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Insights & advice

What is Old Age Security?

July 2021 – 15 min read

Key takeaways

  • OAS is a monthly benefit available to anyone 65 years of age or older

  • Payment amounts are based on your age, how long you’ve lived in Canada and income

  • You’ll pay income tax on OAS payments

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What is Old Age Security (OAS)?

OAS is a monthly benefit available to anyone age 65 or older. 

If you happen to be a senior whose income is below a certain amount, the OAS will also include the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). 

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

How much OAS you’ll get

OAS payment amounts are based on your age, how long you’ve lived in Canada and your income. 

No matter what your marital status, you’ll receive the maximum monthly OAS payment of $618.45 if your annual individual income is less than $129,260 (these numbers are for April to June 2021 and may change every year). 

If you’re single, widowed or divorced, and your individual income is below $18,744, or your spouse/partner doesn’t receive the OAS and your combined income is less than $44,928, you’ll receive the maximum GIS monthly payment of $923.71.  

If your spouse/partner receives the full OAS and your combined income is less than $24,768, you’ll receive the maximum GIS monthly payment of $556.04. 

The amounts shown above are accurate as of April to June 2021. OAS benefits are adjusted every 3 months (January, April, July and October ) if the Consumer Price Index cost of living rises. 

If you choose to delay receiving OAS from age 65 to age 70, you’ll receive significantly more each month.

OAS payment dates

The OAS is paid monthly by direct bank account deposit or cheque. You can find a list of OAS payment dates here - Opens in a new window .

Paying tax on OAS payments

Because OAS benefits are taxable income, you must report them on your annual income tax. If you wish, you can have income tax automatically deducted - Opens in a new window from your OAS payments to help eliminate big surprises at tax time. 

There’s also an OAS pension recovery tax (also known as the OAS clawback) that comes into play if your annual income is above the OAS threshold amount ($79,845 for 2021).

When you’ll receive your first OAS payment

You can apply for OAS up to 11 months before you want it to start. You’ll begin receiving it the month after you turn age 65.

Qualifying for OAS

Eligibility for OAS is determined by how long you’ve lived in Canada and not by your employment history (as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is). It doesn’t matter if you’re working or retired. If you lived in Canada for less than 40 years after the age of 18, you’ll get less OAS.

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 OAS payments work, why not meet with your financial advisor to:

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

  • Determine whether you should have income tax automatically deducted from your OAS payments

  • Confirm when you should apply to receive OAS