An important part of your retirement plan
The Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security Program are two parts of Canada's retirement income system. They provide a modest base on which to build for your retirement and can be supplemented with income from other pensions and personal savings, such as RRSPs.
When you retire, you may be eligible for both Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan retirement pension benefits.
- What is Old Age Security?
- What is the Canada Pension Plan?
- Want some help planning?
- When should I apply?
The Old Age Security Program is the Government of Canada's largest pension program.
Old Age Security provides a basic pension to almost everyone over 65 who has lived in Canada for at least ten years. The amount you will receive depends on how long you have lived in Canada. In July 2004, the full basic Old Age Security pension was about $466.63 a month.
Guaranteed Income Supplement
If you are a low-income Old Age Security pensioner, you may also be eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement at age 65. At a maximum of about $554.59 a month (in July 2004), it is a very modest income, however, when combined with the maximum Old Age Security pension (you could receive about $1,021.22 a month or about $12,212 a year).
Other benefits are available to some low income seniors as early as age 60. If you are between 60 and 64 years old and are the spouse or common-law partner of an Old Age Security pensioner, you may qualify for the Allowance. The amount you receive depends on the combined income of you and your spouse or common-law partner.
If you are a low-income widow or widower between the ages of 60 and 64, you may be eligible for a monthly Allowance for the survivor. The amount you receive depends on how much income you have.
To see the current benefit rates, visit Old Age Security Payment Rates.
Almost all working Canadians over the age of 18 pay into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Your contributions to the CPP provide you and your dependents some financial protection throughout your life.
As a CPP contributor there are several kinds of CPP benefits to which you or your family may be entitled, depending on your circumstances.
You can receive a CPP retirement pension as early as age 60. The amount of your pension depends on how much and for how long you have contributed to the Canada Pension Plan. The age at which you decide to take your pension can also affect its amount.
As an example, if you have lived and worked in Canada most years between the ages of 18 and 65 and earned about the average Canadian wage ($40,500 in 2004), at age 65 you would receive a CPP retirement pension of about $814.17 a month.
If you become severely disabled to the extent that you cannot work at any job on a regular basis, you may receive a monthly disability benefit. You must be between the ages of 20 and 65 and have made enough contributions to the CPP in four of the last six years.
If you or your spouse or common-law partner dies or starts receiving a CPP disability benefit, your children under age 18 can receive benefits too. If your children are between the ages of 18 and 25 and are in full-time attendance at school or university, they can receive children's benefits. To qualify, the parent must have contributed to the CPP for a minimum number of years.
Survivor benefits for your surviving spouse
When you die, if you have contributed to the Plan for a minimum number of years, your surviving spouse or common-law partner may be eligible to receive a monthly survivor's pension.
A lump-sum death benefit
Upon your death, your estate may receive a one-time, lump-sum payment of up to $2,500.00 if you have contributed to the Plan for a minimum number of years.
To see the current rates for all monthly CPP benefits, visit Canada Pension Plan Payment Rates.
Another way to prepare for your retirement is by using the Canadian Retirement Income Calculator. It provides information on the retirement income system, including OAS and CPP benefits. You can use it to estimate your retirement income.
Your Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan pensions do not start automatically. You must apply in writing. We recommend that you apply about six months before you want your pension to begin. You can print an application form from this web site or request one by calling 1-877-454-4051.
If you are hearing or speech-impaired and use a teletypewriter (TTY), please call 1-800-255-4786.
- Your Old Age Security pension - what you need to know
- Your CPP retirement pension - what you need to know
- Will public pensions be there for me?
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