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Insights & advice

What is the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)?

July 2021 – 15 min read

Key takeaways

  • The GIS is a monthly payment available to low-income Old Age Security (OAS) pensioners

  • Payment amounts are based on your marital status and income

  • You won’t pay income tax on GIS payments

  • GIS eligibility is based on your age, income, how long you’ve lived in Canada, and your status as a Canadian Citizen or legal resident

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What is the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)?

The GIS is a monthly benefit available to anyone receiving, or eligible to receive the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, whose annual income (or combined annual income for couples) is below the maximum annual threshold. 

As part of your retirement income with the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and OAS, it’s important to understand how much GIS you may receive so you can be confident you’ll have enough retirement income.

How much GIS you’ll get

The government reviews the GIS every 3 months, in January, April, July and October, to account for increases in the cost of living. Your monthly payment amount won’t decrease if the cost of living falls. 

For the April to June 2021 time period:

  • If you’re single, widowed or divorced, and your individual income is below $18,744, you’d receive the maximum monthly payment of $923.71
  • If your spouse/partner receives the full OAS and your combined income is less than $24,768, you’d receive the maximum monthly payment of $556.04
  • If your spouse/partner doesn’t receive the OAS pension and your combined income is less than $44,928, you’d receive the maximum monthly payment of $923.71

GIS payment dates

The GIS is paid monthly by direct bank account deposit or cheque. HereOpens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window are the GIS payment dates.

Paying tax on GIS payments

GIS benefits aren’t taxed.

Qualifying for the GIS

To be eligible for the GIS, you must:

  • Be receiving the OAS pension
  • Make your home in Canada and normally live in Canada (although temporary absences of up to six months are allowed)
  • Have an income lower than maximum allowed (see current amounts here

To determine your income, use the net income reported on your most recent income tax return (minus OAS).

When you’ll receive your first GIS payment

You’ll receive it the month after you turn age 65. For your GIS payments to continue uninterrupted, you must file your income taxes on time every year.

Applying for the GIS

You may receive your GIS payment automatically along with your OAS payment. 

However, you may need to apply for the GIS if:

  • You get a letter from the government asking you to apply, or the information in the letter is incorrect
  • You’re already receiving OAS and have never received the GIS 

You can apply for the GIS two ways:

To complete the application, you’ll need:

  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • SIN and date of birth for your spouse or common-law partner, if applicable
  • All addresses where you’ve lived since age 18
  • Your bank details if you want to sign up for direct deposit
  • The date you’d like your pension to start

The information provided is based on current laws, regulations and other rules applicable to Canadian residents. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. Rules and their interpretation may change, affecting the accuracy of the information. The information provided is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice in any specific situation. For specific situations, advice should be obtained from the appropriate legal, accounting, tax or other professional advisors.

What’s next?

Now that you know how GIS payments work, why not meet with your financial advisor to:

  • Understand your GIS eligibility and how much GIS you’ll receive

  • Confirm when you should apply to receive the GIS