As Canadians approach 65, it’s really important that they fully understand all of the retirement income that may be available to them. Many Canadians have a company pension and/or RRSPs, and many more also qualify for the Canada Pension Plan.
However, not all Canadians know much about Old Age Security (OAS): whether they qualify for it, and if so, how much they’re likely to receive. Many are also unaware that they may have to apply for OAS online or on paper: receiving it is not always automatic. We take a look at why OAS might be important to you, the situations where you could have to apply for OAS, and how to submit an old age security application form.
What is OAS and why might you have to submit an old age security pension application?
OAS is a government benefit paid out to eligible Canadians aged 65-plus. To receive the full OAS pension amount, you need to have lived in Canada for at least 40 years after your 18th birthday. You don’t need to have paid into an OAS account (as you do to receive the Canada Pension Plan benefits), but for each year below 40 that you have lived in Canada, you receive one-fortieth less in OAS.
Also, if your income is over $79,054, you will have to repay some of your OAS benefits. Canadians earning $129,757 and over will not qualify for OAS benefits.
If you delay receiving OAS after your 65th birthday, the amount you will receive will increase by 7.2% for each year that you delay receiving it, up to a maximum increase of 36% if you wait until you’re 70.
For many Canadians, particularly those on a low income, OAS benefits can be a big financial help. However, there are some instances where they would need to submit an old age security pension application.
When you need to submit an OAS application form
The government will usually send out a letter to upcoming recipients of OAS, to inform them of their old age security application status. However, there are three instances when you would have to submit an OAS application form:
- If the letter asks you to apply for OAS
- If there is incorrect information in the letter
- If you don’t receive a letter from the government by the month following your 64th birthday.
How to prepare for an OAS application
Before you apply for OAS, you need to time your old age security application for when you want to start receiving this benefit. Many people want to start receiving OAS as soon as possible, and so they submit their old age security application form one month after their 64th birthday (this is the earliest date to submit both an OAS online application and a paper OAS application form).
However, there are plenty of people who want to delay submitting their OAS form, because they don’t want to receive the benefit at 65. This could be because:
- They are still working and OAS could be clawed back if they earn too much
- They don’t yet need the money
- They want to increase the amount of OAS they receive by delaying it until their 70th birthday
It can make a lot of financial sense to put off submitting your Canadian old-age security pension application. If you apply for OAS after your 70th birthday, as we’ve seen, you’ll receive 36% extra.
If, for example, you were to turn 70 this year and apply for OAS, instead of receiving the current maximum amount of $635.26, you would actually receive $863.95. Given that this would be almost $230 extra every month for the rest of your life, it’s not surprising that many Canadians delay submitting their OAS application form.
How to submit the old age security pension application
You can submit your OAS form online:
To access the OAS application form pdf online, you will need a My Service Canada Account. To apply for OAS online, you’ll need to register as a new user, either with your bank details, your provincial digital ID or GCKey.
Once you’re registered, you can apply for OAS online through the OAS application pdf form. You should give yourself at least an hour to complete the OAS online application.
You can apply with the Canadian old age security pension application on paper:
You just need to print out the OAS application pdf (form ISP-3550) and collect all of the original copies of the necessary documents. Fill out the OAS application pdf, as per the following instructions, and mail it along with your original documents.
At Service Canada, OAS applications are accepted, so you can drop off your old age security forms there (you can find one close to you on this government website). Also at Service Canada, OAS application documents can be scanned and printed for free.
Filling out the Canadian old age security application form
Before you complete your OAS application forms, you will need to be prepared to provide this information:
- Personal details (address, Social Insurance Number, age)
- When you want your OAS pension to start
- Your legal status and history of Canadian residence
- Details needed for the Guaranteed Income Supplement
- The financial institution you want your OAS to be paid into
You can also look at this reference guide for more details on how to fill in the OAS application pdf, applicable whether you apply for OAS online or on paper.
After you have submitted your old age security forms for your application, you will receive a decision letter with details of your old age security application status. The letter will state:
- How much you will receive
- When you will receive the first payment
- If there are any outstanding amounts owed to you
If you disagree with the decision
If you think the decision is incorrect, you can ask for it to be reviewed. You can either do this online, through your My Service Canada Account, or by filling in the Request for Reconsideration of an Old Age Security Decision form (ISP-3134).
You can drop the form off at a Service Canada office or post it to the return address on your decision letter.
How can you increase your retirement income?
For many Canadians with few retirement savings and no company pension, Old Age Security and the CPP pension don’t provide enough income to truly enjoy their retirement.
For homeowners aged 55-plus, there is an easy and effective way to live the kind of retirement you’ve always wanted. A CHIP Reverse Mortgage from HomeEquity bank allows you to cash in up to 55% of your home’s value. You can choose to receive the money in one lump sum or in regular monthly payments.
You can use the money for any purpose: to take vacations, carry out home renovations, or just to pay for monthly expenses. You don’t have to pay back what you owe until you sell your home or move out, so you don’t have to worry about monthly mortgage payments.
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