The Allowance is a benefit available to the spouses or common-law partners of Guaranteed Income Supplement recipients.
You qualify for the Allowance if you meet all of the following conditions:
- you are aged 60 to 64 (includes the month of your 65th birthday);
- your spouse or common-law partner receives an Old Age Security pension (OAS) and is eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS);
- you are a Canadian citizen or a legal resident;
- you reside in Canada and have resided in Canada for at least 10 years since the age of 18;
- your annual income (or in a case of a couple, your combined income) is less than the maximum annual income.
Other situations where you might qualify for the Allowance:
- If your spouse or common-law partner is incarcerated
- If you have not resided in Canada for at least 10 years since you turned 18, but you have resided or worked in a country that has a social security agreement with Canada, you may still qualify for a partial benefit. For the list of countries with which Canada has established a social security agreement, see Lived or living outside Canada.
Using your income information from your federal Income Tax and Benefit Return, we will review your eligibility for the Allowance every year. If you still qualify, your benefit will be automatically renewed. In July, you will receive a letter telling you either:
- that your benefit will be renewed;
- that your benefit will be stopped; or
- that your income information is required.
The Allowance stops the month after your 65th birthday, when you may become eligible for the OAS pension and possibly the GIS.
Note: Changes to the age of eligibility
Starting in April 2023, the age of eligibility for the Allowance will gradually increase from 60 to 62, with full implementation by January 2029.
If you are a sponsored immigrant, you are not eligible to receive the Allowance during your sponsorship period unless you have 10 years of residence in Canada after the age of 18, or your sponsorship agreement ends because of the following situations:
- suffers personal bankruptcy
- is imprisoned for more than six months
- is convicted of abusing you
If you are a non-sponsored immigrant, you may be eligible to receive the Allowance based on the number of years you have resided in Canada after age 18.
If you have lived in Canada for fewer than 10 years since you turned 18, but you have lived or worked in a country that has a social security agreement with Canada, you may be eligible for a partial benefit. Your Allowance entitlement will gradually increase with every year that you continue to reside in Canada until you have reached 10 years of residence. For more information, see Lived or living outside Canada.
When do I apply?
You should apply for the Allowance between 6 and 11 months before your 60th birthday.
You were unable to apply when you became eligible
If, due to a medical condition, you were unable to apply earlier or to ask someone to apply on your behalf, please contact us to obtain the Declaration of Incapacity form. If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, filling out and returning this form may allow you to receive your pension with an earlier start date.
How do I apply?
You must apply in writing for the Allowance. Complete and mail the Guaranteed Income Supplement or Statement of Income for the Allowance or Allowance for the Survivor application form (ISP-3025) for the payment year that applies to you along with the Application for the Allowance or Allowance for the Survivor form (ISP-3008). You will find these forms on the Old Age Security forms page.
To find out where to mail the forms, see Returning the form.
How much can I get?
The amount of the Allowance you receive depends on your marital status and your previous year’s income (or in the case of a couple, your combined income). Find out what income and deductions you must report.
For the period from April 1 to June 30, 2013, the maximum Allowance amount you could get if your spouse or common-law partner received the Guaranteed Income Supplement was $1,037.03. Consult the table of Old Age Security payment amounts for current benefit rates.
You must contact us if one of the following situations occurs, since it might change the amount of your Allowance payment:
- You or your spouse or common-law partner has a lower annual income due to a retirement or a reduction of pension income (in such cases, we can calculate your Allowance by estimating your income for the current year instead of using last year’s income)
- Your spouse or common-law partner is incarcerated
- You marry or separate, or your spouse or common-law partner dies.
Can someone else contact Service Canada on my behalf?
If you want to authorize a person to give and receive information to Service Canada on your behalf, you will need to print the Consent to Communicate Information to an Authorized Person form (ISP1603OAS), complete it, and mail it to us at the Service Canada office mentioned on the page Returning the form. This form does not provide authority for the person to apply for benefits on your behalf, change your payment address, or request/change the withholding of tax.
If an individual is incapable of managing his/her own affairs, another person or agency (a Trustee or someone with a Power of Attorney) may be appointed to act on the individual’s behalf. Contact us for the appropriate documentation.
I submitted my application. Now what?
Service Canada will inform you by mail whether your application was approved or not, or whether additional information or documentation is required to make a decision on your application.
When will my Allowance payments begin?
Your Allowance payments will begin during one of the following months, whichever is latest:
- the same month your spouse or common-law partner starts receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement;
- the month after you meet the eligibility requirements;
- the month after your 60th birthday;
- 11 months prior to the date we received your application (if you applied after your 60th birthday).
Can my Allowance payments ever stop?
Yes, your Allowance payments will stop if:
- you have not filed an individual Income Tax and Benefit Return with the Canada Revenue Agency by April 30, or if, by the end of June each year, we have not received the information about your net income (or in the case of a couple, your combined net income) for the previous year;
- you leave Canada for more than six consecutive months;
- your net income (or in the case of a couple, your combined net income) is above the maximum annual income;
- you are incarcerated in a federal penitentiary for two years or longer;
- you have reached the age of 65 (payments stop the month after your 65th birthday when you may be eligible for the Old Age Security pension);
- you divorce or separate from your spouse or common-law partner;
- your spouse or common-law partner is no longer eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement;
- your spouse or common-law partner dies (you may be eligible for the Allowance for the Survivor);
- you die (it is important that someone notify us about your death to avoid overpayment).
What I need to know when receiving my Allowance
The Allowance is a benefit under the Old Age Security program. See What you need to know when receiving the Old Age Security pension for information on such things as payment dates and rates, income tax and when to notify Service Canada.
What if I disagree with a decision?
If you are dissatisfied with the decision of Service Canada concerning your application for an Old Age Security pension or benefit, you may request a reconsideration of your case. You must make your request for reconsideration in writing within 90 days after you are notified in writing of the decision.