Changes to Old Age Security
The Government of Canada, in Budget 2012, introduced measures to ensure that the Old Age Security (OAS) program remains on a sustainable path. They will ensure that the OAS program remains strong and is there for future generations when they need it, as it is for all seniors who currently receive benefits. These measures will also promote greater flexibility for workers as they transition toward retirement, and improve services for seniors by putting in place a proactive enrolment regime.
The OAS is the single, largest federal program. It is financed from general government revenue and provides benefits to most Canadians 65 years of age and over. Canadians are living longer and healthier lives; there will be nearly twice as many seniors in 2030 as there were in 2011, growing from 5 million to 9.4 million. This will place significant pressures on the OAS program.
Eligibility for the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement
The Government of Canada has introduced measures to gradually increase the age of eligibility for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) between the years 2023 and 2029, from 65 to 67. People currently receiving OAS benefits will not be affected by the changes. Select your birth year from the following list to see how your eligibility may change for the OAS pension and the GIS:
The Government of Canada also introduced measures to gradually increase the ages at which the Allowance and the Allowance for the Survivor are provided, from 60-64 today to 62-66.
Voluntary deferral of the Old Age Security pension
The Government of Canada also introduced a voluntary deferral of the Old Age Security (OAS) pension that will give people the option to defer take-up of their OAS pension by up to five years past the age of eligibility, and subsequently receive a higher, actuarially adjusted pension.
Proactive enrolment for OAS benefits
To improve services for seniors, the Government of Canada will start a proactive enrolment process that will remove the need for many seniors to apply for the OAS pension and the GIS. This means that eligible seniors will no longer need to complete an OAS pension or GIS application.
Proactive enrolment will be implemented in a phased-in approach from 2013 to 2016. People who are eligible for proactive enrolment will be notified personally by mail. Service Canada will continue to send applications to those seniors who cannot be proactively enrolled for OAS benefits. Applications are also available on the Service Canada website.
Top Questions and Answers
- Why are changes to the Old Age Security program necessary?
- Are changes also being made to the eligibility requirements for the Canada Pension Plan?
- Are changes also being made to the way Old Age Security benefits are indexed?
- Visit the question and answer section to learn more about the changes to the Old Age Security Act.
Tools and resources
- Brochure explaining OAS program changes introduced in Budget 2012
- Retirement Planning
- Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
- Canadian Retirement Income Calculator
- Budget 2012 Web site
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