Monday 23 May 2016

Thinking about retirement? What can our Government do to help?

An interesting and informative discussion was presented by Citizen Services Specialist, Bill Gregory, at the Bridgetown and Area Library on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.  The subjects under discussion were the Service Canada programs and services for seniors; the Canada Pension Plan; Old Age Security; the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Canada Pension Disability, all intertwined with questions and answers from those participating.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) – Every person in Canada over the age of 18 years and with work employment earnings over $3,500.00 per year can contribute to the CPP from that age until you begin receiving CPP Retirement Pension.  You can receive a full CPP retirement pension at age 65 or receive it as early as age 60 with a reduction, or as late as age 70 with an increase.   If you continue to work while receiving your CPP retirement pension, and are under age 70, you can continue to participate in the CPP. Your CPP contributions will go toward post-retirement benefits which will increase your retirement income.  Couples who live together and are at least 60 years of age can apply for and receive CPP retirement pensions, and if only one of you is a CPP contributor, you can share that one pension for income tax purposes.
CPP benefits include, among others, survivor benefits and disability benefits.  The survivor benefit includes a death benefit of up to a one-time maximum amount of $2,500.  To qualify for the disability benefit you must have sufficient contributions to the CPP, be less than 65 years of age, and have a ‘severe and prolonged’ disability as defined by CPP legislation.
Old Age Security Pension (OAS)– To qualify for an OAS pension while living in Canada, you must be 65 years of age or more, must have lived in Canada for a minimum of 10 years after age 18, and you must be a Canadian citizen or legal resident of Canada at the time of pension approval.  In April 2013, Service Canada began sending letters to eligible seniors for automatic enrollment.
A supplemental OAS benefit is the Guaranteed Income Supplement.  In order to qualify, you must be a Canadian resident, must be eligible for an OAS pension, and must meet the income requirements.
These were just a few of the points discussed.  The Canadian Retirement Income Calculator provides retirement income information, including the OAS Pension and CPP retirement benefits.  For more detailed information you can call 1-800-277-9914 or go to the Service Canada website at
Service Canada provides access to a wide range of Government of Canada programs and services. Here are a few examples:
     Apprenticeship Incentive Grant/Apprenticeship Completion Grant
     Canada Apprentice Loan
     Canada Education Savings Grant/Canada Learning Bond
     Social Insurance Number
     Universal Child Care Benefit
     Benefits for parents of critically ill children
Submitted by Phyllis Nixon, author, retiree, and dedicated library patron.


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