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How international social security agreements affect CPP and OAS eligibility

How international social security agreements affect CPP and OAS eligibility

Canada currently has international social security agreements with over 50 countries. These agreements coordinate pension programs for people who have lived or worked in two countries.

Included in the 50 countries are the United States, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, as well as many smaller countries. Canada has only a limited agreement with the United Kingdom.

To get a list of all the countries with which Canada has agreements with and explanations of each agreement, visit the Service Canada website.

What is the purpose of these social security agreements?

Most of the agreements are similar, and are generally designed to do two things:

  1. Eliminate duplicate coverage, for example where an individual lives in one country while working temporarily in another country
  2. Eliminate gaps in coverage, where an individual has contributed to both countries but doesn’t have enough contributions to qualify for benefits in one or both countries.

While both objectives are important, this article will deal exclusively with how the agreements eliminate gaps in coverage.

What is the meant by gaps in coverage?

Eligibility for social security benefits in Canada and in most other countries generally requires that you meet some minimum contributory criteria. For example:

  • You must have resided in Canada for at least 10 years after age 18 in order to be eligible for even a partial Old Age Security (OAS) pension.
  • You must have resided in Canada for at least 20 years after age 18 in order for your OAS pension to be permanently payable outside of Canada.
  • You generally must have contributed to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for four of the last six calendar years in order to be eligible for a CPP disability benefit.
  • You must have contributed for one-third of the years in your contributory period in order to be eligible for CPP death or survivor benefits.

Meeting these minimum contributory requirements is generally not difficult if you’ve lived your entire life in Canada. It is much more difficult if you’ve moved to or from another country partway through life. Without a social security agreement between those countries, people might not qualify for benefits from one or both of those countries.

What social security agreements don’t do

Social security agreements can affect whether you meet the minimum contributory requirements to receive benefits (what I call eligibility), but they don’t affect the amount of those benefits (what I call entitlement).

Let’s look at an example: Peter was born in another country and moved to Canada at age 35 and lived here until age 50, at which time he then returned to his country of birth.

Without a social security agreement, Peter won’t be eligible for any OAS when he reaches age 65. This is because he has less than the necessary 20 years of residence in Canada in order to be eligible for OAS outside of Canada. With an agreement, he may be able to count years of residence or contributions in that other country to meet the minimum eligibility requirement of 20 years to qualify for OAS from Canada. The amount of his OAS benefit entitlement, however, will be based solely on his 15 years of residence in Canada.

How these social security agreements work?

You have to apply separately to each country for any benefits that you might be eligible for.

All CPP and OAS applications have a question that asks you to list any other country that you have lived or worked in. If you don’t meet the minimum eligibility requirements for CPP or OAS based just on your Canadian contributions/residence, your application will be considered under any International Agreement that might apply to you.

The process of confirming your contributions/residence in that other country generally takes several months, but if this gives you enough combined contributions/residence to meet the minimum eligibility requirements, it means that your application for CPP or OAS will be approved and not denied. Again, the amount of your benefit entitlement will be based solely on your Canadian contributions/residence.


  1. Lydia Landvatter

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    I have skoliosis and unable to work. I have worked in Kanada 2011-2013 und in Germany from 1971-1983 plus child education
    time 10 years. My disability application is denied. Who can help me. We are not in a good financial situation. My husband is sick and have arthritis, we have a mortgage on the house.

    Lydia Landvatter

    • Doug


      The only way that an international agreement can help you to qualify for a CPP disability pension is if it helps you meet the minimum contributory requirement of 4 years of contributions out of the last 6 year, and earnings at least equal to 10% of the YMPE for each of those 4 years.

      If you have valid contributions (ie, at least 10% of the YMPE) for 2011, 2012 and 2013, is there any way that you had any salary earnings in 2014 or could you claim self-employed earnings of at least $5,250 for 2014?

  2. Ted

    I was born (1965) and raised in Canada. I received my degrees (undergrad and law) in Canada. I moved to the US in 2000 (I was 35). My understanding is that I do not have the requisite “20 years after 18” to be able to claim OAS. But, I believe that there is a provision of the agreement between the US and Canada that it will count my years in the US, so I can meet the 20 year requirement.

    I have earned SS credits while here in the US.

    Am I able to receive OAS benefits from Canada and SS benefits from the US? In other words, I am not looking to claim CPP from Canada – only OAS.


    • Doug Runchey


      Yes, you should be able to count your years of SS contributions in order to meet the 20-year requirement, and then you will qualify for OAS based on how many years of Canadian residence you have after turning age 18 (approx. 17/40th).

      There is no restriction under the OAS legislation to receiving both OAS from Canada and SS benefits from the US.

      Assuming that you made some CPP contributions before you left Canada at age 35, you would also be eligible for CPP benefits. I’m curious as to why you wouldn’t claim any CPP benefits?

      • Ted

        Hi Doug,

        Thanks for the quick response. You raise a good question. I assumed I would only be able to claim SS in the US and not also claim CPP in Canada (i.e.,, I figured I am not able to claim both). Is that correct? I guess I would be interested in the strategy that gains benefits me the most … CPP + OAS or SS + OAS? Or is it something different?


        • Dale lab

          You can claim CPP, OA and SS if you are eligible for them. I get Canada pension, OAS and a spousal benefit from SS. so you can receive all 3 if eligible. The best thing to do is apply for all of them.

      • S.S.Dhindsa

        I am Canadian citizen since 2008 and had gone to India several times for long period due to property issues and during my visit I had brain stroke twice rendering me diagnosed as disabled.
        I have no permanent home in india and am on rental, to survive I re generated business but is still in loss.
        Property is still unsold, I have been filling ITax for all years also declaring my capital gains through form 1135.
        Now applied paper OAS to Service Canada and awaiting reply. In September I will be 65 , have family in Canada and house, as per my less residency days in canada could I get benefits of Social security agreement between Canada and India.
        Kindly advise.
        Thanks and regards

        • Doug Runchey

          I suggest that you wait until they have approved or denied your OAS application and see what periods of time they have concluded that you resided in Canada. If they deny your OAS application based solely on your residence in Canada, then you can ask that they consider your application under the Canada/India agreement to see if you qualify through that process.

    • Ken

      Hello Doug

      I see that you are an expert on this topic and appreciate reading your answers to other people’s questions. My wife and I have been Canadian citizens since the mid-1990s but have been living in the USA since the late 1990s. While I have earned income in the USA and have accumulated 40 social security credits, My wife has on earned income in the USA and had lived in Canada for a total time period of approximately 4 years. Could her 18+ years of residence in the USA be used to help her satisfy the 10 year Canadian residency requirement or the 20 year out-of-Canada residency requirement for OAS benefit? Is the OAS benefit approximately $578 per person or per couple? Is there any chance or risk that OAS may be reduced/eliminated in the future especially for Canadian citizens who have qualified for a significant amount of social security benefit in another country such as USA?

      Thank you very much in advance.

      • Doug Runchey

        Ken – My expertise doesn’t include indepth knowledge of each of the agreements, but I believe the Canada/USA agreement allows only periods of contribution to the USA (not simply residence in the USA) to count as periods of residence in Canada for OAS purposes. Here’s a link with more details:

        The OAS is $578 per person per month, but if you have only 4 years of residence in Canada you would receive only 4/40ths of that amount or about $57.80.

  3. Doug Runchey


    There is nothing in either the CPP or OAS legislation that reduces either of those benefits if you receive SS from the US. I’m not a tax expert, so I can’t tell you what any tax implications are.

    I know that the US has a “Windfall Elimination Program” that will reduce your SS if you receive some CPP, but I believe that it only applies if you have less than 30 years of contributions to SS. Even if your SS is reduced by the WEP however, I would expect that you’d always be better off receiving the CPP than not.

  4. Rolando CRuz

    Hello Mr Doug Runchey

    My name is Rolando Cruz, I found your name on DRpensions website and I just want to consult my mother’s application for her Old age security pension.
    I sponsored my mother and she migrated here in Canada since March 2004. During her 10 years residency here in Canada, she go back to Philippines 3 times (2005, 2007 & 2010), she spent more than a year on those 3 years.
    If I added all, she spent about 5.8 years here in Canada and 4.2 years in the Philippines but she maintained Canada as her primary residence.
    She submitted her OAS pension application here in Canada last year (Sept 2014th), we received a response that they forwarded her application to International Department and then they sent another letter after 1 year that she did not met the 10 years residency so they did not granted her the OAS pension
    When we submitted her application , the basis that we considered is the fact that she both lived here in Canada and Philippines for the past 10 years.
    The fact that they said “live OR worked” meaning that if she lived on both countries but not necessarily worked should have qualified her for at least a partial Old Age Security pension
    I think you are more expert on this that’s why I sent you this letter hoping that I will get the right answer

    Your response is greatly appreciated

    Rolando Cruz

    • Doug Runchey


      Thanks for the enquiry!

      I’m not an expert on the Canada/Philippines agreement, but here’s a link that you might find useful:

      Here also is a quote from that link “If you do not qualify for an Old Age Security pension because you have not lived in Canada for the minimum number of years, Canada will consider periods credited under the Philippine pension program as periods of residence in Canada.”

      Each agreement is different, but this quote implies to me that if you’re short in Canadian residence for OAS purposes, you can only make that up with periods of contribution in the Philippines, not simply periods of residence there.

  5. Wayne Hemrick

    Hi Doug – I found your article very interesting and thank you for the information. Im looking for some advice and hope you can guide us in the right direction. My wife 9Canadian Citizen) and I (US Citizen) married about 17 years ago.. she moved here to the US and worked 13 years and paying into all of our systems including Social Security. While she lived in Canada she worked perhaps 14-18 years and has paid into their system. The amount she paid into their system would have been minimal as they were not high paying jobs. Now that she is 62 and not working she is exploring the idea of collecting in some fashion, but actually waiting until she is around 65-ish. We are unclear about the whole CPP/OAP and U.S. SS thing in regards to what affects what meaning… can she collect both CPP and US or if she collects CPP and she goes to apply for SS that this will hurt her? We have created an account on the US SS system and it has her in there and an amount that they say she would get… we just don’t know what all it is taking into account such as any credits from a previous marriage, Canadian contributions to CCP/OAP…etc…so its a bit puzzling as to what to expect when she applies. Can you shed any light on this? Thank you Wayne

    • Doug Runchey


      My true expertise is limited to the Canadian benefits under CPP/OAS and I can assure you that they are based strictly on her CPP contributions and the number of years that she resided in Canada. They are not affected by if/how much she receives from the US SS system.

      I am somewhat aware of the “Windfall Elimination Provision” (WEP) under the US SS system, and I’m pretty sure that her US benefits will be reduced if/when she receives CPP. Here’s a link to the WEP:

  6. Wayne Hemrick

    Thank you for your reply Doug. So in the same regard, from what I described, can Canadians apply for and receive OAS AND U.S. Social Security or is that where the totalization comes in at? That’s also part of our confusion is that there are 3 systems that we are trying to understand…CPP/OAS/SS … it possible to collect from more than one. We wont be going for an appointment at the SS Admin. office for several more weeks so this at least gives us time to arm ourselves with as much knowledge and info as possible. Im sorry but in our location I just do not trust our local SS workers in this particular city. I suppose the only other option is to take an appropriate attorney to “over see” the process and make sure its calculated properly.

    • Doug Runchey


      I don’t know whether citizenship is a factor in receiving U.S. SS, but otherwise she could certainly receive both OAS and SS (as well as CPP with the WEP offset).

      Totalization enters the picture only if she doesn’t meet the eligibility criteria for either/both countries separately. For instance, to apply for OAS from outside Canada she needs 20 years of residence in Canada after age 18. If she has that, she qualifies for OAS without using the agreement. If not, she may be able to use some of her years of contributions to the U.S. SS system to meet the 20-year threshold, but the amount of her OAS would be based strictly on the actual numbers of years of residence in Canada.

  7. Wayne Hemrick

    Thank you Doug for your informative answers – I will keep sifting through the issue’s and continue to get our ducks in row.

  8. Bruce Simpson

    Hi Doug, I was born (1949), educated and worked in Canada until age 24, when I spent 11.5 years working in the UK & Australia. In 1986 I returned to Canada with my English wife and raised a family, retiring last year at age 66. The 2.5 years in Aus has been credited to my UK state pension entitlement and I have purchased additional years to qualify for 30/30ths of UK State Pension. I believe I qualify for full OAS based on birth prior to 1952, living in Canada from age 18-24 and being here past 28 years, though I do not have 40 years in Canada after age 18. I note that the application form asks for detail of my UK & Aussie residence, but as I understand it, my eligibility for the UK benefits, should not affect or reduce my Canadian benefit, which I hope to start this month, having deferred it for 13 months after 65. I have not yet started to claim the UK benefits, but will likely do so later this year. Are my assumptions correct? Thanks for your help

    • Doug Runchey


      Yes, you are correct that you will qualify for the full basic OAS, based on:
      – having been born prior to July 1, 1952, and
      – having resided in Canada after age 18 and prior to July 1, 1977, and
      – having resided continuously in Canada for at least the 10 years immediately prior to reaching age 65.

      And don’t forget about your CPP also!

  9. Bruce Simpson

    Thanks Doug, As a followup my income in 2014&5 was near max clawback levels, however in 2016 (first real year of retirement and benefit claim) I estimate my income will be below $78k minimum clawback level. Is there a way I can ask them to use my estimated earnings for calculating the clawback, so that I can live on the benefit during 2016, rather than have a ‘windfall’ resettlement in March 2017, when I do my taxes? Thanks again for your help

  10. Bob Parker

    Hi Doug, My Japanese wife became a landed immigrant in Canada 1989 aged 36 and has resided here in Canada (became Canadian citezen in 2014) continually since. She is now 64 and will have 26 years of residency towards OAS. Is she able to supplement her years based on prior Japanese citizship.

    • Doug Runchey


      No, you can’t use residence/contributions to any other country in order to increase the amount of OAS or CPP benefits. You can only use them to meet any minimum eligibility requirements that may exist.

  11. Derek

    Hi Doug
    I wonder if you can help answer this. I lived and worked in Canada from birth to age 44. Therefore contributed to CPP etc. I moved to the UK and have lived here for the past 15 years. The question is – when I begin collecting my CPP will it be frozen to the amount that it is when I start collecting it or will I receive the annual increases that anyone living in Canada get? I know that in the reverse scenario a UK citizen living in Canada receiving UK’s state pension, it would be frozen.

    • Doug Runchey


      Rest assured that you receive the same annual CPP increases as someone who lives in Canada.

  12. Pete

    Hi Doug,

    I was born in and have lived in Canada for my entire life. I am currently receiving CPPD (CPP disability) benefits in addition to a private pension from my former employer. I am 57 years old and had to retire earlier than originally planned upon due to serious health conditions.

    My question for you is whether or not I would be able to continue collecting CPPD benefits until age 65 if I relocated to and lived solely in another country, severing all residential ties to Canada? I am hoping to live in a place having lower costs for housing and food but have been getting conflicting answers to my question so far. A phone call to Service Canada about three years ago provided the reply that I would be able to collect CPPD while living abroad provided that I was still unable to work. More recently, however, I have seen on a government website a mention that that CPPD is payable only to people residing in Canada.

    Do you possibly know the answer to my question and, if so, could you please provide the link for the confirming reference document so I can be more certain of where I stand on this issue?

    many thanks,

    • Doug Runchey


      All CPP benefits (including CPP disability) are payable outside Canada. Here’s a link:

      • Trevor Thomas

        Doug, I lived and worked in the US for 7 years and paid into their SS system am I able to collect any of that money at age 65 or my retirement in Canada?
        Trevor Thomas

      • Doug Runchey

        Hi Amber – You need 20 years of residence in Canada after age 18 in order to receive OAS outside of Canada, so the short answer to your question is “No”. You would however be eligible for a small CPP pension if you made CPP contributions for at least one year in Canada.

    • Milica Taylor

      Hi Doug
      I would like to move back to Europe I work 40 years inn Canada I have CCP OAS how much Canada will deduct my benefits Thank you Milica

  13. Gina

    Hi Doug

    I was born in the UK and lived/worked there until 2004 when I came to live in Canada. In reading the above, do I understand correctly that I would need to live in Canada until 2024 to be able to have CPP paid to me in the UK should I return? I am in a position where at some point I may have to return to look after my parents and I don’t want to miss out on eligibility by a matter of a few years.

    Thanks again, this article has great advice.

    • Doug Runchey

      Gina – CPP is payable anywhere in the world regardless how long you’ve lived in Canada. It’s OAS that’s only payable outside of Canada if you have 20 years of residence in Canada.

  14. John


    I am a Canadian retiring at 63 and will be getting CPP and OAS as well as Public Service Pensions from Alberta. If I emigrate to Mexico and severe all ties to Canada including Citizenship, will this eliminate the 15% tax withholding by Canada in payment of my CPP and OAS Pensions?

    Great articles and the posts are very informative!


    • Doug Runchey

      John – I’m sorry, but my expertise is limited to the CPP and OAS programs themselves and it doesn’t include tax liability depending on where you live and/or what your citizenship is.

  15. Brent Whiteside

    Hi Doug,

    I just turned 60 and applied for my CPP. I worked in the U.S. for 3 years under W2 and paid federal taxes, social security taxes and medicare taxis. Is 3 years long enough to receive any form of U.S. Pension?


    • Doug Runchey

      Brent – Yes, I’m pretty sure that under the Canada/USA agreement you will qualify for U.S. social security.

    • Patricia Seeley

      Hello Doug,
      I am an expat Canadian living in The Netherlands for the past 35 years. My sister informed me that I can claim CPP. Who knew?!? I am aware of the agreement between both countries. My question is, am I allowed to claim CPP as well as my Dutch OAP? And if so is it worth it for me to actually claim CPP? We pay quite a bit of tax here! I hope you can help me.
      Thank you.
      Patricia Seeley

      • Doug Runchey

        Hi Patricia – If you worked and contributed to CPP for even just one year, you will be eligible for a CPP retirement pension even without the agreement. What the agreement might do is to make you eligible for an OAS pension from Canada too. Neither of these should affect your Dutch OAP as far as I know.

  16. Donna Wymer

    Hello Doug, I am a Dual Citizen of US and Canada. I have enough point is US system for SS, moved to Canada and have not worked for the past 10 years. My husband of 30 years has left me and we will be divorcing – I know I will receive 5 of his 10 years in CPP and than I will now work from age 51 – 70+ probably. But I do not make the maximum for the CPP point each year. Will I qualify for CPP? And how will eligiblity for both SS and CPP play out? Do they each pay some, can I receive dual retirements? I know you can’t double dip and max out both but will i be penalized for some time in each system?

    • Doug Runchey

      Donna – Yes, you will qualify for both CPP and SS, based on your contributions to each program separately. You should also qualify for OAS, based on how many years you have resided in Canada.

  17. Donna Wymer

    Hi Doug, thank you for your help. Thanks for letting me know that i will qualify for both. Do you know if one caps the other one out? For example if I qualify for $1000 in SS and $300 in CPP will I only get the maximum of $1000 – with the two countries splitting the cost? or will I get $1300 total from both? I understand that the CPP program caps out right now at around $1200 and most Canadians do not recieve the maximum. So if makes me wonder how they deal with 2 systems and fairness and not double dipping the systems, etc.

    I will also qualify for about 1/2 of the OAS by the time retirement gets here.

    Again Thanks for helping me understand the two systems and how they are connected.

    • Doug Runchey

      Donna – There is no combined “cap” as such, but the US has something called the “Windfall Elimination Provision” that will reduce your SS by a portion of what you receive from CPP. Here’s a link with more details:

      • Donna

        Thanks Doug, so is that saying that in 2016, the WEP would be over $400? I am currently 51 so will not retire until 2031+. The SS office
        Gave me an estimate that I would get just under $1000 when the time comes… But is this saying they will take 400+ back and probably more as it looks like it went up every year. So possibly I won’t get much of anything? Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it.

        • Doug Runchey

          Donna – I’m sorry, but I’m not an expert on the US social security. You’d have to contact them to see how much your SS will be reduced under the WEP.

  18. Charles Yu

    Dear Doug,
    I worked and contributed to the UK social pension system for 7 years before immigrating to Canada. With my retirement date coming up next month, two months ago, I submitted my social pension claim form to the UK only to be told I am NOT eligible for pension payment due to insufficient contribution ( minimum of 10 years ). I was also told I cannot use the contribution made to Canada’s CPP and OAS to top up the UK qualification year to 10 years, even though the two countries have a reciprocating agreement of sort.
    Is there any recourse I can pursue to allow me to get compensated for the 7 years of contribution made to the UK pension system? It seems so unfair not being able to get any of my contribution money back.
    Thank you for your most kind attention and help,
    Yours Truly,
    Charles Yu

    • Doug Runchey

      Charles – Sorry, but I think you’re out of luck unless Canada and the UK reach a full agreement someday.

  19. SB

    Hi Doug,
    I moved to Canada from Romania in 1996.
    Canada has social security agreements signed with Romania.
    I am 59 now and plan to retire at 65.
    I have a question about deferring OAS; most widely available information states this:
    For each month of “valid” deferral, your OAS pension will be increased by 0.6%. The maximum deferral is 5 years, which would increase your OAS pension by 36%.

    However i think i read an article a few years ago that OAS deferral for people like me who won’t have 40 years of residence in Canada when they turn 65 are at disadvantage to those who have 40 years residence in the sense that lets say you defer OAS for one year the residents who have 40+ years will receive 0.6×12=7.2% increase on their OAS benefits.
    However people who have less that 40 years of residence will only receive 2.5 % which represents 100%:40 years which comes to 2.5 years per year.

    Your comment on this would be greatly appreciated.

    • Doug Runchey

      SB- Read this article:

      As you’ll notice, there is no disadvantage to people who have less than 40 years of residence if they delay beyond age 65, as any delay can be attributed either to an extra 1/40th as residence OR the 7.2% increase for voluntary deferral (but not both). Counting is as extra residence can be worth as much as a 10% increase (e.g., going from 10/40ths to 11/40ths). In your case, you will have approx. 26 years of residence at age 65 so if you delay one year you could choose 27/40ths (approx. a 3.85% increase over 26/40ths) OR 26/40ths with a 7.2% increase for voluntary deferral.

  20. Tom Stephens

    Hi Doug,

    I am 65 and a dual citizen (US and Canada) currently living in the US. I moved back and forth over the years between the 2 countries and understand that “you must have resided in Canada for at least 20 years after age 18 in order for your OAS pension to be permanently payable outside of Canada.”

    I’ve lived in Canada somewhere between 18 to 21 years depending on how OAS determines the number of residency years. Does OAS calculate it by complete calendar years (Jan 1 to Dec 31), by number of days or months/year, by country of residence on Dec 31 of each year or some other method?

    Also, the OAS application asks for supporting paperwork to prove when I moved to the US or back to Canada with certified copies of original documents such as visas, airline tickets, etc. Visas were not required to move back to Canada for a returning citizen and no one would realistically be able to provide such old documents. Does this present a serious problem or a denial and what would you suggest.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.


    • Doug Runchey

      Tom – Each period of residence in Canada is counted to the exact number of years/months/days and then they are added together to get your total number of years. It gets very difficult where someone has multiple exits/entries with little of no evidence, but do your best and good luck. If you don’t meet the 20-year rule based solely on your residence in Canada, you can still meet it under the Canada/USA agreement by using your years of US residence, so all that you’re really talking about is whether you receive 18/40ths or 21/40ths of the OAS.

  21. Tom Stephens

    Thanks Doug.

    Will OAS look at our US previous year’s joint US tax return to determine if income will exceed the OAS threshold?

    If so, how do they determine my income when we file a joint return?

    Thanks again!

    • Doug Runchey

      Tom – Sorry, but I don’t know how that part of it works.

  22. Bob Lemieux

    Doug, very nice article. I wonder if you can tell me how to proceed. I was Canadian moved to US in 2009. I get an Ontario Pension for Policing and started Canada Pension at age 60. I have worked in US since 2011. I divorced and started claiming Social Security at age 62 on my former spouses record. I know I will be affected by WEP and other things when I start claiming my own SS. In fact due to my Canadian Pensions it may totally wipe out my SS. Should I seek totalization formula or is this even possible now that I am receiving both SS and Canada Pension. Thanks for your help.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Bob – I’m sorry, but I don’t know enough about the US Social Security to answer your question.

  23. Zoe

    Hi Bob,
    My mom worked since she was 18 in UK and lived in Canada and worked since 1987. She has turned 65 one months ago. We’re starting to fill out the OAS pension forms and unsure the section for benefits from another country question 15 needs to be completed. She does not have benefits for old age from another country and has not applies. Thanks

    • Doug Runchey

      Zoe – This section is optional, but I recommend that you show that she lived and worked in the UK from age 18 until 1987 and answer “No” to the question whether she has received or applied for benefits from the UK.

  24. Bruce Simpson

    Zoe, If the section is optional and you want to start receiving benefits anytime soon, I would suggest NOT filling it in. When I did this, they automatically deemed my claim a “complex case” which they allow 40 weeks for assessment on, before you can enquire about it. After the 40, when I asked for them to expedite, it took another month before I received any benefit. Yes they did give me the retroactive money, but it was a longggggg time to wait.
    By the way if your mum worked in the UK from 1970 (when she was 18) to 1987 (when she moved here), she should be eligible for UK state pension benefit for that time. The UK use 30ths in their denominator (so possibly 50%) though this would partially depend on if she “opted out of the ‘full stamp’ as a married woman” (even then she would get something. The other good news is at her age (same as my wife) she qualified at age 62, and the UK give a very generous 10% a year deferment bonus. She should definitely contact the UK State Pension authority (google for the address), it costs nothing to apply and she may be very pleasantly surprised even with the current state of Sterling (post Brexit)

  25. John Roberts

    Hi Doug,

    My wife and I are living in the US. Both of us were born and worked in Canada, until I relocated to the USA in 1982. We returned to Canada 1986-1993, but ultimately left again for the US in 1993.

    My question concerns OAS. I know I will qualify for OAS, since I have more that 20 years residence in Canada after age 18. But my wife is younger and is a couple years short of 20 years. I should also mention that my wife has never worked in the USA, so even though she has an SSN “Authorized for Employment”, she has no work credits. So she will be getting a spousal pension from SSA based on my work record.

    So re OAS for my wife, will the USA-CAN Totalization Agreement bump her up to 20 years residence credits, so she can get a 50% OAS pension when she turns 65 later this year?

  26. Nick

    Doug, thanks for this useful post. I wonder if you are aware of any limitations on receiving an overseas pension as well as CPP/OAS? I am 55, moved from the UK to Canada in 1992, and have been investigating my eligibility for a UK state pension at 67 (i.e., in 2027). It seems I have 6 qualifying contributory years and will be eligible for a prorated pension if I make at least 4 quite modest voluntary annual contributions to bring my total contributing years to 10; and if I continue to contribute for the next 12 years *and* make the maximum allowable (6) catch-up payments I will end up with around 2/3 of a full UK pension.

    I’m pleasantly surprised by this, but am half expecting there to be a catch. Aside from the fact that the pension would not be indexed to inflation, no negatives have emerged as I’ve done my web research, except perhaps this comment on a web forum:

    “There is a clause in the UK/Canada Social Security treaty that says any year that you are insured under National Insurance in the UK will not count as a year towards Old Age Security in Canada… [but] The general consensus is that this is ignored. I wrote to Service Canada about this and their response was in government speak. Essentially, they said that when assessing someone’s entitlement to OAS they do not ask the UK government about your NI status. They carefully avoided making any guarantee that they would not do so in future.”

    This sounds very mushy. Are you aware of any more authoritative answer — and if the situation may also extend to CPP?

    (The main concern, as the poster I quoted said, is that “On the face of it this means if you are paying voluntary NI contributions you are buying a pension that will not be indexed for inflation and giving up a pension that is free and is indexed for inflation.”)

    Thanks for any insight, and sorry for the overlong query…

    • Doug Runchey

      Nick – I’m not an expert on the UK/Canada Social Security treaty (or any other agreements), but as far as I know, nothing that you do in regards to increasing your UK pension will affect either your OAS or CPP eligibility or entitlement.

  27. Nick

    Hello Mr. Doud Runchey,

    Please assist (or provide a link to information) with the following issue:
    I am trying to evaluate my OAS perspectives.
    This is what I read from the “Guide for Completing an Application for Canadian Old Age, Retirement and Survivors Benefits under the Agreement on Social Security between Canada and Romania”:
    You may qualify for an Old Age Security pension if you:
    –  have reached age 65; and:
-  have resided in Canada for at least one year since reaching age 18; and
-  were a Canadian citizen or legal resident of Canada at the time of your departure; and 
-  have resided in Canada since reaching age 18 and have creditable periods under the legislation of Romania for a total of at least 20 years.

    I am confused regarding the creditable periods.
    Please clarify for me (or provide a link to information):
    1) would the period that I worked and contributed to the pension plan in Romania before becoming a Canadian citizen count as residency years in Canada for the purpose of meeting the minimum requirements for qualifying for OAS (20 years when living abroad)
    2) would a future period that I might have to leave Canada and live abroad (in Romania) count as residency in Canada provided I will contribute to the Romanian Pension Plan
    Thank you!

    • Doug Runchey

      Nick – The answer to your first question is “Yes”. I don’t know the answer to your second question for sure, but I think not.

  28. Nick

    Apologies for misspelling Doug

    • Doug Runchey

      No problema!

  29. Steve

    Hi. I am Canadian and worked in Quebec for 40 years. I have been living in the US for the past 6 years (self employed) and plan to move back to Canada.
    When I apply for my Quebec pension do you know if what I paid into US social security will be used to calculate my final Quebec pension benefit?


    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Steve – No, it won’t. You’ll have to apply for each benefit separately.

  30. serge

    Hi Doug
    Thank you for all the info you’ve provided.

    Have a question: do you see any benefit if a dual Canada-US citizen while living and working in USA still makes voluntary contributions to CPP with no income received (and reported) in Canada?

    If some income in Canada is mandatory (for voluntary CPP contributions), can it be some investment income, say couple thousand Cad$ per year received as dividends/income in a taxable account at any Canadian brokerage?

    Thanks a lot,

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Serge – There is no such thing as voluntary CPP contributions, and contributions can only be made on qualified earnings from employment or self-employment.

      • Selena

        Hi Doug:

        I am Colombian citizen and permanent resident in Canada for the last 15 years, I’m 55 and I plan to continue living in Canada and get my retirement here. However, I worked 12 years in Colombia and after I came I continue paying my retirement plan in Colombia as well. I know there is not any agreement between Canada and Colombia. So the question is when I am 65 can I receive retirement money from Canada and from Colombia? since I pay in both systems? or should I expect Canada to ban me and don’t allow me to receive my retirement money from my Colombian system?

        I appreciate any assistance you can give me on this topic.



        • Doug Runchey

          Hi Selena – I know nothing about the social security programs in Colombia, but there’s no restriction in the Canadian system that would prevent you from receiving pensions from both countries.

  31. Carolyn Clark

    I am a US citizen and Canadian permanent resident who worked 17 years in the US before moving to Canada with my family in 2012. I am planning to retire from full-time work sometime next year with 5 years’ contribution into CPP. Assuming I can use my US work history to gain eligibility under the US/Canadian agreement, how would my benefit amount be calculated? I am asking because I am trying to determine the relative advantages of the US social security benefit vs. the CPP benefit. The SS advisor I spoke to said I could only receive benefits under one of the two plans, not both. My yearly income in Canada has come to approximately $80,000 to $90,000 a year. During the final 6 pr 7 of my years working in the US my income was comparable to this but it was much lower prior and the total amount I stand to receive from SS is relatively low as they calculate benefits based on an average over a number of years. I’m guessing I would do better under CPP but don’t know how my benefit amount would be calculated here in Canada. Perhaps you could enlighten me on this. Thank you.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Carolyn – Your SS advisor was wrong, at least from Canada’s perspective. Your CPP retirement pension will be based on your total pensionable earnings to CPP, averaged over 39 years (if you take it at age 65) and your US earnings will have absolutely no relevance. Where the Canada/US agreement may come into play is in determining whether you’re eligible for OAS. This is because it may help you meet the 10-year or 20-year minimum residence requirement to qualify for OAS, but it won’t affect the amount of your OAS.

      • Carolyn Clark

        Thank you so much for clarifying CPP and OAS for me. I will be in Calgary over the next week and will see if there is any place I can go to to speak to someone directly about my potential eligibility for OAS next year given that I am covered by the US/Canada treaty. They should be able to tell me how many years I need to reside in Canada to reach eligibility under the terms of the treaty. I might need to wait a few more years before I attain eligibility under the terms of the treaty — or perhaps not — but as I am now over 65, I would like to apply for the benefit as soon as I have resided in Canada for the minimum number of years I need to in order to qualify.

        • Doug Runchey

          Hi Carolyn – With 5 years of max contributions to CPP, your CPP retirement pension at age 65 will be approx. $142 per month. With 5 years of residence in Canada, your OAS would be approx. $73 per month (5/40ths of the full OAS of $583.74) at age 65 if you qualify under the agreement . It may be wise to delay your OAS until age 70 though, because it will double in those 5 years and you will “breakeven” at age 75.

          • Carolyn Clark

            Thanks so much for clearing up the confusion about all this. I will definitely wait another few years before applying for benefits under either program. In the meantime I will rely on returns from my investments and on US social security to fund my partial retirement.

  32. michael moore

    Hi Doug

    Am a Canadian citizen – worked in the US for 3 different companies (a total of 28 quarters),
    returned to Canada in 2009. Have worked as an an employee and also self-employed for some parts of that time. Currently (I’m 73) I receive CPP/OAS benefits along with a QPP supplement benefit – I am employed as a teacher so my income fluctuates depending on my course load.
    However, as a high-income earner in the US for 7 years, is there some pension benefit I might receive based upon the large amount of mandatory SS contributions I made while employed in the US? Know I do not qualify for US pension benefits directly because I do not meet the required 40 quarters of employment….would an additional benefit be available under the international agreements in this regard?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Michael – I’m not an expert on the US social security, but I’m quite sure that you will qualify for it under the Canada/USA agreement by using some of your CPP credits to reach the minimum 40 quarters required for US social security. Here’s the link:

      • Dave

        Hi Doug, I understand the caveat that you’re not an expert in US SS, but is it as simple as my read of the link suggests; that if Michael has 3 years (or more) (12 quarters) of CPP contributions that the 12 quarters would be added to his US SS 28 quarters and he would get the US entitlement…. with no reduction in his CPP? Does the amount of his contributions to CPP in those 3 years matter?

        On the US side it seems like a harsh rule for someone who only has worked in the US but does not achieve 10 years of contributions.

        • Doug Runchey

          Hi Dave – Yes, I believe it is as simple and straightforward as you suggest. I don’t think it matters what the amount of the CPP contributions are, and I know that there’s no reduction in the CPP benefit amount.

  33. michael moore

    When it was apparent (in late 2008 during the crash/meltdown) that I had no choice but to return to Canada I went through a very frustrating process of trying to obtain some degree of, either refund, compensation or credit through US Social Services….it was a brick wall all the way. Their position is, you must have 40 quarters of recorded contributions while employed in the US or you get zip, zero, zilch as a pension benefit.

    It never occurred to me until just this week that perhaps the 28 quarters of deductions/contributions I did make, might be applicable, in conjunction with Canadian contributions, to obtain some form of benefit…..of course, the US gov’t is not gonna tell you that….in my case they get to keep the $10-15,000 in Social Security contributions I did make…..pretty crappy and somewhat fraudulent if only in the withholding of such information….so I will make yet another attempt to recover some of those monies. In point of fact, being employed on both a TN visa, and an O-1 visa (much higher visa class), once one’s job is terminated for any reason, as a Canadian you cannot qualify for EI benefits either…..another whack of contribution monies down the US gov’t toilet…..I will post any progress I make to keep y’all informed…..Thanks Doug

  34. Steven

    Hi Doug,

    My wife and I were born in Canada in 1953.
    – After 42 years, we moved to Germany in 1995.
    – 22 years later we returned to Canada in 2017.

    I have applied for OAS and CPP (along with a German application) but fear that I may have been to hasty with the application for OAS. I chose to have the OAS start as soon as possible and I have heard that it is not possible to receive full OAS if that “as soon as possible” means less than a year after return to Canada. (We returned in March and I turn 65 in March.)

    I am confused. Any guidance on how to ensure full payments (or as full as possible) would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks very much in advance,

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Steven – There is a provision whereby applying for OAS a year or more after returning to Canada could result in a full OAS pension based on the “3-for-1” rule, but that provision doesn’t apply to anyone born after July 1, 1952. Your OAS entitlement will simply be 1/40th of the full OAS pension for each complete year of residence that you have in Canada after age 18 and prior to your OAS starting.

  35. R Chahal

    Hi Doug

    Very informative article !!
    My parents have been living in Canada since last 10 years, they immigrated from India and now they have already turned 65 and soon they will be applying for OAS. They both were government employees back in India and are receiving pension there. So my question is:-
    1) Will their OAS benefits be reduced if they are receiving pension in India?
    2)They have made multiple trips to India in which everytime the stay was less than 6 months, so does that affect the 10 year period in Canada or not?


    • TJ

      R Chahal –

      1. No their pension in India won’t reduce their OAS amount. But it will reduce their GIS amount if they are getting any GIS.

      OAS clawback will only take place if their income is more than $ 77,510 CAD per year. Very unlikely their Indian pension & other income is that much.

      2. No their multiple trips to India won’t affect their 10 year residency in Canada.

  36. Margaret

    If I left Canada at 20 years old am I entitled to any retirement benefits if I return before I turn 65? I worked from the time I was 16 years – 20 years old in Canada, but have spent the last 39 years working in the USA.
    Thank you for any information you can provide.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Margaret – If you worked In Canada after you turned age 18, you will be eligible for a CPP retirement pension regardless if/when you return to Canada. The amount will be quite small though, with the maximum being approx. $28.50 for each year of maximum earnings. You may also be eligible for an OAS pension under the Canada/USA agreement, but the amount is only approx. $14.50 for every full year that you resided in Canada after age 18.

  37. Abraham

    I receive military pension from a country ( India) that does not have social security agreements with Canada. Will that affect my OAS and GIS eligibility

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Abraham – Is it considered a taxable income? If so, it would likely affect your GIS regardless whether there was a social security agreement or not. It would only ever affect your OAS if your net taxable income were above the “clawback” threshold (approx. $74,000 yearly.

    • TJ

      India & Canada, now have a Social Security agreement since August, 2015.

  38. val

    Hi Doug. my mother-in-law live in Canada for over 30 years . but never work. she is receiving old age pension and her husband supplement from is cpp he pass way couple months ago now she want to go live outside Canada is she entitle to old age pension and her husband supplement de same as if live in Canada. thank you

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Val – Yes, as long as your MIL has lived in Canada for at least 20 years after age 18, her OAS is payable outside Canada forever. If she is receiving the GIS also though, it will end once she has been gone for 6 months. If the pension that you’re calling her “husband’s supplement” is the CPP survivor’s pension, it is payable outside Canada forever.

  39. Jins Thomas

    Hi Doug,

    My father is 74 years old. He came to Canada 8 years ago (at the age of 66) through Family Class Sponsorship Visa from India. He is currently a Canadian Citizen. He has no source of income as he never worked in Canada. I am just wondering if he is eligible to apply for OAS under the provision of the international social security agreement between Canada and India although he has not yet resided here for 10 years.

    Please advise.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Jins – Yes, your father may be eligible for OAS under the Canada/India agreement, but the amount of his OAS would be 8/40ths of the full amount, based only on his actual years of residence in Canada.

      • TJ

        Will his father be eligible for GIS as well?

        Or just OAS?

        I mean if you sponsor your parents for 10 years they can’t take social assistance. Will GIS be considered as social assistance? Hence they have to wait 10 years for the sponsorship agreement to get over before receiving the GIS?

        • Doug Runchey

          He won’t be eligible for GIS until he has completed 10 years of residence in Canada.

  40. Bee


    I am engaged to a man in the US. He is 65 years old and collects US SS. If he immigrates to Canada under Spousal Sponsorship and has permanent residency will he be able to claim CPP even though he has never worked in Canada? He still works, so he can make some contributions before 70. In addition, if he dies before me, will I be able to claim survivors benefits?


    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Bee – Yes, if he works in Canada and contributes to CPP, he will qualify for a CPP retirement pension. If he contributes at the max amount for each of the next 5 years, his monthly CPP at age 70 would be approx. $243. If he has at least 5 years of contributions to the US social security, that should mean that you would qualify for death/survivor benefits under CPP, and you may also be eligible for survivor benefits under his US social security.

  41. Binu

    Hi Doug,

    Very nice article.

    Whether this treaty exempts a Canadian Permanent resident from making mandatory CPP contribution?
    I moved to Canada on work permit and was not making CPP contribution but was making contribution to Indian pension plan. I got my permanent residency status 6 months back. But I am still not making CPP contribution. When I applied for a Mortgage, Mortgage lender is questioning my decision not to contribute to CPP. My understanding was that, under this treaty, I can contribute to any of the participating country.
    Would you be able to comment on this?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Binu – I’m not an expert on the contributory aspect of any of the agreements, but I think there’s very limited options depending possibly on what your status is in Canada and what type of employer you’re working for. Revenue Canada would be the authority on this issue.

      • Binu

        Thank you for your input Doug!

  42. Eleanor Wong

    This is a great website. I am late applying for OAP and am living in Asia where I worked as an ESL teacher.
    So to be brief, born in Montreal 1949, Canadian parents, lived in Canada almost full time until 2000, when I went to work in Asia as a teacher.

    I am within my time limite barely, and am telling the government that I worked on and off after 2000 in Asia, though went back to Canada for a couple of years in that time frame.

    I am sure I can get OAP and am applying through the Consulate.

    What makes me wonder is that for four years roughly, on and off, I lived in UK to see my grandparents there. My benefits would be nil, but does this complicate things?

    Should I tell them, they must know from the passports?

    Also 2004 March – 2005 August, January 2007 – June 2008 back in Canada, so about 15 years out of Canada in all…..

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Eleanor – Your OAS isn’t affected by any time that you lived in the UK, but all that you really have to tell them about is periods when you were residing in Canada. You’ll have to provide proof of dates of entry/exit from Canada though, because they don’t have access to any records themselves. You are definitely eligible for OAS, although possibly not the full basic amount of 40/40ths.

      • Terry Bear

        What proof of residency would she need. What is acceptable as proof?

  43. michael moore

    Here’s an Off-The-Wall question for you…I worked 28 quarters in the US – the balance of my working life has been in Canada (I’m 74). I collect OAS/CPP….just recently, through the international agreements in place I was able to qualify for supplementary SocSec pension US based on my work history there. In the process of my investigations I was able to determine that my contributions to US Soc Sec totalled to $34,000.00 (USD) plus my employer contributed the same…..this was as of 2009 when I returned to Canada. Thus, $68,000.00 has been sitting in the US SocSec pool for almost 10 years……I am grateful that I qualified for the US SocSec benefits, but fact is, $68,000.00 + interest over 9 years, was rightfully mine – partial benefits for my working period in the US.
    However, my question is, should there not be some treaty or process that would allow me to reclaim the substantial contributions I made to Unemployment Insurance + Medicare, neither of which, as a TN worker I was allowed to avail myself of? It seems only fair, that once again, those monies formed a part of the benefits package borne by myself and my employer(s)……do you have any knowledge of this situation? Any guidance would be helpful.
    I want you to know that it was through your site here, and the various chats online, that I even discovered the existence of these international treaties……it took a year of processing but it finally paid off!

    Thank you Doug! It’s a very humane thing you are doing for us old guys……Bravo!

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Michael – I’m sorry, but my expertise is really limited to the CPP and OAS benefits, and understanding how these international social security agreements affects someone’s eligibility for benefits from those two programs. Glad to hear that my article helped you to become aware of your US benefits.

      • michael moore

        Thanks anyway Doug – was a long shot – someone must know – but don’t ever ask the government – they’ll just play dumb…..

  44. Sheila

    Hi Doug,

    I have read all your responses, it is very nice of you to answer all the questions here.

    I have a question too:-)

    Long story short, my mother is 73 years old and she has been spent last 15 years in Canada as a permanent resident. She has worked in China before 2002 and do receive pension from China.

    I am planing to apply OSA for her and wonder whether the fact of she is receiving pension from China will affect her application.

    Thanks a lot!

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Sheila – No, whether or not your mother is receiving a pension from China would not affect her eligibility or entitlement under OAS, although it may reduce or eliminate any GIS entitlement.

  45. Anca

    Which countries can I work in abroad and voluntarily pay CPP?
    As well as the 20 yrs a person must have lived in Canada in order to get OAS abroad that is 20 years as an adult or teenage years included?

  46. Susan Swan

    Hi Doug – thank you for this information. In my situation I am a nurse and have a total of about 7 years of working in the US on TN visa’s. So far I have worked about 25 years (post college) in Canada. So when it comes time to retire I will need to apply for both social security, CPP and OAP, and receive these benefits individually? Is this correct? Thanks

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Susan – Yes, you would have to apply separately for all three of those benefits.

  47. Todd

    Hi Doug,

    I lived and worked in Canada 2014-2018, 4 year working visa.
    I’ve since left Canada back to Australia (Australian citizen), is there any way to access or move my PPE to my Australian fund? I won’t be returning to live or work in Canada again.


    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Todd – I’m not sure what PPE stands for, but if you mean CPP, the answer is “No”. You will however be eligible for a CPP retirement pension when you turn 65 (or as early as age 60 at a reduced rate), although the amount of that pension would only be about $120 per month (if your earnings were at the maximum level each year).

  48. Don B

    HI Doug
    Thanks for the clarity on these issues. My wife and I live in the US and met the 40+ quarters of employment here. We left Canada in 1990 having competed 13 and 18 years (respectively) of Canadian employment after 18 years of age.

    I realize that CPP and OAS will be prorated to the time working in Canada. But will this reduced amount also grow if we defer the CPP claim? How would we calculate our estimated benefits without filing a claim? Do you have any relevant estimating links?

    BTW, Canada freezes your SIN after 5 years of “inactivity”. So CPP/OAS help lines cant help until you fill in the “unfreezing” SIN forms and they get approved. FYI

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Don – For every year that you defer your CPP between age 60 and 65, it will reduce by approx. 2.5% because your earnings will be averaged over one additional year, but it will increase by approx. 7.2% because you’re one year older. I refer to this situation as receiving a larger slice of a smaller pie, but you do get more pie if you defer. If you defer between age 65 and 70, it doesn’t reduce any further due to zero earnings and it increases by 8.4% for every year due to being one year older.
      If you know how your earnings compared to the YMPE for each year, you could just count your total number of years of maximum earnings equivalents, divide by 39 and multiply that by the current maximum pension. For example, if all of your 13 years of earnings were at the YMPE, your estimate CPP retirement pension at age 65 would be 13/39 x $1,134.17 = $378.06 monthly in 2018 dollars.

  49. Don B

    HI Doug

    Many thanks. Unfortunately, the early 20’s were summer jobs and lean first career salary. So probably not maxxing out. But I get the picture from your example. Maybe I’ll get enough when the time comes to buy a Leafs ticket! Hopefully Service Canada can run some estimates once our SIN’s are reactivated. Thanks again. Cheers.

  50. Pierre Tanguay

    And what about born Canadians who worked some 35 years in Canada and expatriate themselves abroad?
    I mean; living out of Canada for more than 6 months…
    I’d understand that they’d lose part of their Federal old age pension but not all?

    Thank you if you reply.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Pierre – If you have resided in Canada for at least 20 years after turning age 18, you are eligible for a partial OAS regardless where you live even without an agreement. If you have resided in Canada for less than 20 years after age 18, you wouldn’t be eligible for OAS if you’re living outside of Canada unless you qualify under one of the many international agreements.

  51. Peggy M.

    Dear Mr. Runchey,
    Thank you for all these great information, it is very useful.
    I was wondering if you could please provide me guidance with my question. My husband and I are Canadian citizens, he has been working for 38 years (he is 54) and me 18 years (I am 42) for the same company and had other previous jobs since we were 16. Our company is now transferring us to the US. Could you please provide me any advice on how to be prepare to make sure our pensions don’t get affected? Also, could you refer me to any experts in this field to make sure we don’t miss anything out?

    Your response is greatly appreciated.


    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Peggy – Assuming that you would be moving to the USA and not just commuting daily, your OAS entitlement will be reduced if it means that you will have less than 40 years of residence in Canada after age 18 and prior to receiving OAS. Unless you are able to continue to make CPP contributions on your US earnings (you’d have to talk to Revenue Canada about that), both of your CPP amounts will be less than if you had continued working in Canada (your husband’s CPP may not be reduced much if most of his 36 years of current earnings are at/near max.
      The good news may be that you both might qualify for some US benefits, but my expertise does not extend to those US benefits.

    • Peggy M.

      Thank you so much Mr. Runchey, you are great! we really appreciate your response.

  52. Paul Franko

    I was born in Canada and lived there to I was 37. 5 years old. I moved to the US and am currently 60 years old. Am I eligible to receive partial Canada Pension and Old Age Security at age 65. I paid into it for 13 years. I own a house in Canada and spend the summers there and will spend at least 4 months there when I retire. Thank you so much for you help on this.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Paul – There is no minimum contributions eligibility criteria for CPP retirement pensions, so you are definitely eligible for CPP at age 65 (or even as early as age 60 at a reduced rate). In order to be eligible to OAS while living outside Canada, you need at least 20 years of residence in Canada, after age 18. It looks like you are just short of that, but you may qualify under the Canada/USA social security agreement.

      See this weblink for more details:

  53. Mose

    Hi Doug,
    is it true that we need to exhaust first the RRSP before we can be eligible for GIS supplement?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Mose – No, you don’t need to exhaust any RRSP or any other savings/assets before you can be eligible for GIS. What is true is that RRSP withdrawals count as income for GIS purposes, so if you are depleting them that could reduce or eliminate the amount of your entitlement to GIS.

  54. david

    I have a question for the group on WEP and Totalization on Canada and US and UK.

    I 39 and have been working in the US with contributions to SS since 2002/3 and will continue to work here till I hit that 30 years requirement under WEP. Prior to 2002, I was in Canada and grew up there since age 8 and worked and contributed to CPP for 4-5 years mainly from part time at CIBC while at college at UWO. After graduation I moved to NYC.

    In 2009-2010 I transferred and worked in the UK for a full year (Oct to Oct on a work visa). I contributed to their National Insurance for their UK fiscal year 2009/10 and 2010/11 (as their fiscal year end is April). I have subsequently relocated back to US and have been here since working for the same parent company. I have continued to pay into UK Income tax and NI for 3 years due to some company stock options that I received while in UK and eventually liquidated over the past 3 years but that earnings is treated as UK earnings and not US earnings(while I still pay my US taxes etc and I get double withheld from UK and US). I had 5 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions in the UK even though I resided in UK only for a year over two fiscal tax years and would normally need 10 qualifying years to be eligible for a State Pension from the UK. I can however “buy” up to 10 missing years at a reasonable rate.

    I’m considering buying up UK basic/minimum pension and pay what’s the equivalent of the remaining 3-4k GBP. But I would like to inquire around WEP and Totalization.

    1) My understanding is that as long as I have contributed to SS for 30 years +, there will be no reduction of my US pension if I was to receive a UK pension and CPP. and there’s no reduction also on my UK NI or CPP.
    2) Totalization does not apply since it’s really for people who does not qualify for full pension in one country or another and instead totals up to “credits” to maximize their pension payout in one of the countries but not both.
    3) Since US SS only looks at your highest income over 30 years, does it make sense for me to relocate back to Canada after full 30 years of payment to build up Canadian Pension CPP even though they dont have a minimum contribution requirement etc other than 1 year of contribution)

    Let me know if this all makes sense. While I am trying to override the WEP rule but since I’ll be working and contributing for over 30 years, it shouldn’t impact my US SS benefit. Would it make sense to buy up the remaining 5 years under UK NI for qualification of basic coverage?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi David
      1) As long as all 30 of your years of SS contributions are considered as “substantial earnings”, I think you are correct.
      2) No, totalization never affects the amount of your pension from any country, it just allows you to meet any minimum qualifying criteria to receive a pension from either/both countries.
      3) Each year of maximum CPP contributions would increase your CPP at age 65 by approx. $30 monthly. I leave it to you to decide whether that’s a good investment or not.

  55. Rod

    I have always lived in Canada but my wife was from the U.S. I am eligible for a U.S. Social Security Survivor monthly benefit (no pension) which I can start as early as age 60.

    I realize the benefit would be taxable income. Would this amount lower the CPP I receive once collecting or factor into the maximum CPP monthly benefit?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Rod – No, receiving US SS survivor benefits will not affect your CPP benefits in any way.

  56. Rod

    Thank you Doug


    Will try to ask question as simple as possible. While not born in Canada, my wife became a Canadian citizen as a child. We married in Canada in 1985 (her age was 28) She had been working since a little before 18. We lived in Canada for three more years and then moved to USA for Approx 3 years. Moved back to Canada for approx 5 years. Then back to USA permanently in 1993, where we eventually became U.S. citizens. Is she eligible for Canadian OAS and if so would it effect her U. S. social security? I’ve tried to research this but seem to come up with conflicting answers. I’ve lived most my life in U. S so pretty sure I would qualify for much in Canada if anything. Thank You.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Campbell – If your wife resided in Canada for a total of at least 20 years after age 18, she will definitely qualify for a partial OAS. If not, she could be eligible under the Canada/USA social security agreement:

      You might also qualify for a partial OAS the agreement. The amount of the OAS is approx. $15.00 monthly for each year of residence in Canada after age 18 and prior to receiving OAS. Receipt of OAS does not affect US social security benefits.

      Your wife should likely also be eligible for a CPP retirement pension, but receipt of CPP may affect the amount of her US social security under the WEP.

  58. Dev

    I lived in Canada for 15 years, went to Asia for Two years, came back to Canada again and start living and working here here for the last one year. Turning 65 this year. Started getting CPP at the age of 60.

    When I went to Asia for two years. I kept my ties with canada including bank accounts, RRSP, TFSA etc and filled income tax return as a Canadian resident.

    My question is my stay in asia can be considered as a residence in Canada based in my ties with canada during the period of absence so that I start getting OAS in year 2020, If i move to Asia

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Dev – It’s very unlikely that those 2 years would count as Canadian residence, but what was the reason for your absence?

  59. John Nowak

    I immigrated from France in 1957 with my parents, I am now 78 years old, I have work in France from age 14 to 17. I have dual citizenship. My question is. Can I receive an old age pension from France since I worked only 3 years? I understand my employer in France has pass away since and no record of employment has been recorded/or destroyed since.

  60. dev

    I went to visit asia for four months but when I was there someone in the family fell sick and was diagnosed with malignant cancer, I have to be there. i filled my income tax return as a canadian resident though

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Dev – I still don’t think the 2-year period will count as Canadian residence, but you can check with Service Canada to see what they think.

  61. Mely

    Hi Doug, my mom will have 20 year as a legal citizen in Canada. She is from Guatemala. I called to the immigration retirement dep. somebody told me she can get her old age retirement even when is not an agreement country, but they will subtract the 30% of tax. She will be 82 in June.
    I did read on the retirement page but didn’t confirm anything. Can you please tell me how it works? Thanks

  62. Veronica

    Hi Doug,

    I am a Canadian I have lived and worked in Canada from age 16 to age 50. My husband is American and he has lived and worked here for the past 8 years. We are considering relocating to the USA. I have been contributing at the max rate for about 15 years now. My husband below the max rate. If we move will he be entitle to any CPP or OAS? I believe from what I have read in your column I will be entitle to my CPP at 65 when I am ready to collect. Do you know how long I have to contibute to SS to collec there?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Veronica – Your husband will definitely be eligible to a CPP pension, and he may also be eligible for OAS under the Canada/USA agreement. You will definitely be eligible for both CPP and OAS. I believe that you require 10 years (40 quarters) to qualify for U.S. social security, but again you could possibly qualify under the Canada/USA agreement if you have less than 10 full years.

  63. Gisela Roesel

    Is it possible to cancel my CPP for different reasons

    • Doug Runchey

      HI Gisela – You can only cancel a CPP benefit if you make the request in writing and within 6 months of receiving your first payment. You must also reoay any monies received from CPP.

  64. Ray

    How does social security disability from the US work with ODSP and CPP? Our relative is moving up to be with us. They were disabled from birth and receive SSDI. Can they be on both (for the medical part of ODSP). How would this work?

  65. Ion Pan

    Hi Doug! Here is a more complicated situation:
    I worked in Romania for 10 years, I emigrated to USA in 1990 and worked till 1995. In 1994 I emigrated from USA to Canada and worked one year In Canada (1995). Starting 1996 till now 2019 I worked in USA by commuting. I plan to retire in 2022 at 67.
    Doing a calculation:
    1. I lived and worked in Romania for 10 years
    2. I lived in Canada for 28 years but worked only one year
    3. I lived in USA for 4 years and worked for 31 years
    How my pension is going to get calculated?
    Ro pension+CPP (one year) + Can Old Security + USA SS?
    I’ll be excepted by WEP in USA but I’m wondering if the Can Old Security is = 28/40 * maximum?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Ion – If you can establish that you were residing in Canada continuously since 1994, then Yes your OAS should be approx. 28/40ths of the OAS maximum (depending on whether you entered Canada before or after your birthdate in 1994).

  66. Gordon

    I immigrated to Canada in 1996 and got my new degree in 2000. I did not have any opportunity working in Canada. Starting from 2001, I worked in US until the last year by TN visa. Now I have moved back to Canada. By the coming September, I will reach the retirement age. My question is could I get my retirement benefits from US social security to support my life in Canada?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Gordon – I’m not an expert on U.S. social security, but I believe that you will be eligible for some if you contributed for at least 10 years.

  67. Gordon

    Thank you very much, Doug.
    Yes, both my empler and myself payed a big ammount of Social Security Tax in the last niteen years. The only thing bothered me was that I did not have any opporunity working in Canada and paying anything to Canada. So i was worried if the Social Security Agreement between US and Canada works for me. By my undersdanding, the agreement is to help for meet minium credit. Because I have more credit more than minimum. So it supposed working for me.

  68. Gordon

    Thank you very much.
    Yes, both my empler and myself payed a big ammount of Social Security Tax in the last niteen years. The only thing bothered me was that I did not have any opporunity working in Canada and paying anything to Canada. So i was worried if the Social Security Agreement between US and Canada works for me. By my undersdanding, the agreement is to help for meet minium credit. Because I have more credit more than minimum. So it supposed working for me.

  69. tulsi

    hello i am Canadian citizen if i married us citizen so my husband is eligible to get pension in Canada? when and how much? what is he get benefit in Canada? how can i calculate? if i want to know where should i have to go? thx so much if i get this all information

  70. James

    Hi Doug,

    I have a friend who emigrated fron Hong Kong to Canada in1989 with her husband and young son. They bought a house in Toronto and eventually became Canadian citizens.

    Due to an economic downturn and pressures they were uncertain they could afford living in Toronto, as the husband had difficulty finding employment. Since their son was still young, to play it safe, she and her son went back to Hong Kong so that her son could attend school there.

    Her husband remained in Toronto and continued to look for employment. He eventually put their house in Toronto on the market and sold it. He remained in Toronto and she and her son in Hong Kong. Years later they were separated and divorced.

    My question pertains to the definition of “legal resident” in applying for OAS. Did her legal residency end when she went back to Hong Kong with her son, or when they sold their house in Toronto, or when she separated from her husband, or when they were divorced. This is important in order that she can accurately calculate whether she meets the required 10 years of “legal residence in Canada in order to collect OAS and potentially GIS.

    Other questions I have are did Canada have a Social Security agreement with Hong Kong under British rule (pre-1997), would it be applicable, and help her to meet the required 10 years of legal residence in Canada to collect OAS?

    Finally, I know that mainland China has a Social Security agreement with Canada. If applicable would this agreement help make her eligible for OAS sooner becayse of the 10 year rule, m as Hong Kong is now part of China (two systems one country)?

    Thank you

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi James – Under the OAS legislation, the definition of residing in Canada is “making your home in Canada and ordinarily living there”, so in my opinion she ceased to be a resident of Canada when she went back to Hong Kong. I don’t know all of the specifics of the agreement with China, but I’m pretty sure that won’t help her. There has never been an agreement with Hong Kong, either under British rule or other.

  71. Pedro

    Hi Doug,

    Thank you so much for the wealth of invaluable information you dispense in your articles and comments! Hope you can help elucidate my mother’s case.

    My mother moved to Canada in 1997. After 2013 she started splitting her time between Canada and Brazil, to take care of her aging mother suffering from dementia, at the same time that she applied to receive her Allowance. In the meantime, my father stayed in Canada, living in their family home, receiving his OAS and GIS.

    When she turned 65 in 2017, Service Canada wrote stating they had overpaid her Allowance by about $5,000 for the last 10 months, as they deemed she had been staying outside of Canada for more than 6 months per year and ceased to be considered a Canadian resident in 2016.

    After several months of appeals to Service Canada where we presented the whole situation, they maintained their position and further calculated that my mother had only resided in Canada for 13 out of the necessary 20 years to received the OAS benefits out of country. I have gone through the Canada-Brazil pension treaty in detail and it states:

    “For the purpose of determining eligibility for a benefit under the Old Age Security Act of Canada, a period of coverage under the legislation of Brazil shall be considered as a period of residence in Canada;”

    Based on this, assuming she has contributed to her pension in Brazil for at least 7 years that don’t overlap with her time of residence in Canada, shouldn’t she be eligible to receive her OAS benefits, including the OAS Allowance that is payable from age 60 to 64, even if she was staying a slight majority of time out of the country?

    Thank you for your help!


    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Pedro – You’re right that she might be able to use the Canada/Brazil agreement in order to qualify for a partial 13/40ths OAS at age 65 or later, but the Allowance if/when a person is considered to be residing in Canada, regardless how many prior years of residence someone has.

  72. Christi

    Hi Doug,

    I qualify for both CPP and SS (years working and residence). I worked in Canada from 1974-2004 and US from 2005 – currently

    Can I collect both or does the ‘windfall’ tax thing, grab funds?

    If so, is it better to collect CPP and have SS deducted (if Canada does this), or have CPP deducted from SS. I recognize I can collect OAS either way and I also have a state pension that I took early retirement for (teaching in US), started receiving last year cause I needed it.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Christi – I’m not an expert on the US SS, but it’s my understanding that if you have less than 30 years of substantial earnings with the US SS, and if you’re receiving CPP or some other pensions, then the WEP (windfall elimination provision) will apply and your US SS will be partially reduced by your CPP. You will still receive both benefits, but you don’t receive as much US SS as you otherwise would.

      • Christi

        Thank you Doug!

        You confirmed my suspicions, and fears.


  73. Eric Schuck

    Hi Doug

    Canadian citizen resident of of the US since 1994. Can I apply for my Canadian Social Insurance benefits at age 60 and defer my US Social Security to my full retirement age of 66 years 8 months? Do you see any benefits in doing this?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Eric – I don’t know the rules about what age you can/must apply for your US social security, but I do know that whatever you do regarding your US SS doesn’t affect either your CPP or your OAS. Therefore you can apply for your CPP as early as age 60 (at a reduced rate), but the earliest you can apply for OAS is age 65.

  74. Mark Piron

    Dear Doug,

    Thank you for all your wisdom on this very important subject. I am wondering about the Canada / UK Social Security agreement. I’m 41 and most of my working life (since 2001) I’ve been living and working in Canada.

    I am considering moving back imminently but I am a little worried I’ll lose all OAS entitlement if my residency here is under 20 years?

    Does Service Canada have an agreement that National Insurance contributions (payed in the the UK) can count towards their 20 year requirement or must one have been living and working in Canada for 20 years in order to receive OAS overseas?

    If so, do you know the exact definition/parameters they use to determine when the 20 years begins? For example, my first year in Canada I was on a student visa but have lived and worked in Canada since then. I am concerned that they would only count my 20 years residency beginning from the time I was awarded Permanent Resident status?

    I also opted to stop paying National Insurance payments in the UK so essentially I am trying to ensure that if I move back I will get an old age state pension from either one or both countries. Any advice and knowledge would be much appreciated!

    Thank you,


    • Mark Piron

      To clarify – I’m considering moving back to the UK imminently.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Mark – I won’t claim to be an expert on the Canada/UK agreement, but it’s my understanding that it cannot be used to qualify for OAS benefits in the way that most other agreements allow. That means that in order to qualify for 20/40ths OAS (approx. $300 per month starting at age 65), you will have to have 20 complete years of residence in Canada.

      Unfortunately, the definition of residence in Canada is a little vague, and the period when you were here as on a student visa may or may not count. Generally speaking, if you never left Canada since you first arrived here as a student, that time will count as residence; whereas if you returned to the UK during school holidays etc and/or returned to the UK to apply for permanent residence in Canada that time won’t count as residence.

      I wish that I could give you something more definitive, but it is a grey area.

      • Mark Piron

        Thanks so much Doug! Yes, it does seem vague. Have you heard of them counting pre-Permanent Residence time? It makes sense that they would deduct any time away from Canada during this period. I was told they consider “the time you considered Canada your home” – so presumably I would have to make a case using whatever documentation I have.

        Thank you,


  75. Joseph H

    Dear Doug,
    Great and useful posts, thank you.
    My case is as follows: worked in Romania for ten years between 1990 and 2000, resided and worked in Canada for six years(all taxes and dues paid), 2001 to 2006, then moved back to Romania to be with my aging parents, where I have been residing and working since.
    Question 1: As the international social security agreement with Romania is effective as of Nov 01 2011, does it apply retroactively, considering(and counting)those previous six Canadian years above mentioned? This is for totalization purpose in either country I would decide to apply by age 65. It might be Romania.
    Question 2: Which Canadian retirement benefits would I be entitled to if summing the three contributory segments?

    Thank you,
    Joseph H

  76. David C

    Thank you for this valuable service Doug. When I left Canada almost 20 years ago, I applied for SSA benefits after accumulating enough credits. The SSA reduced my benefit by more than 50% because I had earlier applied for and starting receiving benefits for my working years in Canada. My wife (a Canadian citizen) is now applying for SSA benefits and is also eligible for benefits from Canada. Although she lived and worked in Canada for 11 years, I understand she may qualify for CPP, and also OAS benefits under the Social Security Agreement between Canada and the U.S. I understand that her SSA benefits would likely be reduced by any CPP benefit she is awarded, however, OAS is NOT a benefit determined by Canadian sourced earnings, and therefor am wondering if her application for SSA benefits might also be reduced if she receives an OAS from Canada.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi David – Yes, under their Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), if you have less than 30 years of substantial earnings in the USA, any SSA benefits will be reduced partially for any CPP benefits that you receive, but they will not reduce the SSA benefits to offset OAS benefits, as you suspected.

  77. Ashley Whitehead

    Hi Doug,

    I was born in the UK and worked there from 1991 to 2006 when I emmigrated to Canada where I have resided and worked ever since.

    I believe I qualify fro both CPP and a UK state pension, will I be able to claim the full amount of both?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Ashley – I can’t comment on the UK state pension, but you need 39 years of maximum CPP earnings/contributions in order to receive a maximum CPP pension.

  78. Tony Loring

    Ho Doug,

    I am a Cdn elderly citizen – born & bred here. I now find it best to stay in a much warmer climate. I am also expecting to marry a US woman who has never worked in Canada. The question is: will she be elegible for a widow’s pension or other benefits from my contribution in Canada? We shall live permanently in the USA. She will have a small pension from Soc Sec USA from work there.


    salubrious to

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Tony – Yes, if you get married she will be eligible for your CPP survivor’s pension.

  79. Serge

    Hello Doug, I understand living in Canada before PR status is a grey area.

    I had several longer trips here and while on a visa-waiver got married here, got bank accounts etc to establish ties. I then went back home to close some affairs to a month later come back still as visitor status and file a inland spousal request that a year later got me a pr.

    I have the documents as for getting citizenship time before PR counts as 50% residency. I hoped you know if this is the same for OAS. Any clearing up is welcome!

    Thank you,

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Serge – There’s definitely no 50% rule for OAS. First of all you would have to determine when in your mind you decided to make Canada your permanent home, and then try to provide the documentation that will support that date/decision.

  80. Shelley Briggs

    Thanks for the informative information and replies to the comments.

    I am similar to many of the previous comments and would appreciate any advise you can give. I am currently 54 and just returned to Canada after living in the UK for 13 years. My return is both for my ageing parents and my own health issues. I have left employment with a small VR package, having been off sick for the better part of 3 years (but still contributing to the UK national insurance). If I applied for CPP disability benefits would my contributions to the UK meet the criteria for 4 years of 6? And if so how do you go about claiming the UK contributions (I am clear on the medical aspect).

    And will I be eligible for apply UK years of contributions for CPP at age 60- so far I have about 13 years residency in Canada post 18, a couple of years travelling, and 14 years residency in the UK with 5.5 years of potential Canadian residency until 60.


  81. Pamela Gorham

    I am on SSDI in the US but i would like to live out my days in Canada. Will my SSDI stop? Decrease?? Increase???

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Pamela – Sorry, but I don’t know anything about the US SSDI benefits.

  82. Fiona

    Hi Doug,

    I am helping my father apply for his OAS and CPP disability and am having some trouble with understanding eligibility. Please help.
    My family and I immigrated to Canada in 1986. My father contributed to CPP from 1987 till 2009, then he went back to Taiwan in 2009 and is currently retired there in his hometown.
    He has applied for Taiwan’s old-age pension. My concern, does he qualify for OAS and CPP? If I help him apply for it, does he meet the minimum requirements?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Fiona – I think/hope you mean CPP retirement pension and not CPP disability? If that’s what you mean, then “Yes” he should meet the requirements for partial OAS and CPP retirement.

  83. Gwen Walker

    I came to Canada when i was 26, will be 65 in May 2020. I only have 7 years in the UK and will not be elligable for UK pension. How much will i get in Canada and should i wait another couple of years.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Gwen – Because you will have 38 complete years of residence in Canada when you reach age 65, you will receive 38/40ths of the full basic OAS. The full basic OAS is currently $613.53 monthly, so you will receive $582.85. The amount of any CPP will depend on how much you have earned/contributed to CPP, with the maximum being $1,175.83 monthly at age 65. If you can afford to wait, these amounts will both grow, the OAS by 0.6% for every month of delay and the CPP by 0.7% per month.

  84. Nina

    I recently applied for my dads cpp & oas. I have a question… he plans on living his retired years in his hometown in Croatia. How long does it take for the international direct deposit information to process if he were to change from his current direct deposit information… temporarily he wants to recieve his pension here in Canada… but I’m just curious for the future of recieving cpp & oas internationally from Canada, and the process…

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Nina – I suggest you contact Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914.

  85. Paz Abrigo

    Hi Doug, your help will be greatly appreciated. I am 15 years old, I live in Courtice, Ontario. My question is about the Survivor Pension. My dad died and apparently I am eligible to apply for this pension here in Canada and in my dad’s country, Chile. My dad worked in Chile for a short time when young before coming to Canada like 50 years ago. Both pensions works in a similar way. To be a student until I am 24. Can I get both survivor pensions? (My mom divorced my dad, at least for the survivor pension in Chile she is not eligible). If I apply for the pension in Chile through Service Canada (Chile and Canada have an agreement) how this works? If I apply myself in Chile, among some documentation they request, I have to get the Chilean nationality, which I am not that interested in obtaining it. To get this, I need also to get a Chilean ID, similar to our SIN, whose number is used for almost everything in Chile. So, just to start I would need to get these two things, through the Consulate of Chile in Toronto. If I apply for the survivor pension in Chile through Canada, would it be the same in terms of required documentation, meaning that I will have still to do the same in the Consulate mentioned? I would like to avoid this. Assuming I do the application through Canada, how the payment of the benefit from Chile works? I would not be worried about the payment from here. The institution in Chile sends money to Canada and Canada pays me? Doug, I am assuming certain things as you can see, without knowing for example if I can receive both pensions. If only one Pension was allowed, how or who determines which one? If I stay with the Chilean Pension, because the monthly payment is more than the pension here in Canada, does Canada intrude into this, except for the tax issue? Doug, at this moment, I do not know what to do. I asked over the phone a few questions about this in Ottawa (International Division Human Resources and Development) and they simply did not a clue about the case. They did tell me about some application to fill out, but it is not enough. As of right now, unfortunately, I can not go personally to the office of Service Canada for the virus, and obviously nobody knows when this will end. I am just trying to know things in advance for the day I can start filling out the paperwork, if you know what I mean. I guess the only person can help me out is a person like you, who I was lucky to find browsing the web. I do not know if possible, but I would love to know you advise and recommendation. It is one time opportunity which would give me the chance to pursue what I want, going to a medical school.
    Doug, thanks again and take care. No question the virus is a killer.

    Best Regards.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Paz

      I know little to nothing about the benefits payable from Chile, other than what is available from this website:

      For the CPP survivor benefit, since you’re under age 18 it would normally be your mom who would apply for and receive the benefit on your behalf. Once you turn age 18, you could apply on your own behalf, assuming that you’re still attending school fulltime at that time.

      Best of luck!

  86. Charles Neilson

    Doug. I was born in Canada, moved to europe at a young age, and had first work experience in Italy, 3 1/2 years from 1981 to 1984. Then moved back to canada and worked here ever since. Can i transfer the Italy work years to Canada so it counts to my QPP (ie Quebec resident)? If not do i have other options?

  87. Anthony

    Hello Doug,
    I have been reading through the various posts and replies but just could not find an appropriate answer for my particular situation.

    I am a permanent resident of Canada having migrated with my family in 2003 from Trinidad where I lived for 49 years. I contributed to the social security program in Trinidad for 24 years including the 3 years between 2003 and 2006 when I resided in Canada but was in the employ of a Trinidadian company. Between 2006 and 2009 I worked for a Canadian company on a 28 day rotation cycle into Algeria. Between 2010 and mid 2017 my employment required long absences from Canada in the UAE and Switzerland. I maintained my PR status continuously from first issue in 1997, paid taxes to CRA each year from 2003 to 2017 and have filed returns for 2018 and 2019. I am in receipt of a CPP of $ 1716 and applied for OAS, GIS and the Allowance for Spouse in January 2019. I was informed by Service Canada in February 2019 that I was not eligible for OAS since I did not meet the 10 year minimum requirement of residence in Canada. My case was sent to International Operations for further assessment.

    How can I own my home since 2004, have economic, residential and family ties in Canada, be required and have dutifully filed and paid income taxes in Canada as well as maintained my Permanent Residence Status continuously since 2003 and yet not meet this 10 year minimum requirement. Is this an error by Service Canada or are there different calculations for determining duration of residence for different circumstances.

    Assuming that International Operations does credit me those periods of work and/or contribution in those other countries, how will the OAS, GIS and Allowance for Spouse be affected if I am in receipt of a non taxable benefit from any of those countries that are not paid into a Canadian banking institution. The combined annual income for my spouse and I are below the thresholds for OAS, GIS and the Allowance.


    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Anthony – For OAS purposes, residence in Canada is defined as “making your home in Canada and ordinarily living in Canada”. Did you maintain a permanent home in Canada during all/any of your work absences? Where was your family living during these work absences? Did they travel with you or did they remain “at home” in Canada?

      • Anthony

        Hello Doug, thanks for your reply. Yes I maintained a permanent home in Canada from 2004 to the present continuously at the same location. I rented for one year between 2003 and 2004. My overseas assignments were single status so neither my wife nor any of my family relocated with me. I did not own any home in the foreign countries where I worked- I only rented or was housed on the operating camps. My accounts and investments remained in Canada all the time and I remitted money for my family’s living expenses monthly. It is because of all these characteristics my tax accountant concluded that I have economic, family and residential ties in Canada inspite of my work location and am therefore considered resident for tax purposes. In addition these characteristics also allowed me to maintain my PR status over the years.

        • Doug Runchey

          Hi Anthony – Based on this information, I think you should be appealing their decision. Did they tell you in the denial letter how many years (and which period(s) they were accepting as being resident in Canada)?

          • Anthony

            Good morning Doug,
            Service Canada offered no explanation in the letter except to say, quote ” the information on your file shows that you have lived in Canada for only less than 10 years since your 18th birthday. Therefore, you do not meet the residency requirements for this benefit” end quote.
            There is no information In the letter advising proceedure for lodging an appeal. I would appreciate if you can provide any information that could help in this regard including whether it is adviseable to take representation.
            My case file is with the office of International Operations. Incredibly, I received forms from that office which requires me to reapply for GIS and update my information for OAS for 2018 and 2019. As far as I can determine, all that information and supporting documents were already provided at the time of application which I did in person at the Service Canada office in Kitchener ON.

  88. Azar Awan

    I am a Canadian citizen who lived and worked in the USA from 1980-2000 (20 years) and from then fom then on lived, studied and worked in Canada ( 2001-2020 ..another 20 years). I called the Social Security administration in the USA to confirm my 40 credits. My question is this ==> Would I be able to get the full OAS from Canada (based on the 40 years in residence, even though half the time was spent in USA?). Thanks!

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Azar – The amount of your OAS is based solely on how many years you resided in Canada, so you would receive a partial OAS pension of 20/40ths.

  89. Joe

    Hi Doug. Question about the calculation methodology of this. I lived in Canada for 15 years in my OAS eligibility period, then I moved to the US and worked there for 10 more years before moving abroad. I understand that I can receive OAS payments because of the agreement there. However my question is: what will I get paid?

    If the OAS max is $600 (just an example), will I receive 25/40*600 or 15/40*600?

    40 comes from my understanding you need to have 40 years of residence to get the OAS max.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Joe – The agreement allows you to meet the 20-year requirement for payment of OAS outside Canada, but the amount of your OAS is based on residence in Canada only, so it’s 15/40ths of $600 = $225 monthly.

  90. SKK

    I am Indian National worked for about 32 years in a Bank Which is an Indian Bank ,In Dubai .I have lived in Canada for nearly 12 years and am now 69 years old.The Bank is governed by UAE regulations as for UAE it is a foreign Bank.The Bank has no provision for Provident fund/ pension as i was recruited locally In Dubai.
    My question is will i be eligibille for old Age penision In Canada..I am a legal resident here.

    • Doug Runchey

      Yes, anyone who has resided in Canada for at least 10 years after age 18 is eligible for OAS if they are currently living in Canada and are age 65 or older.

  91. SKK

    Am i eligibill for OAS pension after staying for 12 years in Canada and am living with my wife who is 66 years old and i am 69 years old with low in come .
    I applied for pension and have received a letter from Service Canada stating reviewing eligiblity for old age pension security pension under the agreement on social Security between Canada and India.My query is that I worked in UAE in an Indian Bank IN Dubai for about 32 years and Bank in UAE is does not provide providen fund/ pension The Bank is based in India with Branches in Middle East and is governed by UAE regulations , Will i be eligible for old age pension

  92. SKK

    Am i eligibill for OAS pension after staying for 12 years in Canada and am living with my wife who is 66 years old and i am 69 years old with low in come .
    I applied for pension and have received a letter from Service Canada stating reviewing eligiblity for old age pension security pension under the agreement on social Security between Canada and India.My query is that I worked in UAE in an Indian Bank IN Dubai for about 32 years and Bank in UAE is does not provide providen fund/ pension The Bank is based in India with Branches in Middle East and is governed by UAE regulations , Will i be eligible for old age pension

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi SKK – Why are they reviewing your eligibility under the agreement? If you have resided in Canada for more than 10 years after age 18 and you’re living here now (and for the past year?) and you’re over age 65, you are eligible for OAS without needing to use the agreement. Your question is irrelevant if your facts are accurate.

  93. June Adair

    Hi, I was born in Canada, and worked there (most of it for the Canadian Gov’t) until I was 49, then teleworked in the US for an additional 7 years. I am a US Permanent resident and am married to a US Citizen. I am going to be 65 soon, and was just layed off from my job that I started working at here. I am short about 4 quarters for US SS. I am planning on claiming CPP, but was going to hold off on my OAS (as because I was still working, and have a Canadian Gov’t pension, I figured I made too much to claim OAS), but now that I’m layed off from my job in the US, not sure what I should do. I don’t know if I can use some of my Canadian benefits to offset the quarters I am missing (and still get SS), and if any of this will affect my Canadian CPP or OAS benefits. Also, not sure if I can get Medicare down here, as I don’t have enough quarters, although I am married to a US Citizen, who is over 65. I don’t want to lose any of the benefits that I am qualified for….

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi June – You should be able to qualify for US social security under the agreement, and it won’t reduce your CPP or OAS entitlement.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi June – Yes, you should be able to qualify for US SS benefits under the Canada/USA agreement, and doing so won’t have any impact on your CPP or OAS benefits from Canada. I can’t comment on your eligibility for Medicare.

  94. Peter lovett

    I emigrated to Canada at the age of 35 in 1980 I am 76 now and have been receiving a reduced pension since I was 65, I read I read on the Canada website that if you have lived in Canada for 40yrs ( which I have) that you are entitled to the full pension is this correct

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Peter – In order to receive the full OAS, you need to have 40 years of residence in Canada after age 18 and prior to receiving OAS. Once you start receiving a partial OAS, it does not increase with each year of additional residence.

  95. Puneet

    Hi Doug,

    Good to see that your responses !!

    I have a questions : My grandparents are Canadian Citizens . They were living in Canada for last 30 years and were receiving OAS and GIS. In Aug 2015, they went to India and came back in Aug 2020. They got OAS support between Aug 2015- Aug 2020. I have 2 questions :
    1) Are they eligible to receive GIS support from Aug 2020 after they returned to Canada ?? I have read somewhere that they have to stay in Canada for more than 6 months to be a resident and only residents can receive GIS.
    2) Are they eligible to received GIS support for the interim period between Aug 2015- Aug 2020 ?

    Thanks for your help.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Puneet –
      1) If they returned to Canada in August 2020 and are now intending that Canada will again be their permanent residence, they they could be eligible for GIS effective September 2020 (month following return to Canada as residents).
      2) No!

  96. Jennifer Walde

    Hi Doug,
    My husband is a Canadian citizen. Worked in the US in 2019,2020. We noticed that social security was deducted the last two years. Now due to the pandemic he is only working in Canada and will remain working here. We never lived the states but had those deductions taken off. Will he ever be able to get SS payments as a Canadian citizen? Or is that money just lost?


  97. Alexandra

    Good day,
    I am a American citizen and i worked all my life in USA and I am currently taking my Social security benefits I am 66 years old. 6 month ago i became a resident of Canada and i moved there. I will be eligible for the OAS since there is a agreement between USA and Canada. If yes i will have to choose between them. Thank you

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Alexandra – You wouldn’t be eligible for OAS until you have lived here for at least one full year, and then it would only be 1/40th of the full basic OAS, which is approx $15 per month. I would suggest that you wait until you have lived here for at least 10 years before you apply for OAS.

  98. Kristina

    Hello there,
    I have been living in Canada for about 30 years I have worked part-times for taking care my three children, that now are all working in their profession.
    I would like to retire back home. My country is not in the list of tax international agreement pension. What should I do?
    Is that would be a problem in receiving my CPQ and OAS pensions back in my birth country.
    How does the taxes work too. Do I have to file taxes to the Government of Canada? or divided by the two countries.
    I would really appreciate you help and your time in explain me how this thigs work, Am I eligible to collect my pension retire outside Canada.
    Thank you so much in advance.

  99. Eva Lam

    Hi Doug,
    I had worked in Hong Kong for several months more than 20+ years ago and contributed to their Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme (MFP) which is privately managed and not by the government. The MFP Authority is in charged with supervising the provision of MPF schemes. A lump sum of the contributions can only be withdrawn at age 65 and owing to my contribution amount was small, I think I will not bother to claim it. Since I left there, I have been working in Canada.
    Hong Kong has no international social security agreement with Canada. Will Service Canada contact that fund authority under any circumstances? Will it affect my eligibility for OAS and GIS?



    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Eva – No and No.

  100. John

    (correcting an earlier post)

    OAS with say 3 years living in canada and 20+ years working in the US seems clear (leaving out some details that could matter) at 3/40 * (full OAS) under the agreement. However GIS is quite unclear to me under this scenario. Suppose such a person generally chose to live in canada from 65-70 and has only a tiny OAS income in that period. Would they have nearly full GIS or would it be prorated ? If they had 10 years in Canada pre 65 I think its clear the GIS would be full. So if pro rated would it be 3/10 * (‘full gis’) or 3/40 * (‘full gis’) ?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi John – This is something that changed since I retired, so I’m not 100% sure about how it works. My understanding though is that they would receive 3/10ths of the full GIS while they just had 3 years residence in Canada and that fraction would increase with each y0ear of additional residence in Canada (the OAS would always remain at 3/40ths, but they would increase to 10/10ths of the full GIS after they had resided in Canada for 7 more years).

  101. Anne Marie

    Hi, I am a USA and Canadian citizen (2 passports). I worked in both counties. I am eligible for both Social Security USA and OAS Canada. Can I collect both or will the Canadian or USA government make me combine this?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Anne – Yes, you can collect both, and also CPP if you contributed.

  102. Doug

    “To get a list of all the countries with which Canada has agreements with and explanations of each agreement, visit the Service Canada website.”

    I am unable to find this list. Are you able to help please?

    Thanks very much


  103. Ravi

    Hello, I am Ravi, a Canadian citizen living for the past 8 years. I have worked in USA for 7 years before becoming Canadian citizen/PR. If I work for 2 more years (current age 54) in Canada. Can I get both USA SS and Canada benefits? Also I lived in worked in India for 15 years.

  104. Charles

    Excellent article Doug. I’ve been a resident of Canada since 40 (currently 62). I’ll qualify for a partial OAS (25/40) at 65.

    Will a partial OAS increase if a person waits after 65? Not just the 7.2% annual from voluntary deferral, but the actual residency years. Say if I defer taking till 67, will I get a 14.4% increase for a 27/40 year OAS?

    Will a partial OAS increase after a person starts taking? Say I take the 25/40 OAS at 65. Will it become 26/40 at 66, 27/40 at 67, or that once you activate the OAS, the amount stays the same?

    Thank you,


    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Charles – Unfortunately, the answer to both of your questions is “No”. If you don’t take your OAS at age 65, the delay can count as either additional residence OR for the voluntary deferral increase of 0.6% per month, but not both. And once you take your partial OAS, it will not increase any further on the basis of additional residence.

  105. Sonia

    Hello sir, I have a question. My dad lived and worked in Ukraine from 1980 to 2005. In 2005 he came to Canada and worked since then and is still working. He is getting Ukrainian pension for 3 years now, so we’d like to know if the fact that he’s getting it from Ukraine will affect the amount of his Canadian pension and OAS ?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Sonia – No, it won’t affect those benefits.

      • Sonia

        Thank you 🙏

  106. Goran

    I moved to Canada in September 1993 from Yugoslavia/Serbia. Worked 6 years before coming to Canada and employer was paying Yugoslavia/Serbia pension insurance! In Serbia minimum pension contributory requirements is 15 years which means that I cannot have any pension from Serbia for 6 years that I worked there. next year I’ll be 65 and planning to take CPP and OAS pensions. Will 6 years of pension contribution from Serbia have any influence on CPP and OAS in Canada?

  107. Madeleine

    Hi Doug,
    I am a Canadian citizen born in 1958 and migrated to Australia in 1992. I have been a permanent resident of Australia since 1992. I obtained a PhD and worked in Australia until 2014. I presently reside in Australia. I will be 65 soon and I would like to know how much OAS and CPP I will receive at 65. I would also like to know if I qualify for the GIS? Thank you, Madeleine

  108. Paul Whiteley

    Hi Doug, thank-you for posting this it’s very informative. I’ve lived and work in Canada for 23 years so meet the minimum requirements. My concern however is that I lived and contributed fully to National Insurance for 5 years in the UK prior to moving to Canada. Based on how I read your article it suggests my 5 years of UK Contributions are basically wasted as they can only be used to gain eligibility (Which I already have) rather than added to my Canadian Service Time to increase my overall benefit amount. Is my understanding correct?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Paul – I’m quite sure that the UK agreement wouldn’t even help you with eligibility, because it is not a full agreement. So I’m glad that you already qualify with over 20 years.

  109. David Carvalho

    Hi Doug,
    I am Portuguese / Canadian,
    I am working now in Canada, expect to work till 2027, in 2027 only 17 years working in Canada, but almost 25 in Portugal.
    In case I want to retired in Portugal there is a chance to have an OAS received there in Portugal?

  110. Viji

    Dear Doug,
    Can you please explain how the eligibility years for OAS is calculated? Is every single day away from Canada counted or only absences above 5 months are counted? For example if i was away for 2 months in 2010 and 10 days in 2011, will that be counted as 2 years or just 2 years minus 70 days of residence? Shall be grateful for your reply.

    Thank you!

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Viji – If you truly reside in Canada (make Canada your home and ordinarily live here), then temporary absences under one year would not interrupt that residence.

      • Viji

        Thank you Doug! much appreciated!

  111. Viji

    Hello Doug, I have another question please. My Husband daughter and I lived in Canada from 2004 to 2018 during which time we were away (in India) once for 2 years. otherwise our absences were only a few weeks. So during this period we have already covered the 10 years requirement. From 2018 to 2023 we had to live in India as the Covid broke out as soon as we travelled there and the ensuing complicated job situation etc. We came back in August 2023 and my Husband applied for OAS (at age 67) in September. We now live in a rented apartment and trying to settle down here long time. Is it true that we should have lived in Canada a year before we apply? We went in person and applied at Services office.
    Please let me know. Thanks so much for the trouble you take to clarify.

  112. Viji

    He was receiving CPP before 2018 when we left, which got suspended as we had not updated our mailing address. We have also applied for that now. They asked us for passport copies and home addresses and other documents which we have submitted.

  113. Gerard Emery

    Hi Doug
    Thankyou for your time and wonderful advice. I was born in 1961in the US and moved a few years later to Canada and have been here ever since working and contributing to CPP. Recently I have considered retiring and moving back to US. They are very determined to not give me a SS. no. since I never had one and they don’t understand why not. Nowadays it is issued at birth. Regardless do I understand corectly that I could move back to the US and claim a US SS pension through the US/Canada treaty as apposed to CPP. This would be a 30% increase because of exchange rates. And my earnings would rate a 4000$ US pension vs 1200$ canadian CPP. Thanks again for your input. Love this site.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Gerard – NO you can’t trade away your CPP contributions and get US SS contributions in exchange. The way that the agreement could help you is that if you had some US SS contributions, but less that the required 40 quarters (10 years) you could use some of your CPP contributions to “totalize” your contributions to both countries and if that combined contribution exceeded that minimum requirement you would receive your US SS benefit calculated only on your US SS contributions and your total CPP contributions would be used to calculate your CPP benefit.

  114. victoria

    Hello Doug,
    Is there a processing time for QAS/GIS pension applications? especially if someone os applying at age 67 and asking for back payment from age 65 or atleast past eleven months?


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