Your Old Age Security pension - what you need to know
- How your age affects your pension
- How your income may affect your pension
- How long you have lived in Canada affects your pension
- Receiving your pension outside of Canada
How your age affects your pension
Your Old Age Security pension begins the month after you turn 65. However, it does not begin automatically. You must apply in writing by using the Old Age Security Application kit, preferably six months before your 65th birthday.
If you apply late, meaning anytime after age 65, you may receive up to 12 months of retroactive payments. Your retroactive payments are calculated from the month that your application is received.
Unlike the Canada Pension Plan retirement pension, you cannot request your Old Age Security pension before age 65.
How your income may affect your pension
If you are a high-income senior, your Old Age Security pension may be reduced.
The Old Age Security pension is reduced by 15% of the amount by which a pensioner's individual net income is above a set limit ($56,968 in 2002). The full pension is eliminated when a pensioner's net income is $92,381 or more.
Currently about 5% of Old Age Security pensioners have their benefit reduced and only 2% lose the full benefit. This is known as the Old Age Security Repayment for residents of Canada. For foreign residents it is known as the Old Age Security Recovery Tax.
How long you have lived in Canada affects your pension
The amount of your Old Age Security pension depends on the number of years you have lived in Canada as an adult. You will receive the full pension if you have lived in Canada for at least 20 years since you turned 18. If you have lived in Canada for less time than that, you may qualify for a partial pension.
Canada has agreements in place with many countries to help you if you have lived or worked in another country. If you have lived in one of these countries and/or contributed to their social security system, you may qualify for a pension from that country, from Canada, or from both countries. Visit International Benefits for more details.
Receiving your pension outside Canada
You can receive your Old Age Security pension outside Canada if you lived in Canada for at least 20 years after reaching age 18. You may also receive benefits outside of Canada if you lived or worked in a country that has a social security agreement with Canada and are considered to meet the 20-year residence requirement.
If you do not fall into either of the above categories, you can only receive your Old Age Security pension for up to six months outside Canada. Your pension payments can be started again if you decide to return to live in Canada.
The Guaranteed Income Supplement, the Allowance, and Allowance for the survivor will be stopped if you are absent from Canada for more than six months.
Most recipients will receive their cheque in the local currency of their country of residence.
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