United States - Pensions and Benefits

If you have lived or worked in the United States and in Canada, or you are the survivor of someone who has lived or worked in the United States and in Canada, you may be eligible for pensions or benefits from the United States or Canada, or both.

The Agreement on Social Security between Canada and the United States came into force on August 1, 1984. A supplementary agreement came into force on August 1, 1984. A second supplementary agreement came into force on October 1, 1997.

What benefits are available?

If you contributed to both the Canada Pension Plan and the American pension program, or if you lived in Canada and in the United States, this agreement may help you qualify for:

  • Canadian old age and disability benefits
  • American old age and disability benefits.

If you are the widow, widower or child of a person who contributed to the pension programs of both countries, this agreement may help you qualify for:

  • Canadian survivor benefits
  • American survivor benefits.

You may qualify for a Canadian or an American benefit, or both. However, under the Agreement, the benefit paid by each country will be based solely on your creditable periods under that country's pension program. In other words, Canada will pay a benefit amount reflecting the portion of your periods that are creditable under Canada's pension program, and the United States will pay a benefit amount reflecting the portion of your creditable periods under the United States' pension program.

Am I eligible to receive a benefit?

Canadian benefits

The Canadian pension programs included in the Agreement are the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Old Age Security (OAS) program.

If you do not qualify for a Canada Pension Plan benefit, Canada will consider your periods of contribution to the pension program of the United States as periods of contribution to the Canada Pension Plan.

If you do not qualify for an Old Age Security pension based on your years of residence in Canada, Canada will consider your periods of contributions to the pension program of the United States after the age of 18 and after January 1, 1952 as periods of residence in Canada.

Note: Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) contributors

The Government of Canada’s international social security agreements cover Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan benefits only. If you contribute or have contributed to the QPP but not to the CPP, please consult the Quebec Pension Plan.

United States benefits

The pension program of the United States is similar to the Canada Pension Plan and covers most persons who work in the United States.

To qualify for a benefit under the pension program of the United States, you normally must have contributed to the program for a minimum period.

If you have not contributed to the pension program of the United States for the minimum period, under the Agreement, the United States will consider periods of contribution to the Canada Pension Plan as periods of contribution under the pension program of the United States.

How do I apply?

Print and complete one of the following application forms:

If you live in Canada

If you live in Canada and want to apply for Canadian benefits, see Pensions in Canada.

If you live in Canada and want to apply for American benefits, please contact our office at 1-800-454-8731 (TTY 1-800-255-4786).

If you live in United States

If you live in United States and want to apply for Canadian benefits:

Attach any necessary supporting documents, and return the application form to a social security office in the United States, or mail it to:

International Operations
Service Canada
Ottawa ON  K1A 0L4
CANADA

United States' Social Security Website

Resources

Note: The Agreement

This page contains general information on the Agreement on social security between Canada and the United States and may not describe all the provisions that apply to your situation. If you have any questions, please contact us. In the case of a discrepancy between this page and the Agreement, the wording and provisions of the Agreement prevail.