Retirement » Government Benefits

Understanding the Allowance for the Survivor

Understanding the Allowance for the Survivor

The Allowance for the Survivor is one of the supplementary benefits payable under the Old Age Security (OAS) Act.

In my opinion, there is no valid policy rationale for this benefit. It happened more by accident than by design, and is a good example (in my mind) of how some well-intentioned government programs evolve into something else.

Who is eligible for the Allowance for the Survivor?

In order to be eligible for the Allowance for the Survivor:

  • You must be between 60 and 65 years old.
  • You must have had a spouse or common-law partner who has died, and you must not have remarried or entered into a common-law relationship after their death.
  • Your income must be lower than the maximum allowed income level. For example, for the period of January through March 2018, your annual income for 2016 must normally have been less than $23,952.
  • You must be a Canadian citizen or a legal resident of Canada.
  • You must reside in Canada now, and have at least 10 years of residence in Canada since turning age 18.

How is my Allowance for the Survivor calculated?

All of the same rules regarding what is considered as income for GIS purposes apply to the Allowance for the Survivor.

Related article: Understanding Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

For the most part, the Allowance for the Survivor payment is reduced from the maximum payable by 50 cents for every dollar of other income that you have, but there are some income levels where this reduction is 75 cents for every dollar.

The actual amount of the Allowance for the Survivor payment is determined using rate table 5.

What is the policy rationale for the Allowance for the Survivor?

As I said, simply stated, there is no valid policy rationale for the Allowance for the Survivor and it is a good example of how some well-intentioned government programs evolve into something else.

The story begins in 1975, with the creation of a new benefit under the OAS Act, called the Spouse’s Allowance. The Spouse’s Allowance was payable only to an age 60 to 65 spouse of an OAS/GIS pensioner.

The Spouse’s Allowance worked fine for the most part, but created a very difficult situation if the OAS/GIS pensioner died while the spouse was still under age 65. Not only did that mean that the younger spouse ceased to be eligible for the Spouse’s Allowance, it often meant recovering one or more months of overpayment from them, especially if there was a delay in notifying the department of the pensioner’s death.

Thus, around 10 years later, the Extended Spouse’s Allowance was created, whereby when an OAS/GIS pensioner spouse died, the surviving spouse would continue to be eligible for the Spouse’s Allowance for six months after the pensioner’s death. This eliminated most of the overpayment situations, and it provided a short bridge benefit to help the younger spouse after the death of the pensioner.

It wasn’t an ideal solution though, and it didn’t address the situation that occurred when the older spouse died shortly before turning age 65, but after the couple had already applied for and been approved for their OAS/GIS and the Spouse’s Allowance. In those cases, there was no entitlement to the Spouse’s Allowance for the month of death, so there was no entitlement to the Extended Spouse’s Allowance either.

To resolve this situation, a few years later the Widow(er)’s Allowance was created, whereby someone whose spouse had died at any age could be eligible for a benefit when they turned age 60.

Finally, under the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act in the year 2000, this benefit was extended to survivors of same-sex and common-law partner relationships, and the current Allowance for the Survivor benefit was created.

This new benefit solved all of the problems with the previous Spouse’s Allowance and the Extended Spouse’s Allowance, but it created a new policy dilemma.

The policy dilemma

Is there any true policy objective that is being met by providing a benefit to someone whose spouse or common-law partner died possibly 40 years earlier? And if so, would that policy objective really cease to exist if that person had a short-term marriage or common-law relationship subsequently?

Are such individuals somehow more needy or more deserving than someone the same age (and who meets the same residency and income criteria) who either never had a spouse or common-law partner, or where that relationship ended due to separation or divorce instead of due to death?

Where will it go from here?

I see the current Allowance for the Survivor as a temporary benefit, enroute to the day when anyone over age 60 will qualify, provided that they meet the income and residence requirements.

The impetus for this next change could come from public pressure; it could be a single appeal case where someone convinces the courts that the current legislation violates the Charter or it could be something that one of the parties adopts as an election issue.

If I’m right, what should this new benefit be called? How about something like the Allowance for anyone not married or living common-law benefit, or the AANMLCL benefit for short?

Helpful links:

For further information about the Allowance for the Survivor, including how to apply

For the current maximum allowed income levels for the Allowance for the Survivor.


  1. parvinder singh

    need help in gis

    • Doug


      Need a bit more detail?

  2. Alex

    Hi Doug,

    I have a quick ‘technical’ question if you don’t mind:

    my wife passed away in 2013 at age 62, in the beginning of 2014 I filed Allowance for the Survivor [OAS benefit] application and got approval letter to receive Survivor Allowance starting from September 2014,-for the year 2013, – however I have not received any payments, somehow forgot to contact CRA in 2014, contacted them in 2015, they confirmed that I was eligible to receive the benefit and even gave me an amount owing;

    currently I’m still waiting for the retroactive payment for over 3 months by now, called CRA a couple of times for the timeframe of the benefit, they confirm every time the payment due, but don’y give exact date of it and no valid explanation why payment being delayed [I don’t consider ‘computer glitch’ a valid explanation], last time they mentioned next year 2016 for the 2013th benefit payment;

    some detail: my wife’s 65th birthday would be in 2016 -may be this would be the reason of a delay, what would you say or suggest?

    Thank you and have a great day!


    • Doug Runchey


      It might just be terminology, but it’s Service Canada that you should be contacting about the Allowance, not CRA. The phone# to call is 1-800-277-9914.

      There is nothing that I can think of that would justify the delays that you have described, and certainly the fact that your wife’s 65th birthday would have been in 2016 is not one of the causes of any delay.

      Email me at [email protected] if you want me to assist you in a 3-way phone call with Service Canada.

  3. Alex

    Doug, -yes I contacted Service Canada at 800-277-9914 of course 🙂

    Thanks for the offer, it may be needed!
    I may have to subscribe to 3-way calling feature first;

    Thanks Jim for posting my comment,

    Have a great weekend, gentlemen!


    • Doug Runchey


      I have the 3-way calling feature, so just email me with your phone# if you want me to help you.

  4. Karin

    Hello Doug, I am collecting OAS allowance for a survivor. My question is that if I put some money into an RRSP to lower my income will the amount of my allowance for survivor payments increase.

    • Doug Runchey


      Yes, making an RRSP contribution will reduce your taxable income and will therefore increase your Allowance. There will be a delay though, because an RRSP contribution in 2016 won’t increase your Allowance until July 2017. There is also the issue that when you withdraw the RRSP it will increase your taxable income and thus decrease your Allowance or GIS (again with a delay in effect).

  5. Maxi

    HI doug,

    I was wondering can I get approve for both OAS and Allowance for survivor because I have no income at all and my partner passed away year ago and I am trying to understand the allowance for survivor.

    • Doug Runchey


      The Allowance for survivor is payable only from age 60 to age 65. At age 65, you would become eligible for OAS and GIS.

  6. Eric Bennett

    I am currently collecting the Allowance for survivor and am turning 65 in 2016. Do I have to apply for Old Age Security or will I just transition to the OAS Benefit at age 65?

    • Doug Runchey


      I’m quite sure that it will convert automatically to OAS effective the month following your 65th birthday, but it might be a good idea to call Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 just to make sure.

      • Eric Bennett

        Thanks for your reply – tried calling Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 – only got a message saying their call volume was too high to transfer my call! I will try again soon.

        • Eric Bennett

          I finally called my local MP Office to get an answer. After they contacted Service Canada the MP Office told me to file for OAS as Service Canada no longer automatically enrolls you.

  7. Sarah

    Regarding Allowance for Survivor, if the surviving spouse was legally married but separated from the deceased spouse for over 1 year, and the deceased spouse had been co-habiting with a common-law-partner during the separation, does the surviving spouse still qualify for the Allowance for Survivor? Or is the common-law-partner the only person who can apply for the Allowance for Survivor?

    • Doug Runchey

      Good question! Yes, the legal spouse could still qualify for the Allowance for Survivor even if their spouse had a subsequent common-law partner, as long as they themselves didn’t have a subsequent common-law partner.

  8. Sarah

    Hi Doug,

    I called Service Canada and they told me that only the common-law partner qualifies for the Allowance for Survivor. Service Canada said that the separated spouse does not qualify if the deceased had a common-law partner during the separation. This seems to differ from your response to my question. Is Service Canada wrong?

    • Doug Runchey


      I’m quite sure that I’m right, but I’ll do a bit more homework myself. In the interim, why don’t you try calling again and see if you get the same answer.

      • Eric Bennett

        If the Allowance rules are the same as the CPP Survivor rules as quoted below, I would say Sarah is not eligible for either.

        “The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) survivor’s pension is paid to the person who, at the time of death, is the legal spouse or common-law partner of the deceased contributor.

        If you are a separated legal spouse and the deceased had no cohabiting common-law partner, you may qualify for this benefit.”

        • Doug Runchey


          The rules are not the same for OAS as they are for CPP. The wording in the OAS Act for the Allowance for a survivor is totally different from the wording in the CPP legislation for a survivor’s pension. The OAS Act even has a section 21(12) that states “A person’s eligibility for an allowance under this section in respect of a deceased spouse or common-law partner is not affected by the eligibility of another person for an allowance under this section in respect of that deceased spouse or common-law partner.”

          • Eric Bennett

            Very vague legalese that does imply “eligibility”. But how many separated wife and subsequent common-law relationships would be granted the Allowance?

          • Doug Runchey


            I think it’s pretty specific legalese that states clearly that Sarah cannot be denied simply due to fact that her husband’s common-law partner might also be eligible for the Allowance.

    • Doug Runchey


      I got similar responses as you when I called Service Canada’s 1-800#, but I got confirmation from a senior level at Service Canada that you are eligible. Please apply and let me know if you are approved or denied.

      • Sarah

        Hi Doug,

        Good news! After a lot of waiting and persistence, armed with the advice you gave me, I finally received Service Canada’s decision approving retroactive payment of survivor’s allowance. The retroactive payment covers 2 of the 5 years that I am entitled to. I had applied the first time much earlier but Service Canada denied my first application. I didn’t appeal that first decision because frankly I didn’t know better. After receiving your advice, I applied a second time and claimed the 11 month retroactive payment. However, at the end of the day, I am still out 3 years of benefits. My question is whether I have any options to get the 3 years of benefits that I would have had if my first application had been approved? Or should I just be happy that I received the 2 years of benefits and let sleeping dogs lie?

        • Doug Runchey

          Hi Sarah – You’re well past the normal appeal period, but if you were clearly denied benefits for an invalid reason, you may try requesting a review of that first decision under the “erroneous advice and administrative error” provision. Here’s a copy and past from the CPP legislation:
          66(4) Where the Minister is satisfied that, as a result of erroneous advice or administrative error
          in the administration of this Act, any person has been denied
          (a) a benefit, or portion thereof, to which that person would have been entitled under this Act,
          the Minister shall take such remedial action as the Minister considers appropriate to place the
          person in the position that the person would be in under this Act had the erroneous advice not
          been given or the administrative error not been made.

  9. Sarah

    Thank you, Doug, for looking into this for me – I truly appreciate it. I plan to submit my application and to let you know what happens. Thanks again!

  10. Laura

    Hello im a little confused i receive a ccp surviour check or widows pension. I currently heard about the allowancece for survivour. I turned 60 in march this year. Is it possible to receive both benefits? Thankyou. Laura

    • Doug Runchey

      Laura – Yes, they are totally separate benefits and you can receive both at the same time.

      • Laura

        Well im wondering does that mean it will be capped at a certain amount i get 597.00 whicj includes my ccp and widow pension if it says from my 2015 income tax my benefit could be 840 for 00allowance forsurviour does that mean it would b the difference between the the 597.00 and 840.00 or could i receive the 597.00 plus the allowance for surviour of 840.00

        • Doug Runchey

          Laura – It would help to know how much your net income was for 2015, but if CPP is your only income it’s probably $597 plus $840.

  11. Laura

    Yes Doug my 2015 income tax was 5478.00 that was my only income from my widows pension

    • Doug Runchey

      Laura – If your 2015 income was only $5,478, your Allowance for July 2016 should be $883.99.

  12. Laura

    Thankyou Doug for the info

  13. silvia

    I also just have the widow’s pension (570.00 a month) I will be 60 in Sept. can I get this allowance for survivors.

    • Doug Runchey

      Silvia – Yes, as long as you have remarried or had a common-law relationship since the death of your spouse, and as long as you’re residing in Canada.

  14. Ada Wilson

    I hope this site is still active and that you are still helping people, which by the way I think is awesome of you to do! Thank You.
    I have a simple (but yet it seems to be complicated because I cannot find any clear answers to this)question.
    My husband died last November. He was 63. I am 62. Am I entitled to receive the Survivors Allowance at this point? or the Extended Survivors Allowance? (Not sure which is which or if they are the same) My husband was not retired but had just recently gotten laid off. This is a horrible time to ask about this but because everything happened so unexpectedly I have no income at this point. I would really appreciate your help. Thank you.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Ada – You’re eligible for the Allowance for the Survivor if you have resided in Canada for at least 10 years and if your 2015 income was less than $23,616. You may also be eligible for a CPP survivor’s pension.

      • Ada Wilson

        Thank you very much for putting my mind at rest, I really appreciate your taking the time to answer me on this because of my circumstances, I thought I was too but was told because he was not on OAS that I was not eligible, yet I read on the internet that I was so I was confused. I appreciate your help.
        Sincerely, Ada.

  15. Elizabeth Perdok

    I wondered if it is true that you do not receive your allowance for the survivor’s benefit for 35 weeks. I turned 60 in August of 2015 and started to receive my CPP benefits. I was informed this year January 2017, that I could qualify for the allowance for the survivor. I never knew about this program and would have applied sooner had I known. My question is will I be back paid 11 months and also does it really take 35 weeks to process the application? thank you for your response. Elizabeth Perdok

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Elizabeth – Yes, 11 months is the maximum retroactivity. And yes, it does appear that 35 weeks is currently the standard processing time.

      • Andrew Thompson

        My wife died 2008 in her early 40s I just turned to 60 this past December. She never worked after we got married. And she used to Baby sit beforehand never paid in the Canada pension so I don’t know if I qualify.

  16. Isabelle

    Hi Doug I am eligible to apply for the allowance for the survivor. I am FN and have income that is non taxable. I do my taxes and they do not include my earnings as income. It does not exceed much more than the threshold allowable for the allowance for the survivor. My question is do I have to declare non taxable income?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Isabelle – I am quite sure that the answer is “No”, but you should check with Service Canada just to be sure.

  17. Dana

    Hi Doug,
    Not sure if you can help me but my husband passed away and the funeral director sent in to the government a form for me to collect CPP. I received that along with my spousal portion of his pension. Then a year later I retired. My understanding is I was to get my pension plus my own bridging for my pension until age 60when I would have to apply for CPP as my bridging would cease.

    My question is “Am I entitled to my bridging for my own pension or does the fact I receive CPP from my spouse cancel out my bridging? Should the two pension agreements be separate?

    Thanks for your time

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Dana – I won’t pretend to know every bridging formula, must most bridges that I’ve seen end at age 65 regardless when you apply for your own CPP to start. And I know that I’ve never seen one that would end because you’re receiving a CPP survivor’s pension.

  18. Murray

    Hi Doug – Great article! It is so difficult to find specific advice about the less common situations. I particularly like the history behind this odd benefit since a child-hood friend of mine is in similar situation, except his marriage ended due to divorce whereas mine ended due to death. I receive the benefit and he doesn’t. Certainly not fair – but we know by this age about fairness and life. FYI I noticed through research that Alberta formerly had the Alberta Widow’s Pension for those between 55-65, but that it was cancelled in around 2005 or so. So, since I am just starting to collect this benefit I have been looking at the means available to increase the payout for the remaining 4 years and realize that RRSP contribution is the best. Since my income is CPP-Disability + CPP Survivor’s, I have estimated my future RRSP contribution “room” for the next 4 years based on 18% of only the CPP-D expected. From that I add in my current RRSP “room” and divide by 4. This way I have a similar yearly amount to contribute to my RRSP, reduce my income, and subsequently increase my yearly OAS Allowance benefit. However….after reading your article I worry about the long-term viability of this odd benefit remaining the same, particularly with the change in government, which has already brought change to the TFSA and other tax issues. Therefore, I am considering front-end loading the RRSP contributions to the “sooner years” rather than later years of the 4 years left…just in case. My calculations seem to conclude that in total, assuming all other factors remain the same, the total amount received for the benefit period 60-64 is the same no matter how I distribute the RRSP contributions. Is this correct? Yes, I know that the RRSP contributions will eventually be taxable income when I take them out in an RRIF in my 70’s, but typically “life expenditures” decrease in old age, and it is very unlikely that I would be taxed at a 50% level then, when the contributions I make now give me a “now” benefit of 50 cents for each dollar. Have I missed anything? I have also considered the effect on the tax payable situation for the latter of the 4 year period, if done this way. Suggestions? Remarks? Thanks!

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Murray – Just a couple of things to watch out for. First, check the Allowance rates (table 5) closely, because it isn’t always a 50% impact. Second, if you expect to be eligible for GIS once you’re over age 65, there will be a similar decrease of 50% to your GIS for any RRSP withdrawls that you make after age 64.

      • Murray

        Thanks Doug – yes, I have spent hours inputting different scenarios – eventually returning to generalities. I don’t have much room to work with so it kept the % differences fairly close. Again, many many thanks for providing these interesting articles, clarifying/simplifying issues, and answering financial questions for the low income earners in Canada.

  19. Chad Kwok

    hi Doug:
    I am about to turn to 62, was informed by service Canada recently about this allowance of survivor program. Besides CPP, I am currently getting disability insurance from a private insurance company which is non taxable, so I thought I won’t be qualify for the allowance of survivor before and didn’t bother to apply. can you please let me know that if I can apply even by receiving the non taxible disability insurance? Thank you.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Chad – If it’s non-taxable it probably won’t count against the Allowance for a Survivor, but Service Canada will tell you for sure.

  20. Ada Wilson

    Hi Doug,
    I am confused as to where I stand with the survivor benifit and getting a part time job. I receive the max amount for survivor benefit and CPP. It is making it tough to live on because of my high rent. So I want to get a part time job. I am currently 63, will be 64 this year. So how much will they deduct off of my survivors pension due to anything I make if I work? And how will that affect things when I turn 65? I read somewhere there is an exemption of $3,500.00 before they start deducting…not sure if that is true either. Do you know the answers to this? Thanks for your time.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Ada – It depends partly on what “survivor benefit” you’re talking about. If you’re talking about the CPP survivor’s pension, the amount you receive is not affected by any other income you have (except when it gets “combined” with your CPP retirement pension). If you’re talking about this “Allowance for the survivor”, it is reduced by approx. 50% for any other income you have, but you’re correct that the first $3,500 of salary in any year is not counted.

  21. ada wilson

    Ok, Thank you, I was talking about the Allowance for the survivor. I can’t seem to find any actual info about reductions of that in relation to work income if you work. Thanks again for your time.

  22. Ada

    Hi Doug,
    I have a question. I just received my newly adjusted amount of income for 2018 and I am in a state of total frazzlement. I rec’d no notification of this drop in income would occur. My income last year was $24,895.00 according to the assessment Revenue Canada sent me. All I handed in was a T4 for my CPP benefit which was $6387.52 but in reality I got $5,988.00, and a T4 for my survivor benefit for $17,108.36, but in reality I got $16,737.84 and $1,400 for social assistance payments because I had no income at all waiting for the pensions to come thru. So the reality parts above, are what was deposited into my account, plus I did my income tax in time as well. So here is what they did. They deducted $6,363.00 off of my income by saying that amount was “taxable” income–so I am assuming that is the CPP amount. They also said there were $18,509.00 of Deductions from net income ( I have no idea what that means at all, all I know now is that now my income has been cut monthly from $1,893.82 to $1,402.65 and I do not understand why. I have tried to no avail to get thru to Service Canada on the phone and their Q is always full. I went there as well yesterday but the lady quite clearly said there was no issue and this is what I get, although she said she had no access to revenue Canada info that I now have and is stated above. She also said I would not be entitled to GIS until I was 65 and also said that Service Canada had notified me by mail to let me know of the decrease. I was in disbelief because I had rec’d nothing from them and told her I could not believe they can just drop your income like that without letting you know in advance and giving you a good reason why. The numbers just don’t make sense to me—can you maybe explain them to me? Is this right what they have done? Because in effect they just totally wiped out the CPP amount I was getting every month by taking it off the Survivor benefit. Also There seems to be no where to go to get clear answers on this and to find out why I would not qualify for GIS as well. I am 64 this year and was told that unless I am cohabitating with someone who is receiving their OAS or living with my spouse I am not eligible until I am 65–would you know if that is accurate? I am totally upset by all of this, I was in poverty before but now I am really going down…..It is an awful experience to go thru….maybe this info will help someone else as well….Thanks Doug…. I really hope you have time to reply….

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Ada – My sympathies with your situation. I’m guessing a bit, so let me know if I’m wrong about anything. I suspect that your husband passed away late in 2016 or possibly early in 2017. I’m also guessing that your CPP benefit is mostly or completely a CPP survivor’s pension that started after your husband died and that the other survivor benefit that you’re talking about is really the Allowance for a Survivor. Based on this scenario, the numbers possibly make sense if you had no income of your own prior to your husband’s death.
      When your Allowance for a Survivor was initially calculated (the month following your husband’s death), the amount would have been based on your 2015 income, which I’m guessing was zero. You would therefore have been eligible for the maximum Allowance, which is approx. $1,350 monthly. In July 2017, the Allowance would be based on your 2016 income, (which was probably still zero unless it included a month or two of CPP survivor’s pension), and so it would have stayed at or near the maximum Allowance thru June 2018.
      Beginning with July 2018, your Allowance is now based on your 2017 income which now includes a full year’s worth of CPP benefits (and possibly a month or two of 2016 CPP benefits). With a monthly CPP pension of approx. $500 ($6,000 per year), the Allowance would decrease by approx. $460 monthly. This may seem like a harsh reduction, but it is the way that the Allowance amount is designed.
      It is true that you’re not eligible for GIS until you’re age 65, and you wouldn’t be eligible for GIS earlier even if you were cohabiting with someone else. GIS is never paid unless/until you’re age 65 and receiving OAS. When you do turn age 65, things will get slightly better. Your Allowance for Survivor benefit will end completely, but you will become eligible for OAS (approx. $600 monthly if you’ve lived in Canada for at least 40 years) and GIS (approx. $535 monthly if your only other income is your CPP survivor’s pension). Your CPP survivor’s pension will be recalculated when you turn age 65, but the amount after age 65 will be approx. the same if your current amount is approx. $500 monthly.
      I hope this explanation helps a bit, but let me know if I have guessed incorrectly.

  23. Chloe

    Hi there,

    I am wondering about the impact of capital losses on the income calculation. If I have capital losses carried forward that can eliminate capital gains in this year, will that offset the total income used to calculate the current amount I receive for the Allowance for Survivor benefits? Or is it calculated based on capital gains and losses of the current year only?

    Thank you,

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Chloe – I’m not 100% sure, but I think if you claim the losses on your income tax return they will automatically be used to calculate your Allowance benefits also.

  24. JANE

    Hi Doug

    I am writing to you about my allowance. I am 63 old woman and not working. I am receiving an allowance of 789$ which seems not right. My husband already retired and he is receiving his oas/his+ CPP pension and has no other income. Can you give an explanation about my allowance
    and why I am receiving only this amount. Thank you

    Best regards

    Jane K.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Jane – How much is your husband’s OAS, GIS and CPP?

  25. Jane

    Hi Doug

    My husband receive monthly an Oas/Gis amount of 1124$ and CPP 99$ as myself I am receiving for my pension 789$. Please advise if have to approach Government Canada for an adjustment of my pension.

    Best regards

    Jane Kincaid

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Jane – How old are you? How long have you lived in Canada? What is the source of your $789 pension? Do you or your husband have income from any other sources?

  26. Jane

    I have 22 years in canada. The amount of 789 $ is what I am receiving as pension from Government canada. We don’t have any other income from any other resources


    Jane K.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Jane – It sounds like you’re probably receiving the Allowance under the OAS program, but the amount doesn’t make sense from what you’re telling me. I suggest that you contact Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 to ask for an explanation.

  27. Jane


    I am 63 years old….



  28. joseph munn

    I am a retired fedral employee, just turned 69 I am collecting all 3 pensions, my question is what would your cost be to look at my pension’s and tell myself and my wife what her benifets would be upon my demise. Thanks

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Joseph – You’d have to contact the Public Service Pension Plan at 1-800-561-7930 to find out how much of a survivor’s pension she’d receive from there, but once you know that number, I should be able to tell you how much she would receive from CPP and OAS/GIS if you provided me with:
      – the amount that each of you are currently receiving from CPP and at what age and what date those pensions both started;
      – the amounts and sources of any other income that your wife would have after your death;

  29. Lloyd

    Hi. I am currently receiving OAS and GIS, and my wife is receiving the Spouse’s Allowance. She has just turned 64, and hopes to receive OAS when she becomes 65. Does she have to apply for OAS, or will she be automatically enrolled since she already received the Spouse’s Allowance? We haven’t received any information from the government about this.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Lloyd – Yes, your wife’s Spouse’s Allowance will automatically convert to OAS/GIS effective the month following her 65th birthday.

  30. Sherry Khalid

    Hi Doug,
    I am writing on behalf of my mother. She is turning 63 years old this month and my father died about 30 years ago. My mother remarried about 10 years but is now divorced. Would you be able to confirm if this would make her ineligible?
    Many Thanks,

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Sherry – Your mother is not eligible for the Allowance for a Survivor, because she remarried after the death of her first spouse and her second marriage ended as a result of something other that the death of her second spouse.

  31. Gerry

    Hi Doug – My question is about confirming when I could expect to receive some income from the Allowance for a Survivor. I lost my job at the end of July 2019, and have not worked since then. My income for 2019 was about $40,000. The 2020 amount is based on my income for 2019, so I don’t qualify for any amount for 2020 if I understand the plan. I don’t do my taxes for 2020 until Feb 2021, so it will be July 2021 before I would be eligible to receive any money.
    To me it looks like it will be 2 years from when I lost my job till this kicks in. Is that correct? Thanks.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Gerry – No, it’s not correct. You should be eligible effective August 2019, based on your annualized 2019 income after your employment ended (or after your EI stopped). Contact Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 immediately and make sure that you have completed the correct forms to let them know about your job ending.

  32. Stan

    Hi Doug,

    It’s my first visit here and I’d just like to say that it’s amazing that you are providing these services for people in need and to try to provide everyone with a bit more information and understanding as to what they might be entitled to.
    My mother is 75 and has been receiving the benefit until it was just recently cut off. I am wondering why they don’t normally offer it to people over 65, why my mom could’ve possibly been receiving the payment up until 75 and if there are any other programs that she might be eligible for now as I’m sure she will miss the $900+ of monthly income coming in.



    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Stan – Your mother would never have been receiving the Allowance until age 75 unless they made an error when they entered here date of birth. The Allowance always ends at age 65, but it should normally be replaced by a combination of OAS/GIS. Is she receiving those benefits now?

  33. annabelle

    Hi Doug, Is my survivor allowance taxable like my CPP Thank you

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Annabelle – No, the allowance for a survivor in like GIS and it is non-taxable.

  34. Cristine Gonzales

    Hi Doug, i am 61 this Sept. and i applied already survivorship allowance and they received it August 18! But it says i will receive it by nxt year of February2021 coz the processing takes 6 months! On my application it states there income for 2017 and 2018! question can i be paid 11 months after my 60th birthday? hope you understand what i am explaining! Thank you!

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Christine – There are two issues here. One is the “effective date”, which is the earliest month that you can be paid for. In your case that would be the later of:
      1) the month following your 60th birthday, which is Oct 2019, and
      2) 11 months prior to the month that your application was received, which is Sept 2019

      The second issue is when will you receive the first payment, which depends on the processing time. Based on what you say they said, you should expect to receive your first payment around Feb 2021, retroactive to Oct 2019.

  35. Susan Graf

    Hi Doug:
    I am happy that you brought up the fact that single people or way-long-ago divorced peoples receive diddly squat of an survival allowance. I guess they just have to “survive”.
    I was married, then annulled in my twenties to an american, and could not go after child support because he was abusive, ran back to Canada. I had two jobs most of my life and still can’t afford much more than a $4,000 RRSP, thanks to a $50,000 inheritance my parents left me, I’ve had that money, but mostly poor before that.
    I think I am going to have to have two jobs until I die, or maybe by the time I get subsidized housing. I’ve already ran out of half of my inheritance.
    It seems like some people who get the survivor’s allowance are lucky and comfortable, because they seemed to have the security all their married lives anyway, living on two incomes, buying a house or condo, and having eachother to talk too. I’m not feeling sorry for myself but I guess I am. Especially with Covid-19 ruling the world and still struggling to find a second job. There should be some kind of income supplement for shy, awkward people that never seem to meet anyone. The “unpopular people”.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Susan – No need for me to comment, because you’ve stated it very well!

  36. Brian

    Hi Doug,

    Assume, i have no income and i’m receiving max allowance survivor. should I apply CPP survivor as well or should i wait to take CPP at 65? does it even matter?

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Brian – Yes, you should apply for a CPP survivor’s pension, but probably not your own CPP retirement pension until age 70, unless you don’t expect to live until an average age.

  37. Jack

    Hi Doug
    My mom is receiving Allowance for the survivor. She will be 65 this May. Will the Allowance for the survivor automatically switch to OAS? If she is qualified for the GIS, does she need to apply for the GIS now? She logged into her Service Canada today and couldn’t find the GIS application. Does she need to apply it after 65, and prior application is not required?

    Thank you


    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Jack – Your mom’s Allowance for a survivor should convert automatically to OAS/GIS without the need for her to complete any application. This should occur at the end of the month following her 65th birthday.

  38. Cristine Gonzales

    Good day Doug!
    Hi Doug!

    I already emailed you and answer my question, now i am here again!
    They send me another copy of the form to be filled up again, i already sent them last year of August and phone them also, they said that it takes 6 months to process my claims! And if after February 2021, i didn’t received any, i need to call them, but instead i received again the same form to be filled up again, attached the needed documents! My question is, do i need to wait for another 6 months for the processing of my claims? And do they going to give me the backpay after my 60th birthday last 2019? Thank you for answering again!

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi Cristine – I would try calling Service Canada and see what’s happening.

      • Cristine Gonzales

        Thank u so much Doug! looking forward to that!

  39. RC

    Hi Doug,

    Thanks for great help answering questions. Some more here. Thanks in anticipation.

    If older spouse dies before turning 65 and younger spouse turns 60 after his death, does the younger spouse gets allowance for survivor if she meets other conditions?

    An additional question. Older spouse turns 65 but delays applying for cpp/oas/gis for a few years. If the older spouse dies before applying and receiving oas/gis does the widow gets allowance for survivor if she turns 60 after his death who has never received oas/gis, if she meets other conditions? Does older spouse delaying oas/gis has this risk of survivor losing allowance?

    Thank you.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi RC – Yes, the younger spouse will be eligible for the allowance for a survivor in both of your examples.

  40. LC

    Hi, I already applied for this government benefit and I wonder if the amount to receive will be calculated based on the portion of income splitted with my husband on my tax returns or it will be based on the reality of having had zero income myself. Thank you so much for clarifying this to me.

    • Doug Runchey

      Hi LC – That’s a very good question that I don’t know the answer to. Please let us all know the answer, once your Allowance for a Survivor has been processed.

      • LC

        It seems I will get an answer soon. I will share it here once I have it.

  41. Lila

    Hello just wondering if your a widow to a non canadian spouse would you qualify for the allowance for survivor at the age of 60.

    • Doug Runchey

      Yes, you could.

  42. Lila

    Just wondering if a person is widow to a non Canadian would the widow qualify for the allowance for survivor at the age of 60

    Thank you

    • Doug Runchey

      Yes, she could.

  43. David

    Hello, I was just wondering I am on disability and my wife passed away and when I get allowance for survivor, how would I know how much I will receive thank you. I also would like to know well my disability and survivors benefit be combined as one or will I lose my disability.

    • Doug Runchey

      HI David – I recommend that you call Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914

  44. Ken Wong

    Hi Doug,

    My sister is currently receiving Allowance for a Survivor, she will turn 65 in 2024, does she have to apply for OAS & GIS or it will be automatically enrolled?


  45. Moss

    I’m retired, living in the Philippines, married a local lady 5 years ago. She’s 53 and not Canadian nor a legal resident of Canada.

    I’m getting OAS and roughly $700 CPP.

    If I die will she get the widow pension from my CPP?
    Roughly how much?

    • Doug Runchey

      When did you start receiving your CPP?

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*