Guaranteed Income Supplement
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The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) provides additional money, on top of the Old Age Security pension, to low-income seniors living in Canada. To be eligible for the GIS benefit, you must be receiving the Old Age Security pension and meet the following income requirements:
- Guaranteed Income Supplement rates for single, widowed or divorced pensioners
- Guaranteed Income Supplement rates for married or common-law partners, both receiving OAS
- Guaranteed Income Supplement rates for OAS pensioners whose spouse or common-law partner does not receive OAS
- Guaranteed Income Supplement rates for an OAS pensioner and Allowance rates for a spouse or common-law partner 60 to 64 years of age
- Allowance rates for a widowed spouse or common-law partner 60 to 64 years of age (Allowance for the survivor)
What is considered to be income?
When applying for the GIS benefit, you, and in the case of a couple, you and your spouse or common-law partner, must report the following income:
- Canada Pension Plan or Québec Pension Plan benefits
- private pension income and superannuation
- foreign pension income
- RRSPs that you cashed
- Employment Insurance benefits
- interest on any savings
- any capital gains or dividends
- income from any rental properties
- any employment income
- income from other sources such as workers' compensation payments, alimony, etc.
Benefits received from the Old Age Security program, including the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Allowance, are not included as income.
Applying for the Guaranteed Income Supplement
You must apply for the Guaranteed Income Supplement. For an application form, call 1 800 277-9914.
The type of documents you are required to provide will depend on your marital status, the type of application you are making, and whether you are applying for the first time.
The application kit will describe what documents, if any, you need to provide. If you are married may be asked to provide a marriage certificate. If you are living with a common-law partner (same sex or opposite sex), you may be asked to complete and sign a "statutory declaration" and provide other supporting documentation.
Renewing your benefits
Because the Guaranteed Income Supplement is based on your annual income, or the combined annual income of you and your spouse or common-law partner and that annual income can change from year to year, you must renew your GIS each year.
GIS can be automatically renewed simply by filing an income tax return by April 30.
If you do not file a tax return or if more information is needed, you will receive a renewal application form in the mail. If you receive a renewal form, you must complete and return it as soon as you have all the necessary income information, even if you file a tax return.
Each July, you will receive a letter that tells you the new amount of your monthly payment.
If you do not re-apply for the GIS benefit in the spring, or if your income is now too high to qualify for it, you will only get the basic Old Age Security pension starting in July of that year.