. It appears to be their policy that you have to wait until the end of the month after your 65th birthday when your CPP disability pension will convert automatically to a retirement pension. At that point, you can request that your CPP retirement pension be cancelled (you must do so in writing and within 6 months of receiving your first CPP retirement benefit). You would then have to repay any CPP retirement benefits received and you could reapply at whatever later date you wish. Your CPP benefit will not increase any further after age 70, but you could delay until age 71 and then request one year of retroactive retirement pension at the age-70 amount.

      • jenny

        Hi, Doug, greatly appreciated! It definitely helped ma a great deal! Some of my family members delayed, and liked the increased amount just in case a very long life, even though it might not be the best from ‘break even’ point of view.
        Thank you again.


  195. Jaime Barillas

    Hi Doug. What a wonderful place to understand something about this. I sponsored my father, and now, after 10 years, we are applying for the OAS and GIS. He is a dependent in my income taxes and living with me. He is 87 years old. OAS is easy, 10/40 of maximum, but GIS?, his income has always been 0, he hasn’t worked here, and he might still depending on me. Thank you very much for your service.

  196. Joan

    I receive $2200 per month for my government pension, plus $630 for CPP, totalling over $2800. I just applied for my OAS which will be full amount but now I have received a letter from the government saying my pension will be reduced to $1600 a month instead of $2200. When adding all three up, I will receive $75 a month less! Could this possibly be correct? It doesn’ Make sense to me. Please advise. Thank you.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Joan – You may want to check your math. If your government pension decreases by $600 and you start receiving OAS of $600, you should have the same total income if CPP didn’t change?

      • Joan

        Yes. I understand that but is that right that they take away $600 a month from my government pension after working for so long, just so they can give me a $600 payment of OAS? What happens with people who are receiving a $4000 a month government pension; do they have the $600 a month subtracted as well? Doesn’ Seem fair. Thank you.

        • Doug Runchey

          Hi Joan – Most defined benefit plans provide a “bridge” to match CPP and/or OAS pensions estimates at age 65 so that you have a reasonably stable income starting from the date that you retire, rather than a lower pension immediately and a higher amount once you start receiving your actual CPP and/or OAS. It’s part of the design of the pension plan and it’s factored into determining your pension contributions. Certainly it’s fair.

          • Joan

            Ok. Thanks. It makes sense to me now. Thanks for such quick replies. Happy Easter.

  197. jay

    Hi,I retired at 63 in 2017 with no pension and only $207/mnth CPP.In 2018 at age 64 I pulled $15,000 in RRSP`s and have $2484 CPP for 2018,the RRSP`s used for truck and misc. expenses.Now my income for 2018 is being used for 2019 GIS calculations,which work out to $37/mnth,so now my income for 2019 will be $2484 CPP,plus $3606($601×6 OAS)plus $222 ($37×6 GIS) for a total of $6312 for 2019.When all this was happening,my bank adviser never mentioned that pulling my RRSP`s at 64 would cost be,not to be able to collect GIS until 66,which is a loss of about $9600.Any advise or suggestion would be greatly appreciated

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Jay – If the $15,000 withdrawal was a full depletion of your RRSP, you may be able to get Service Canada to calculate your GIS on your current 2019 income instead of using your 2018 income. If you still have some money in RRSPs though, you are stuck with using your 2018 income for GIS until July 2020 when your 2019 income will start being used. It might be worthwhile to mention this to your bank advisor, because they should be aware of this impact on GIS.

  198. Curious George

    Hi Doug. Hypothetical question. Say a lifelong single Canadian resident retired 10 years ago at 65 with no CPP or other income and qualified for the maximum OAS and GIS, that person would collect the maximum OAS of the time and the maximum CPP of the time. I don’t know the amounts of the time so for arguments sake let’s say $900 a month.

    Does that $900 a month stay the same or is it adjusted to the new maximum levels each year? The max CPP and GIS benefit today July 23, 2019 is $1,514.76; is that now what the person who started at $900 a month would currently get?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi George – For OAS/GIS, the answer to your question is “yes” but for CPP the answer is “not necessarily”. For OAS/GIS, both current benefits and future benefits are indexed on increases in the consumer price index (CPI) to keep pace with prices. That means that there is only one maximum benefit amount and someone who started receiving their OAS/GIS 10 years ago will receive $1,514.76 the same as someone who starts receiving maximum OAS/GIS today.

      For CPP benefits however, current benefits are indexed on CPI increases in the future but future benefits will be based on YMPE increases in the future (which increase in line with wage increases, not price increases). Using the past as an example, if someone starting receiving a maximum CPP of $908.75 in 2009 that would have increased to only $1,062.77 by 2019, compared to the 2019 maximum of $1,154.58 for a CPP retirement pension starting in 2019. That doesn’t always mean that a new maximum CPP will be higher than a previous maximum CPP after indexing though, because for example the 2018 maximum of $1,134.17 was indexed to $1,160.26 for 2019, compared to the 2019 maximum of $1,154.58.

  199. Ishak

    I am 66 and recieve OAS+GIS of 830/month and have income 1875/month
    my wife turn 60 next year how much her allawence will be?
    will her allawence affect my GIS?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Ishak – I’m assuming that your wife must also have some income, because otherwise your OAS/GIS should be more than $830/month. Using the $830 amount, that means that your combined yearly income (excluding OAS) is approx. $33,450. Based on that income your wife would receive an Allowance of approx. $13/month and your GIS would decrease by approx. $13/month.

  200. Coral

    Hi Doug,
    Applied for the CRDO with my CPP application. Had 5 children. 1st child born in Ontario Dec 1/89, then in Jun ’91 my husband who was in the Canadian Armed Forces (Military) was assigned a position out of country. We were posted as a family to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska with the Cdn Detachment for 4 years. During that time we had two more children – 03 Aug ’92 and 14 May ’95). Jun ’95, Six weeks after birth we were posted back to CFB Gander, NL Canada. We were recipients of the Family allowance throughout our posting for all 3 children. We then had our last two children in Gander, NL – 25 Aug ’97 and 15 Feb ’02. Total five children. My CPP statement of contributions shows low to 0 earnings for the years 1990 until 2006. My CPP application was processed and I was completely denied the CRDO as they said I had children born outside Canada. Is this correct? I had pensionable earnings from 1977 to 1989, then 2007 to 2018 (8 of those years max earnings.)

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Coral – That is totally incorrect. If you received the FA during the whole period of time, you are eligible to claim the CRDO for the whole period of time.

  201. Eric

    Hi Doug, if currently my QPP amounts to approx. $372 per month, born in December 1955, and have been in Canada since July 1985, how much total income (QPP,OAS AND GIS) will I be looking to receive? Some say OAS income is taxable and some say no. Can you clarify this in your reply. Many thanks.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Eric – Assuming that you’re single and QPP is your only income, your OAS would be $531.53 and your GIS would be $746.23. QPP and OAS are taxable, but GIS is not taxable.

      • Eric

        Thank you very much for your reply Doug. My own calculation on OAS is pretty close to your number. Just to confirm though, these two amounts $531.53 (taxable)and $746.23 are on top of my QPP income…i.e. total income would be approx. $1650 per month…did I get it right? It would help with future planning a lot if I can get this confirmed. Thanks.

        • Doug Runchey

          Hi Eric – Yes, those amounts are in addition to your QPP.

          • Eric

            Much appreciated Doug.

          • Eric

            Hi Doug, My sister is on welfare at the moment due to her weak knee, and she is wondering if that will in any way affect her OAS and GIS down the road. Does welfare transit to OAS & GIS automatically? Thanks.

          • Eric

            Hi Doug, I applied for my OAS/GIS back in February 2020, and up to now I have not received any letter of confirmation as to how much I will receive end of Jan this month. It says online my applications have been PROCESSED and I should be receiving a letter within 15 days, since November. Called several times but no direct answer. Is this normal? In case I have to dispute the amount, what would be the best argument? Thanks.

          • Eric

            Hi Doug, just spoke with an agent, and they gave me the OAS/GIS amounts on the phone, which are almost identical to your calculation. So please ignore my enquiry a few minutes ago. Thank you so much and have a wonderful 2021.

          • Eric

            Hi Doug, happy holidays!
            I started my retirement (age 65) since Jan this year 2021 and am receiving approx. $1700/month (Qpp/OAS/GIS). Thinking of withdrawing some RRSP per year, wondering how to withdraw in order to minimize the effect on taxable income and retirement income. I heard GIS is not considered taxable income? Should I withdraw some within this year? Thanks.

          • Doug Runchey

            Hi Eric – There is no good way to withdraw money from an RRSP/RRIF when you are eligible for GIS. It will almost always reduce your GIS by 50% to 75% of the withdrawal amount for the GIS payment year after the RRSP withdrawal. The exception to this is if the RRSP/RRIF is entirely depleted in one year, through monthly withdrawals. This should qualify as a cessation of pension income and allow you to have your GIS based on your estimated income after the withdrawals have ceased. Depending on the size of the RRSP/RRIF though, this could have major tax consequences. Service Canada is also notoriously slow in processing the estimated income forms, so don’t expect timely receipt of your GIS entitlement in these situations.

  202. MaunaLoa Afemui

    Doug, what is taxable income true meaning? Please explain.

    • Doug Runchey

      Taxable income means that you have to include it as income on your income tax return.

      • MaunaLoa Afemui

        Ty Doug

  203. mamoon akhtar

    I am 66 and receiving ODSP. I will receive less amount on OAS than ODSP. I want to continue ODSP. Is it possible that if I dont apply for OAS ?

    Please explain

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Mamoon – If you’re over age 65, I’m surprised that ODSP hasn’t required you to apply for your OAS yet. How long have you lived in Canada?

      • akhtar

        Dear Doug Runchey,

        My stay in Canada is 8 years only.



        • Doug Runchey

          That probable explains why they haven’t forced you to apply for OAS yet, because you usually need 10 years of residence in Canada to qualify for OAS.

          • AKHTAR

            Dear Runchey Doug,

            Thank you for your reply. After 10 years of residence in Canada, If I do not apply for OAS and I want to continue ODSP, what will happen. The reason for not applying OAS is ” Less amount on OAS than ODSP. Please comment.

            Thank you for your time.



          • Doug Runchey

            Hi Akhtar – I suspect that ODSP will make you apply for OAS, but if not continue on ODSP until they do.

    • Eric

      Thanks for your reply. I only have $22000 rrsp and they will be transferred to RRIF at age 70. My current qpp $400, oas 650, gis 700, approx, wondering what to do. Appreciate your expertise and suggestions.
      A peaceful 2022 to the world.

  204. Erica

    Hi Doug, Just learned that while Social Assistance income may not be taxable income, it is being calculated in GIS as income?! Question : Single, with $371/month CPP, and $433/month social assistance, what will be my OAS and GIS approx. for the first year of retirement ? And the years thereafter, when my oas kicked in? Many thanks.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Erica – Social Assistance is not counted as income for GIS purposes, so if CPP is your only other income then your combined OAS/GIS would be $1,278.76.

      • Erica

        Thanks very much.

    • AKHTAR

      Dear Doug Runchey,

      If I apply for OAS and GIS, how much amount I will receive. I am 67 years old, my wife is 47 years old. Both are not working. The only income is CPP, which is about $10.00 per month. My stay in Canada is only 10 years.
      Please reply.



      • Doug Runchey

        Hi Akhtar – You should be eligible to a combined OAS/GIS of approx $1,525 monthly.

    • AKHTAR

      Dear Doug Runchey,
      I am 67 years old and right now, I am on the ODSP. My 10 years stay in Canada will be in next month, then I will be entitled to OAS.

      My question is that: Is my ODSP will automatically stop without the approval of OAS?

      • Doug Runchey

        Hi Akhtar – I’m sorry, but I have no expertise regarding ODSP benefits.

  205. DEBBIE

    Hello Doug. I have heard that you can take $2,000 per year out of your RRSP when you turn 65 and it is tax free Do you think this is correct?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Debbie – I’m not a taxation expert, but yes that’s my understanding also.

  206. Rita F.

    Hi Doug – I have been reading all the comments, questions, responses, etc. with much interest. Can you tell me if it is still true that a person can withdraw $2000/yr from their RRSP without paying any type of withdrawal fee or taxes? I was considering converting my RRSP to a RRIF at age 65 to start withdrawing funds sooner than later even though I really don’t need the extra money right now. As a single person, I am unable to income-split and wonder what the best option for me would be to reduce taxes. Your comments would be appreciated.

  207. Suzanne Dan

    Hello. I have a question for single and married couples eligibility for OAS and GIS. Right now I am receiving OAS and GIS plus CPP and some provincial money of $1600 a month. My husband retires this year. Will his OAS and GIS will be the same amount as mine (his CPP is about the same as mine -$100/month). Or they will recalculate based on the couple?
    thank you

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Suzanne – They should already be paying your GIS based on your combined income, assuming that they know you’re married. Once your husband turns age 65 though and starts receiving his OAS/GIS, you will both receive the same amount of GIS under a different rate table.

  208. Gabriela Leanca

    Hello Doug Runchey, I been in Canada from 2015. I start to pay Cpp as a self employer from 2017 and from 2019 I incorporate my business and pay cpp from business $3888.00/ years and from personal $900/year. How much it will be my pension if at 67 years old I will have 13 years of contribution. In Italy I did not work until my twins were 14 years old . I have probably less then 10 years.
    Thank you

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Gabriela – It would be easier to give you an answer if you could tell me what amount of “pensionable earnings” you will have for each of those 13 years.

  209. Shayne

    I recently reconnected with my biological mother who is 70 years old and discovered that she has been living in poverty for over 15 years. She wasn’t filing her taxes that entire time. She’s been living off of about $675/month for over 5 years! I’m helping her get her taxes caught up and discovered that she never applied for GIS when she turned 65. I haven’t even seen the letter from the Government informing her about it and she’s kept everything they ever sent her.

    Is the GIS benefit retroactive or will she lose all 5 years of that income she should have received had she applied?

    Thank you,

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Shayne – GIS can be paid retroactively for up to 11 months prior to the application being submitted to Service Canada.

      • Shayne

        Thank you Doug,

        In 2019 she had a some freelance income as a language translator but retired in Oct 2019. I know that her GIS for July 2020 – June 2021 is based of 2019 income and based on the tables, GIS will probably be $448.38. In 2020, she’s only has OAS $613.53 and CPP $69.19. I talked to Service Canada today and they told me that once she’s applied for GIS we can call in and request an estimate form but they wouldn’t elaborate on how quickly an adjustment would be made or if it would be retroactive. Do you happen to know? Also, will they base the adjustment on her CPP only or some sliding scale calculation using the 2019 income somehow? CPP only would set GIS to $882.38, which would help her a lot.

        Thank you,

        • Doug Runchey

          Hi Shayne – The good news is that the GIS could be paid effective Nov 2019 (if she was receiving OAS then) using her CPP income only. The bad news is that the last I heard indicates that it is taking 7-9 months for Service Canada to process the GIS entitlement based on the estimated current-year income.

  210. Antonius Abeywardane

    AS of 31st March 2021 I will be retiring from work after 25 years service I am getting the CPP and OAP from when I was 65. What I need to know is if it will increase me money or will it be the same as little over 1000.00 for a month.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Antonius – Neither your CPP nor OAS will change because you are now retiring, but if your other income after retirement is low enough, you may become eligible for GIS.

  211. Eric

    Hi Doug, I have $22000 rrsp and they will be transferred to RRIF at age 70. At 65, my current qpp $400, oas 650, gis 700, approx, wondering what to do with my RRSP. Appreciate your expertise and suggestions. Thanks.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Eric – Ignoring any tax consequences, withdrawing the entire RRSP/RRIF is probably the best strategy for GIS purposes. It could mean that you would lose GIS entitlement for one year, but that would likely be less overall impact on GIS as compared to taking it out slowly and losing 50% – 75% of each withdrawal to a decrease in GIS. By fully depleting the RRSP in one year though (ideally through periodic withdrawals throughout the year) you might escape any GIS reduction by claiming that your pension income has ceased and requesting that your GIS be based on your estimated current-year income, excluding the RRSP amounts.

      • Eric

        Thank you Doug.
        Wish I knew more about retirement when I put money aside for RRSP earlier years!

        • Eric

          Hi Doug, it has taken me a while to sink in, to kind of understand what you meant my depleting my rrsp within a year, by several withdrawals. But I have no idea what documents I need or how to make a claim for my GIS after etc…Do you think my bank would be able to provide necessary forms/docs? And should I have an accountant to make the claim on my behalf? Have no clue…! Your advice will be much appreciated.

      • Eric

        Hi Doug, I think I have clicked the wrong REPLY key to reply to myself! Cant find my message 🙂
        Anyway, my questions are, 1) Should I transfer my rrsp to rrip before depleting my entire rrsp? 2) will my bank be able to provide the necessary claim form/documents after I deplete my rrsp within the year, and 3) should I engage a professional when I do my income tax/claim when make the claim for GIS?
        Thank you.

        • Doug Runchey

          Hi Eric – It’s not mandatory, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to convert to a RRIF first. I would recommend making the withdrawals at least quarterly if not monthly, like that is what you are living off for that year. Your bank should provide you with lots of evidence of the withdrawals, because they will all be taxable income. Your tax form will be completed as usual, but you should contact Service Canada as soon as you have made the final withdrawal, to let them know that your pension has ceased and you would like to apply for GIS on the basis of your current income after the pension has stopped. This is a very slow process though, so don’t expect to start receiving GIS immediately. As of the most recent report, this is taking somewhere between 9-12 months for Service Canada to process a GIS application using estimated current income.

          • Eric

            got it and thanks Doug.
            when doing 2021 income tax yesterday, I am shocked to find out that I have Quebec income tax (even though small amount) of $250 to pay….!(thought no way anyone would have to pay income tax with such basic income !!! with QPP 4591.32, OAS 6550.86 and GIS $9249.96 ) not to mention with any future RRSP withdrawal to add…!!!
            Not sure if I had made a mistake on my 2021 income tax….? I dont quite understand since GIS is non taxable, and with total taxable income of only $11,142.24, I have to pay quebec tax?

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