The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is created for low-income seniors in Canada that want to add to their life funds to support themselves throughout the most vulnerable years of life.
To find out how to apply for this monthly benefit, what are the eligibility requirements and what is the maximum income to qualify for GIS, keep reading our detailed guide.
Let’s jump straight in!
Who Is Qualified for GIS in Canada?
The Guaranteed Income Supplement is a monthly, non-taxable payment, introduced for low-income Old Age Security recipients.
You are entitled to GIS payment if you reside in Canada, your age is 65 or above, your annual income is below the annual threshold, and you receive the Old Age Security Pension (OAS).
The maximum income required to qualify for GIS benefits will highly depend on whether you’re single or married and your income level. For singles, the maximum income is calculated on the net income for the previous year, and for couples, the calculation is based on the combined annual net income for the prior year.
Here’s a breakdown of the GIS qualifications according to marital status and income level:
|Martial status||Income level|
|Single, widowed or divorced||Below $20,208|
|Your spouse/common-law partner receives OAS pension||Below $26,688|
|Your spouse/common-law partner does not receive OAS pension||Below $48,432|
|Your spouse/common-law partner receives Allowance||Below $37,392|
But what if you moved to Canada as an immigrant?
Immigrants are also eligible to apply for receiving GIS, but the conditions are different depending on whether you’re sponsored or a non-sponsored immigrant.
Sponsored immigrants who have been living in Canada for less than 10 years after the age of 18, do not fulfill GIS qualifications. Nevertheless, there are certain exceptions.
You can still qualify if:
- Your sponsor goes through personal bankruptcy
- Your sponsor has been incarcerated for more than 6 months
- Your sponsor has been convicted of abusing you
- Your sponsor dies.
Not sponsored immigrants
Non-sponsored immigrants who receive Old Age Security Pension (OAS) can qualify for GIS benefits.
How Much Can You Receive?
Check the GIS calculation table below to see how much you could receive for the months from July to September 2022, based on your income and marital status.
If You Are a Single, Widowed or Divorced Pensioner
|Martial status||Your annual income level||GIS monthly payment amount|
|Single, widowed or divorced||Below $20,208||$995.99|
If You Have a Spouse or Common-Law Partner
|Martial status||Your annual income level||GIS monthly payment amount|
|Your spouse/common-law partner receives the full OAS pension||Below $26,688||$599.53|
|Your spouse/common-law partner does not receive an OAS pension||Below $48,432||$995.99|
|Your spouse/common-law partner receives the Allowance||Below $37,392||$599.53|
As you can notice from the tables, the Guaranteed Income Supplement amount will largely depend on your living situation, whether you are single or living with a partner, as well as your total income.
You might be interested: Spousal RRSP
GIS Application Process
When applying for GIS, you must report your income and deductions regardless of your marital status. This should include:
- CPP or Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) benefits
- Employment Insurance benefits
- Interest and other investment income
- Capital gains and taxable Canadian dividends
- Net income from any rental properties
- Net employment or self-employment income
- Other income from sources (workers’ compensation payments and alimony)
Your report should not include the following payments and contributions:
- Payments from OAS, GIS Allowance, or Allowance for the Survivor program
- CPP or QPP contribution and your EI premium
- CPP or QPP contribution and your EI premium of net self-employment income
Next, let’s take a look at the GIS application process.
How to Apply for the GIS?
Applying for GIS can be done online or by filling out a paper GIS application form that you will receive in the letter sent to you by Service Canada. Let’s go over the the application process.
1. Determine if You Need to Apply
Usually, the CRA will send you a letter to inform you that you are a recipient of the GIS. Applying for GIS is necessary in the following cases:
- If you receive a letter from Service Canada asking you to apply
- If the letter sent contains incorrect information
- If you’re already a recipient of OAS, but have never received the GIS payment.
2. Ensure You Have the Needed Information
The information you need to have ready before applying for GIS includes:
- Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Information about your spouse or common-law partner
- Information about the countries where you have lived since age 18
- Your bank details to sign up for direct deposit
- The date you prefer for your GIS payment to start
- Your reduction in employment or pension income (if applicable)
Should you opt for an online application, you must make sure you have everything you need to complete your application successfully. This is because your session expires after 20 minutes of inactivity.
3. Submit Your Application
There are two ways you can submit your application:
If you’re applying online, you need to be at least 1 month past your 64th birthday and not have a legal representative on your account.
Furthermore, you’ll need to create a My Service Canada account if you don’t have one already. You’ll get a personal access code before completing the registration process.
Now, let’s check out how you can submit a physical application for GIS:
In case you want to apply for both the OAS and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, you’ll need to fill out the form included with your letter, or download Form ISP-3550. Alternatively, if you’re only applying for the GIS, you’ll need the Form ISP-S025. Aside from a complete form, you’ll need to attach true copies of the necessary documents.
Then, mail the paperwork to Service Canada, or bring it in person to a Service Canada office.
documents. Then, mail them to Service Canada, or bring them in person to a Service Canada office.
4. Wait for a Response
After you send your application, you should wait for Service Canada’s response. You’ll receive a letter with either a decision regarding your application, or a request for further information.
The decision letter will include the monthly amount you’ll receive, the payment date, as well as any past owed payments.
5. Review Your Application
After you have applied for receiving a guaranteed income supplement, you can log in into your “My Service Canada Account” to check your application status or you can simply contact Service Canada.
6. In Case you Disagree With the Decision
After you receive your decision letter, you have 90 days to request reconsideration in writing if you disagree. Your request will be reviewed by a different staff than those who made the original decision.
After your application has been reviewed and you disagree with the new reconsideration, the next step would be to contact the Social Security Tribunal to request an appeal.
Further reading: What Is the CPP in Canada?
What Are the GIS Payment Dates in 2022?
GIS payments for the year 2022 are issued on the following dates:
- January 27
- February 24
- March 29
- April 27
- May 27
- June 28
- July 27
- August 29
- September 27
- October 27
- November 28
- December 21
You can expect your GIS Payment on the same dates as the Old Age Security Benefits.
Pensioners should expect to receive their first payment within one to two working days from the issuing date. Alternatively, if you are receiving a mailed cheque, you should receive it within 1-2 weeks.
Learn more: Senior Advantage Canada
Now that we’ve gone through the qualification and application process, read along to find out about what happens while you are receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
The Guaranteed Income Supplement will be combined with your Old Age Security pension every month. You will get the first payment on the date specified in your decision letter, or the same month you begin receiving your OAS.
You Must File Your Taxes Timely
Although the Guaranteed Income Supplement payment is non-taxable, you still have to file your taxes by April 30 each year to eliminate any possibility of disrupted payments.
If Your Income Changes
In case your spouse/common-law partner has started receiving lower income due to retirement, or certain benefits have been reduced or cut off, you should contact Service Canada. They can re-evaluate your income and set your benefit payment based on your current income, instead of last year’s income.
If Your Situation Changes
Depending on your living situation, different rules apply for different scenarios. There are several situations that may affect your GIS payment.
If you’re outside of Canada for 6 months
If you have been living outside of Canada longer than 6 months while you collecting the GIS, Service Canada will determine if you’re still eligible for those payments. To do so, they will compare the information with Canada Border Service Agency and will calculate how much you have been overpaid and if you need to repay that amount.
To avoid overpayment and penalties for being accused of giving false or misleading information, Service Canada strongly advises you to contact them if you plan on leaving Canada for more than 6 months and contact them again once you return, so they can restart your payments.
If your marital status changes
You must contact Service Canada if you get married, enter a common-law union, divorce/separate, or your spouse or common-law partner passes away.
If you and your partner live apart
If you and your partner live apart for reasons you can’t control, such as long-term care for one or both partners, it’s possible that you can receive a higher amount. you should download the (ISP0340) form which is the statement for Spouses or Common-law Partners Living Apart for Reasons beyond their Control and mail the form to a Service Canada office.
If you are in jail
If you’re serving a prison sentence for two years or more, your GIS benefit will stop during this period of time. To start receiving your payments again once you’re out of prison, you must notify Service Canada in writing with your release date and you will be paid the first month you are released.
If your spouse or partner is in jail
You should contact Service Canada for further guidance in case your spouse/common-law partner is in federal prison.
Finally, there are several situations which could cause you to stop receiving your GIS benefits. These include not filing your tax return by April 30, if you have not provided Service Canada with your income for the previous year or if your income is higher than the annual threshold, if you leave Canada longer than 6 months, or you’re incarcerated for more than 2 years.
Related article: What Is a RRIF?
Other GIS Benefits
If you or your spouse meet the GIS eligibility requirements, you’re also entitled to additional benefits such as Allowance and Allowance for the Survivor.
Your spouse will be eligible for the Allowance benefit if they’re:
- Is aged 60-64
- Is a citizen of Canada or a legal Canadian citizen
- Lives in Canada or has lived in Canada for minimum of 10 years since turning 18
- Your combined income is lower than the maximum yearly income threshold for the Allowance benefit
Allowance for the Survivor
On the other hand, you can apply for the Allowance for the Survivor benefit if your spouse passed away. You are eligible for this benefit if:
- You are aged between 60-64
- You are a resident of Canada
- Have an annual income less than the max threshold annual income for the Allowance for the Survivor benefit
- You have not re-married after the death of your spouse
Older generations above 60 are the most vulnerable age group in Canada and need access to funds necessary to have a normal life. Luckily, the GIS benefit was introduced to specifically serve the aging population thanks to its simple requirements and application process.
While OAS income is taxable, the GIS is a non-taxable monthly payment guaranteed for low-income seniors in Canada.
You must be 65 or older, reside in Canada and are already a receiver of OAS, as well as have an annual income lower than the maximum amount.
You are still eligible to receive GIS if you are employed or self-employed and your earning amount is up to $5000. Everything above $5000 will reduce your GIS payment by 50 cents for every dollar of your income.
Low-income residents of Canada that are aged 65 or older and receive an Old Age Security (OAS) pension whose annual income is lower than the annual threshold income, are qualified to receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
Your income must be less than $20,208 per year if you’re a single senior. Senior couples in which one spouse does not receive an OAS pension can qualify if their mutual income is less than $48,432 and less than $26,688 if one spouse does receive a full OAS pension. And if one of the spouses receives the Allowance, then their combined income should be less than $37,392.