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To have a comfortable retirement, there are many financial considerations you need to plan for. Canada has a system that provides people, once they turn 65, with a monthly income to offset the costs of no longer working. The system includes the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), an individual’s savings or employer’s pension, and Old Age Security (OAS). 

Check out these tax considerations for seniors.

What Is OAS And How Do You Qualify? 

Old Age Security (OAS) is a taxable, monthly payment that you can receive from the Canadian government if you are 65 years of age or older. The payment is meant to help Canadians indiscriminately in their old age, so your employment history and current residence do not necessarily affect your eligibility. Here’s what you need to qualify for Old Age Security: 

If You’re Living in CanadaIf You’re Living Outside of CanadaIf You’re Working Outside of Canada for Canadian Employers
Age 65 years or olderAge 65 years or olderReturned to Canada within 6 months of ending employment
Canadian citizen or permanent residence at time of OAS application approvalCanadian citizen or permanent residence on the day before you left CanadaTurned 65 while employed and maintained residence in Canada while outside Canada
Resided in Canada for at least 10 years since the age of 18Resided in Canada for at least 20 years since the age of 18Provide proof of employment from the employer 

For more information on requirements, visit the Government of Canada’s Old Age Security webpage. 

How Much Can You Recieve With OAS?

Your OAS payment amount is dependent on your income when you decide to start collecting OAS, and general living costs measured by the Consumer Price Index, as reviewed by the Government of Canada every January, April, October and December. OAS amounts are also dependent on how long you’ve lived in Canada.

Check out how an RRSP can help with retirement

The maximum monthly pension amount for OAS was $685.50 monthly, and the maximum income for eligibility to receive OAS is $129,757. If you make more than the indicated maximum, you will be subject to the OAS Clawback, which mandates Canadians to pay all or some of their OAS back to the government

Check out how your income is taxed in Canada.

What Are The OAS Payment Dates 2024?

The OAS payment schedule varies from year to year. Here are the dates on which you can expect to receive OAS and CPP this year:

Old Age Security (OAS) Payment Dates 2024Canada Pension Plan Payment Dates 2024
January 29, 2024January 29, 2024
February 27, 2024February 27, 2024
March 26, 2024March 26, 2024
April 26, 2024April 26, 2024
May 29, 2024May 29, 2024
June 26, 2024June 26, 2024
July 29, 2024July 29, 2024
August 28, 2024August 28, 2024
September 25, 2024September 25, 2024
October 29, 2024October 29, 2024
November 27, 2024November 27, 2024
December 20, 2024December 20, 2024

For more information on payment dates for various benefits, visit the Government of Canada’s Benefits Payment page

Process Of Obtaining OAS

To obtain OAS payments, you need to follow these 6 steps:

  1. Determine if you need to apply: You’ll receive a letter in the mail from the Government of Canada letting you know that you’ll be receiving OAS payments. Make sure to contact them if you haven’t received a letter a month after your 64th birthday. 
  2. Decide when you want to start collecting OAS: You may choose to delay receiving OAS payments to receive a larger payment, or to ensure your eligibility by beginning collection on a year when your income is lower
  3. Submit an application: You can apply online or by mail. Make sure you apply a month after your 64th birthday and ensure you have all the necessary information and documents required for your application. 
  4. Look out for a response from the Government of Canada: The Government of Canada will send you a decision letter, or a request for more information. Your decision letter will tell you how much money you’ll collect each month, any past payments owed to you, as well as the date you’ll start collecting. 
  5. Review your application status: You can either contact Service Canada or log into your My Service Canada account to review your application. 
  6. Act if you disagree with the decision: You’ll need to request a decision review within 90 days of receiving your decision letter. If you are still unhappy with this subsequent review. You can appeal the decision with the Social Society Tribunal.

Do you qualify for Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) Program?

Old Age Security FAQs

Will I qualify for a higher OAS if I wait past 65?

The longer you delay your OAS payments, the larger the payments will be. You can delay your OAS by a maximum of 5 years to maximize your payments; however, there is no benefit to waiting past the age of 70, as you risk losing some of your benefits. 

What’s the difference between OAS and CPP?

CPP is available to Canadians who have contributed to it throughout their employment, making it dependent on one’s employment history. OAS is available to most Canadians over the age of 65, regardless of their employment history. 

Is OAS taxable?

Yes, OAS is taxable. 

What is the OAS clawback?

The OAS clawback is a casual term used for the Old Age Security Pension Recovery Tax. If your annual income passes a certain threshold, you may have to pay some or all of your OAS pension back to the government. To calculate how much you might need to pay back, use this calculator. There are ways to avoid the OAS Clawback so that you can keep as much of your OAS as possible. 

IS OAS enough for retirement?

In most cases, OAS is not sufficient for retirement, especially if you live in a city with high living costs like Vancouver or Toronto. OAS is a supplement to your income, not an income in and of itself. If you’re eligible for OAS, you might consider applying for Canada’s Guaranteed Income Supplement as well. 

Final Thoughts

Old Age Security is one financial support Canada has made available to people in retirement. Although it isn’t enough to live off alone, you can supplement it with your personal savings,  CPP and/or Canada’s Guaranteed Income Supplement. 

Chrissy Kapralos avatar on Loans Canada
Chrissy Kapralos

Chrissy is a Toronto-based communications advisor. With an English degree from the University of Toronto and editing courses under her belt from Ryerson University, she has continued her lifelong passion for writing and editing. In addition to working for Loans Canada on a variety of financial topics, Chrissy has a few years of resume writing and editing under her belt, and takes great pleasure in helping people find work that fits with their experience and passions. When she isn't working, you can find her practicing yoga, hanging out with her dog, reading up on financial and real estate news, or planning her next trip abroad.

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