OAS Pension

As we grow older, having a steady income becomes vital. For Canadians, the Old Age Security pension is a cornerstone of financial security in retirement. Let's break down what the OAS pension is all about, who can get it, how to apply, and the benefits it offers in a friendly, easy-to-understand way.

What is the Old Age Security Pension?

The Old Age Security (OAS) pension is a government-provided monthly payment available to most Canadians aged 65 and older. Unlike the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), which is based on your employment history and contributions, OAS is a non-contributory, residence-based program. This means that eligibility is primarily determined by your age and years of residency in Canada.

Who is Eligible for the OAS Pension?

To qualify for the Old Age Security pension, you must meet the following criteria:

1. You Must Be 65 or Older
This is the first and most important rule. You need to be at least 65 years old to start receiving OAS payments.

2. You Must Be a Canadian Resident or Citizen
You need to be a Canadian citizen or legal resident when your application is approved.

3. You Must Have Lived in Canada
For at Least 10 Years: If you’ve lived in Canada for at least 10 years since you turned 18, you’re on the right track.

If You’ve Lived Outside Canada: You might still qualify if you:
  • Lived in Canada for at least 20 years after turning 18.
  • Lived or worked in a country that has a social security agreement with Canada. These agreements can help you meet the residency requirement.

How Much Can You Get from OAS?

Old Age Security Pension Maximum Payments Amounts and Income Thresholds (July to September 2024)


Maximum monthly payment amount

To receive the OAS your annual net world income in 2023 must be

65 to 74


Less than $142,609

75 and over


Less than $148,179

Other Old Age Security benefits:

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS):
  • If your income is low, you might get an extra payment on top of your OAS pension.
  • For a single person, the maximum GIS payment can be up to $1,072.93 per month.
  • For couples, where both partners get OAS and GIS, the combined maximum monthly payment is up to $1,291.68.

  • If you’re between 60 and 64 and your spouse or common-law partner gets OAS, you might be eligible for the Allowance.
  • The maximum monthly payment for the Allowance is up to $1,364.17.

Allowance for the Survivor:
  • If you’re a low-income widow or widower aged 60 to 64, you might qualify for this benefit.
  • The maximum monthly payment for the Allowance for the Survivor is up to $1,626.20.

Increased Old Age Security Pension at Age 75:

You will automatically receive a 10% increase in your Old Age Security pension beginning in July 2022 if you are or will be 75 years of age or older in June 2022. The month after your 75th birthday is when you will receive the increment if your 75th birthday falls after July 1, 2022.

How to Apply for the Old Age Security Pension?

Applying for the Old Age Security pension is simpler than you might think. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Automatic Enrollment:
Many Canadians are automatically enrolled and will receive a notification from Service Canada a few months before they turn 65. If you do not receive this notification, you will need to apply.

2. The Application Process:

Step 1: Get the Application Form:
You can get the application form from the Service Canada website or visit a Service Canada office.

Step 2: Fill Out the Form:
Provide your personal details, including:
  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Proof of your legal status in Canada if you’re not a citizen (like a Permanent Resident Card)
  • Your residency history
  • Your banking information for direct deposit

Step 3: Submit the Form:
You can submit your completed application form in one of these ways:
  • Online: Through your My Service Canada Account
  • By Mail: Send it to the Service Canada office address listed on the form
  • In Person: Drop it off at a Service Canada office

Step 4: Wait for Confirmation:
Once you’ve submitted your application, Service Canada will review it. They’ll send you a letter confirming whether you’re eligible and how much you’ll receive.

What to Do If You Disagree with an Old Age Security Pension Decision?

First things first, carefully read the decision letter you received from Service Canada. This letter will explain why your application was approved or denied and provide specific details that led to the decision. Understanding these reasons will help you formulate your appeal.

Steps to Appeal an OAS Decision

If you disagree with the decision, here’s how you can appeal:

1. Request a Reconsideration:
The initial step in the appeal process is to request a reconsideration. This is essentially asking Service Canada to take another look at your application, but this time, a different agent will review it.

How to Request a Reconsideration:
  • Timeline: You need to submit your request within 90 days from the date you received the decision letter.
  • Write a Letter: Write a letter explaining why you disagree with the decision. Be sure to include any new or additional information that supports your case.
  • Send Your Request: Mail your reconsideration request to the Service Canada office listed on your decision letter, or submit it in person at a Service Canada office.

2. Appeal to the Social Security Tribunal:
If you’re still not satisfied with the reconsideration outcome, you can take your appeal to the Social Security Tribunal of Canada.

How to Appeal to the Social Security Tribunal:
  • Timeline: File your appeal within 90 days from the date you receive the reconsideration decision.
  • Application Form: Complete the Notice of Appeal form, which you can find on the Social Security Tribunal’s website.
  • Include Supporting Documents: Attach copies of your original application, the reconsideration decision letter, and any additional evidence or documentation.
  • Submit Your Appeal: Send your completed appeal form and documents to the Social Security Tribunal by mail or through their online submission process.

3. General Division and Appeals Division:
The Social Security Tribunal has two levels:
  • General Division: This is where your appeal will be heard first. A tribunal member will review your case and make a decision.
  • Appeals Division: If you disagree with the General Division’s decision, you can appeal to the Appeals Division, which is the final level of appeal.

Benefits of the OAS Pension

The OAS pension gives you a regular income to help cover your expenses in retirement. The amount you get depends on how long you’ve lived in Canada since you turned 18. The maximum monthly payment is about $790.16, and this can go up a bit every few months to keep up with inflation.

Additional Benefits
  • Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS): Low-income OAS recipients may also qualify for the GIS, which provides additional financial support.
  • Allowance and Allowance for the Survivor: These benefits are available to low-income individuals aged 60 to 64 who are the spouse, common-law partner, or surviving spouse/partner of an OAS recipient.

OAS Pension Clawback

It’s important to note that the OAS pension is subject to a clawback, also known as the OAS Recovery Tax. If your net income exceeds a certain threshold, you may have to repay part or all of your OAS pension. The repayment amount is calculated at a rate of 15% of your income above the threshold.

The Old Age Security pension is a big part of Canada’s plan to help seniors stay financially secure. Knowing the ins and outs of who can get it, how to apply, and what benefits it offers can make a big difference in your retirement planning. If you have any questions or need a hand with your application, don’t hesitate to reach out to Service Canada or talk to a financial advisor.