Although I do not consider anyone to have earned the right to call themselves a ‘senior’ until they reach the age of 80, the federal government considers you a senior when you turn 65.
Service Canada delivers the Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan programs and services on behalf of the federal government department of human resources and skills development.
The OAS pension plan is a monthly benefit available to most Canadians 65 years of age who meet the Canadian legal status and residence requirements.
Apply to receive benefits six months prior to your 65th birthday.
If you apply at any time after your 66th birthday, you will receive a back payment worth up to a total of 12 months of pension benefits.
To get an application kit, contact Service Canada, pick a kit up at a Service Canada Centre or print one from the web site www.servicecanada.gc.ca.
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you may be entitled to receive the OAS pension plan even if you are still working or have never worked.
To determine if you are eligible three factors need to be looked at—your age, your legal status and the number of years lived in Canada.
If you were not born in Canada or if you have not lived continuously in Canada since age 18, you must submit proof of legal status in Canada.
Also, you must submit a statement of all the dates you arrived in Canada and departed Canada from age 18 to present. You may be required to send your birth certificate.
The OAS pension is like a large “pie” that is divided into 40 equal portions.
If you qualify for the full pension, you are entitled to receive all 40 portions of the pie each month.
If you qualify for a partial pension, you will receive some, but not all, of the 40 portions each month.
Whether you qualify for a full or partial pension will depend on how long you have lived in Canada after the age of 18.
Pension payments will increase to reflect any increases in the cost of living as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Your pension will stop when you die.
OAS pension is taxable income. Each January, you will receive a T4-OAS tax information slip showing the amount of OAS pension you received during the previous year. You will need to submit the slip with your income tax return.
Sharen Marteny is a services consultant for seniors in Kelowna.