Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
for Canadian seniors, and the Allowance
The Federal Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is available to
low-income seniors living in Canada, who are receiving (or are eligible to
receive) the Old Age Security Pension (OAS). An application must be
filed to receive this supplement - it is not done automatically
when you file a tax return.
Once a person is receiving the GIS, it will
be automatically adjusted each year after the income tax return is
filed. However, if there is a reduction in your pension or
employment income, Service Canada may calculate your GIS benefit by
estimating your pension and employment income for the current year, instead of
using last year's pension and employment income. If you or your spouse
or common-law partner have a lower income this year for either of these
reasons, you should contact
Service Canada. Your benefits may increase.
For January to March 2013, the maximum
combined payment from OAS plus GIS is $1,286.51 ($546.07 OAS + $740.44 GIS) per month, for a single
person. This maximum is reached if there is no income other than OAS and
Income from GIS is tax-free. However, it is reported
on Line 150 of the personal income tax return, so is included in Line 150,
Total Income for Tax Purposes and Line 236, Net Income for Tax Purposes.
It is later deducted on Line 250 of the tax return, so is not included in
Taxable Income. See our article on Taxable
Income for an explanation of how this affects your income tax and
The amount of GIS payable depends on marital status and total income for the prior year.
Total income for GIS purposes is income from line 236 of the personal
income tax return, less
OAS and GIS income
the lesser of
your employment income minus allowable
deductions including CPP or QPP contributions and EI premiums
The following would be eligible
to receive GIS in 2013, based on 2012 income:
single persons with total income less than $16,560.
married/common-law couple, both OAS pensioners, with
combined total income less than $21,888
OAS pensioners whose spouse/common-law
partner is not
receiving OAS, with combined annual income less than $39,696
Although the GIS is normally determined based on the
previous year's income, if an OAS pensioner or spouse retires or has a
reduction in income for some other reason, as per s.
14 of the Old Age Security Act, Service Canada may use an income estimate
for the current year to determine eligibility. However, if the actual
income is later determined to be different from the estimated income, s. 18 of
the OAS Act allows for an adjustment of the GIS paid. This could result
in additional GIS being paid, or excess GIS being deducted from future
See the Old
Age Security Payment Rates to get an idea of how much you might receive
from OAS and GIS. If you receive the maximum OAS pension, the amount you might receive from GIS can be estimated using the
Service Canada interactive Tables
Currently, the GIS must be applied for. However,
proactive enrolment for OAS and GIS will be implemented in a phased-in
approach from 2013 to 2016, so that applying will no longer be
necessary. See Changes
to Old Age Security on the Service Canada website.
The Allowance, until April 2023, is available to 60 to 64 year old spouses/common-law
partners of OAS pensioners who receive the Guaranteed Income
Supplement (GIS). The Allowance is available when 2012 combined annual income
of both spouses (excluding OAS and GIS) is less than $30,672.
Allowance for the Survivor (ALWS)
The Allowance for
the Survivor may be available if your spouse or
common-law partner has died, you are 60 to 64 years old,
and your 2012 annual income (again, excluding OAS and GIS, etc.) is less than
$22,320. See the
web page on The Allowance for the Survivor.
Income from the Allowance is tax-free.
Applying for the Allowance
The Allowance mustbe applied for. For more
information, see Allowance
Program on the Service Canada website.
Change in eligibility age
Starting in April 2023, the ages at which the
Allowance and the Allowance for the Survivor are provided will also gradually
increase to 62-66. See Changes
to Old Age Security on the Service Canada website. This will affect
those born on or after April 1, 1963.
The information on this site is not intended to be a
substitute for professional advice. Each person's situation differs, and
a professional advisor can assist you in using the information on this web
site to your best advantage.
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