What is a Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)?

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As we grow old, we can rely on a number of government supplements to help us in our old age. There are a few benefits that provide a monthly sum to help pensioners be able to reside comfortably after their retirement. In Canada, the elderly are financially taken care of under the Old Age Security (OAS) Act.

The OAS Act dictates that only Canadian residents over the age of 65 can enroll for the pension. In the case you decide to delay your first pension payout, you are eligible to receive an even higher Old Age Security pension for each month.

The OAS pension amount is typically $618.45 monthly and is taxable. In most cases, pensioners require much more than that to survive as the cost of living in Canada rises. Extra payouts are available to the elderly based on their income. 

The Guaranteed Income Supplement provides an additional source of income for pensioners in the form of a monthly non-taxable benefit. The GIC is given only in addition to the Old Age Security (OAS). There are some rules of eligibility required by the government before payouts are given.

Only pensioners who are residents in Canada, are currently receiving Old Age Security, and have an income less than the maximum set rate by the government can receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Any income that is reported as net on your income tax return, excluding the OAS given to you can be considered in order to meet the GIS criteria. 

What are the Maximum Allowed Income Levels for GIS?

The government has factored the monthly supplement amount by setting a bar on how much your salary can be before you are no longer eligible to receive the GIS benefit.

The maximum income rates set are dependent on two factors: your marital status and whether your spouse is claiming the OAS or the Allowance. In total, there are four various marital status rates outlined by the government in order to be eligible for the GIC.

Firstly, if you are a single, widowed or divorced OAS pensioner with a maximum allowed income of $18,600, you would be eligible. That would translate to a monthly amount of $916.38.

For married or common-law OAS pensioners whose spouse is also an OAS pensioner, you can look to receive $551.63 if your total maximum combined income is $24,576. If your spouse is not an OAS pensioner then you can look to make $916.30 if your combined income is no greater than $44,592. 

The last category is for married or common-law OAS pensioners who have a spouse already receiving the Allowance and have a maximum combined income of $34,416.

They can expect to receive $551.63 monthly. It is important to note that these set levels can be modified on a quarterly basis therefore, if you are wondering how your GIS payments are calculated, look no further. Your GIS government benefit is deducted from the maximum payable by 50 cents for every dollar you make.

To find out more about how your total GIS amount is calculated, you can look at the rate tables set out by the government. It is essential to check service canada’s website for the most up-to-date pension amounts to ensure you are getting the correct amounts based on your maximum allowed income.

How Do I Apply for the GIS?

For interested parties looking to apply for GIS, you might have already come across the application for other monthly benefits, such as the OAS. More to the point, the application would have already given you a checkbox to select in the case you were also interested in enrolling for the GIS benefit.

A separate application by the government would then be sent to you by mail. On the off chance, you did not reach the eligibility criteria for GIS when you first applied for the OAS payment, you can request an application by reaching out to Service Canada.

Once your request is approved and you start receiving GIS, you can automatically renew your supplement payout by submitting your completed income tax return.

There are a few cases in which you would not be eligible for GIS, which is important to note before you start applying. For example, any sponsored immigrants are not entitled to receive any GIS payments during the time of their sponsorship in Canada.

Another reason you can be denied eligibility is if you were convicted of a crime and incarcerated in federal prison for at least two years or more. For eligible pensioners, the GIS is not considered as welfare and is solely intended to provide aid to low-income seniors.

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Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.

Kareena Maya is a freelance writer focused on the personal finance and travel spaces. He frequently writes about credit cards, banking, student loans, insurance, travel rewards and more. His work has been featured in publications such as Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Credit Karma, Finance Buzz, The Ascent and Student Loan Planner.