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What is Old Age Security (OAS) Pension?

    A monthly, taxable payment available to Canadians who are 65 years of age or older, the Old Age Security (OAS) pension is not tied to a person’s past employment history, unlike the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). As part of the country’s retirement income system for seniors, you need to meet requirements to be eligible; however, you can still receive the OAS pension whether you are still employed, or even if you’ve never worked. You can also gain access to it if you live outside of Canada.

    If you are currently living in Canada, to be eligible you must be 65 years of age or older, a citizen of Canada or a legal resident when the OAS application is approved, and must have lived in Canada for a minimum of 10 years since the age of 18. If you don’t currently live in Canada, to be eligible you must be 65+ years of age, have proof of Canadian citizenship (or legal residency in Canada) prior to leaving, and you have to have lived in Canada for a minimum of 20 years since age 18.

    It is important to note, if you worked outside of the country for a Canadian employer, your time abroad does count as “residing” in Canada.

    How Much Do You Get for Old Age Security in Canada?

    The amount you receive monthly is dependant on the time you lived in Canada after you turned 18. The maximum payment that can be received is $614.14, each month. 

    Canadians can gain access to their OAS monthly pension payment via direct deposit or a cheque. Direct deposits can also be made to bank accounts in the U.S. or other specified countries. If you are interested in gaining access to your monthly payment via the direct deposit option, you’ll have to sign up for it.

    Should You Take OAS at 65?

    If you want to gain access to your OAS pension when you turn 65, you can begin the process by sending an application the month after your 64th birthday. At times, Service Canada will enroll you automatically and send a letter of notification to alert you of this. If you are not enrolled automatically, you may want to think about completing the form and mailing it in on your own. You can also apply for it  through the Service Canada website.

    Canadians can receive their first OAS payment the month following their 65th birthday. With that said, you will receive a higher figure monthly, should you decide to delay this payment. This payment delay can be up to five years (60 months) after you hit 65. The longer you hold off on your OAS, the larger the payment will be monthly until age 70. Having said that, after you hit the age of 70, there will be no more increases to the pension because it is delayed, and you might risk losing the pension altogether. 

    Based on your income, you may also be eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). Requirements for this include being 65 years of age or older, living in Canada, getting an OAS pension payment, and having an income below $18,624 as a single, divorced, or widowed individual. If you do have a common-law partner or spouse, your combined income must be lower than $24,576 if your partner receives a full OAS pension or lower than $44,640 if they do not have access to the OAS monthly payment.

    Canadians can apply for the GIS in the same ways available for the OAS pension payments.

    Old Age Security Clawback

    To receive the OAS pension, you have to earn less than $128,149, annually. Alternatively, if you make over $79,054 annually (as of 2020), you will have to re-pay your OAS pension either partially, or in its entirety. The cap amount in 2019 was $77,580. 

    As such, you might be required to repay 15% of the surplus over this amount or even the entire amount of this monthly benefit. This “clawback” index is reviewed annually in the same fashion as personal tax credits and federal tax brackets.

    Old Age Security Payment Schedule

    OAS pension monthly payments are paid in-and-around the end of each month. Below is a payment schedule for 2020.

    • January 29, 2020
    • February 26, 2020
    • March 27, 2020
    • April 28, 2020
    • May 27, 2020
    • June 26, 2020
    • July 29, 2020
    • August 27, 2020
    • September 28, 2020
    • October 28, 2020
    • November 26, 2020
    • December 22, 2020

    View more information about Canada’s OAS pension. You can also call the toll-free number dedicated to the OAS pension by dialing 1-800-277-9914. You will need your social insurance number for the call.


    Christopher - BSc, MBA

    With over two decades of combined Big 5 Banking and Agency experience, Christopher launched Underbanked® to cut through the noise and complexity of financial information. Christopher has an MBA degree from McMaster University and BSc. from Western University in Canada.

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