Allowance for the Survivor

The Allowance for the Survivor is a benefit available to people who have a low income, who are living in Canada, and whose spouse or common-law partner is deceased.

Am I eligible?

You qualify for the Allowance for the Survivor if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • you are aged 60 to 64 (includes the month of your 65th birthday);
  • you are a Canadian citizen or a legal resident;
  • you reside in Canada and have resided in Canada for at least 10 years since the age of 18Footnote 1;
  • your spouse or common-law partner has died and you have not remarried or entered into a common-law relationship;
  • your annual income is less than the maximum annual income.

Using your income information from your federal Income Tax and Benefit Return, we will review your eligibility for the Allowance for the Survivor every year. If you still qualify, your benefit will be automatically renewed. In July, you will receive a letter telling you either:

  • that your benefit will be renewed;
  • that your benefit will be stopped; or
  • that your income information is required.

The Allowance for the Survivor stops the month after your 65th birthday, when you may become eligible for the Old Age Security pension and possibly the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Note: Changes to the age of eligibility

Starting in April 2023, the age of eligibility for the Allowance for the Survivor will gradually increase from 60 to 62, with full implementation by January 2029.

Sponsored immigrants

If you are a sponsored immigrant, you are not eligible to receive the Allowance for the Survivor during your sponsorship period unless you have 10 years of residence in Canada after the age of 18, or your sponsorship agreement ends because of the following situations:

Your sponsor:

  • suffers personal bankruptcy
  • is imprisoned for more than six months
  • is convicted of abusing you
  • dies

Non-sponsored immigrants

If you are a non-sponsored immigrant, you may be eligible to receive the Allowance for the Survivor based on the number of years you have resided in Canada after age 18.

If you have lived in Canada for fewer than 10 years since you turned 18, but you have lived or worked in a country that has a social security agreement with Canada, you may be eligible for a partial benefit. Your Allowance for the Survivor entitlement will gradually increase with every year that you continue to reside in Canada until you have reached 10 years of residence. For more information, see Lived or living outside Canada.

When do I apply?

You should apply for the Allowance for the Survivor between 6 and 11 months before your 60th birthday.

You were unable to apply when you became eligible

If, due to a medical condition, you were unable to apply earlier or to ask someone to apply on your behalf, please contact us to obtain the Declaration of Incapacity form. If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, filling out and returning this form may allow you to receive your pension with an earlier start date.

How do I apply?

You must apply in writing for the Allowance for the Survivor. Complete and mail the Guaranteed Income Supplement or Statement of Income for the Allowance or Allowance for the Survivor application form (ISP-3025) for the payment year that applies to you along with the Application for the Allowance or Allowance for the Survivorform (ISP-3008). You will find these forms on the Old Age Security forms page.

To find out where to mail the forms, see Returning the form.

How much can I get?

The amount of the Allowance for the Survivor you receive depends on your previous year's income. Find out what income and deductions you must report.

For the period from April 1 to June 30, 2013, the maximum Allowance for the Survivor amount you could get was $1,161.01. Consult the table of Old Age Security payment amounts for current benefit rates.

You must contact us if one of the following situations occurs, since it might change the amount of your Allowance for the Survivor payment:

  • You have a lower annual income due to a retirement or a reduction of pension income (in such cases, we can calculate your Allowance by estimating your income for the current year instead of using last year's income)
  • You remarry or enter into a common-law relationship.

Can someone else contact Service Canada on my behalf?

If you want to authorize a person to give and receive information to Service Canada on your behalf, you will need to print the Consent to Communicate Information to an Authorized Person form (ISP1603OAS), complete it, and mail it to us at the Service Canada office indicated on the page Returning the form.

This form does not provide authority for the person to apply for benefits on your behalf, change your payment address, or request/change the withholding of tax.

If an individual is incapable of managing his/her own affairs, another person or agency (a Trustee or someone with a Power of Attorney) may be appointed to act on the individual’s behalf. Contact us for the appropriate documentation.

I submitted my application. Now what?

Service Canada will inform you by mail whether your application was approved or not, or whether additional information or documentation is required to make a decision on your application.

When will my Allowance for the Survivor payments begin?

Your Allowance for the Survivor payments will begin during one of the following months, whichever is latest:

  • the month after the death of your spouse or common-law partner;
  • the month after you meet the eligibility requirements;
  • the month after your 60th birthday;
  • 11 months prior to the date we received your application (if you applied after your 60th birthday).

Can my Allowance for the Survivor payments ever stop?

Yes, your Allowance for the Survivor payments will stop if:

  • you have not filed an individual Income Tax and Benefit Return with the Canada Revenue Agency by April 30, or if, by the end of June each year, we have not received the information about your net income for the previous year;
  • you leave Canada for more than six consecutive months;
  • your net income is above the maximum annual income;
  • you are incarcerated in a federal penitentiary for two years or longer;
  • you have reached the age of 65 (payments stop the month after your 65th birthday when you may be eligible for the Old Age Security pension);
  • you have since remarried or have lived in a common-law relationship for more than 12 months;
  • you die (it is important that someone notify us about your death to avoid overpayment).

What I need to know when receiving my Allowance for the Survivor

The Allowance for the Survivor is a benefit under the Old Age Security program. See What you need to know when receiving the Old Age Security pension for information on such things as payment dates and rates, income tax and when to notify Service Canada.

What if I disagree with a decision?

If you are dissatisfied with the decision of Service Canada concerning your application for an Old Age Security pension or benefit, you may request a reconsideration of your case. You must make your request for reconsideration in writing within 90 days after you are notified in writing of the decision.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

If you have not resided in Canada for at least 10 years since you turned 18, but you have resided or worked in a country that has a social security agreement with Canada, you may still qualify for a partial benefit. For the list of countries with which Canada has established a social security agreement, see Lived or living outside Canada.

Return to footnote 1 referrer