How Does the Canadian Old Age Security Plan Work?


Quick Answer

The Old Age Security pension is a monthly payment made to people aged 65 and older who meet Canada's residence and legal status requirements, according to the Canadian government. Pension recipients with no employment history and those who are still employed may still receive benefits.

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Full Answer

Current Canadian residents who are citizens or legal residents aged 65 years or older may qualify for pension benefits, explains the Canadian government. Eligible current residents must have lived in Canada for a minimum of 10 years after turning 18 years old.

Canadian citizens or legal residents aged 65 and over who do not live in Canada at the time the pension application is submitted must have lived in Canada for a minimum of 20 years after turning 18 years old, notes the Canadian government. Canadians who live outside of Canada but work for a Canadian employer may count their time abroad as time lived in Canada.

Non-Canadian applicants may qualify for pension benefits if the home country of record has an established social security agreement with Canada or the applicants have contributed to that country's social security system, states the Canadian government.

The month after a potential pension benefit recipient turns 64 years old, Service Canada may send one of two letters. The first letter outlines potential benefit eligibility and includes an application. Recipients must complete and return the application in order to begin the application process. The second possible letter advises of automatic enrollment, in which case no application is required, instructs the Canadian government. If no letter is received, individuals can complete and return Form ISP-3000, the Application for the Old Age Pension.

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