The Old Age Security (OAS) pension is a monthly payment available to most people 65 years of age and older who meet the Canadian legal status and residence requirements.
Your employment history is not a factor in determining eligibility: you can receive the OAS pension even if you have never worked or are still working.
Am I eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension?
If you are living in Canada, you must:
- be 65 years old or older
- be a Canadian citizen or a legal resident at the time we approve your Old Age Security pension application, and
- have resided in Canada for at least 10 years after turning 18.
If you are living outside Canada, you must:
- be 65 years old or older
- have been a Canadian citizen or a legal resident of Canada on the day before you left Canada, and
- have resided in Canada for at least 20 years after turning 18.
If neither of the above scenarios applies to you, you may still qualify for an Old Age Security pension from another country, from Canada, or from both countries if you have:
- lived in one of the countries with which Canada has established a social security agreement, or
- contributed to the social security system of one of the countries with which Canada has established a social security agreement.
Note: Changes to the age of eligibility
Starting in April 2023, the age of eligibility for the Old Age Security pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will gradually increase from 65 to 67 over six years, with full implementation by January 2029. This change will affect people born in 1958 and later.
Delaying your Old Age Security pension
As of July 2013, you can defer receiving your Old Age Security (OAS) pension for up to 60 months after the date you become eligible for an OAS pension in exchange for a higher monthly amount.
Learn more about deferring your OAS pension.
When do I apply?
In deciding when to apply for your Old Age Security pension, consider your personal financial situation as well as the following scenarios, if they apply to you.
The month after you turned 64 years old, you received from Service Canada
- a letter informing you that you could be eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension
- you will need to apply for your OAS pension as soon as possible by completing and mailing the application form enclosed in your letter
- a letter informing you that you were selected for automatic enrollment
- you will not have to apply for your OAS pension provided that the information in your letter is accurate.
The month after you turned 64 years old, you did not receive a letter from Service Canada
- If you wish to start receiving your Old Age Security (OAS) pension at age 65, you should apply for your OAS pension right away.
- If you have already reached 65, and you wish to start your OAS pension immediately, you should apply as soon as possible so you don’t lose any payments (we may be able to give you a retroactive payment for up to a maximum of 11 months from the date we receive your application).
You delayed receipt of your Old Age Security pension
If you chose to delay receipt of your OAS pension, you can apply up to 11 months before the date you want your OAS pension to start.
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.
You are incarcerated
If you are incarcerated, you can still apply for your Old Age Security pension, but your payments will be suspended for the duration of your incarceration.
How do I apply?
If you did not receive a letter from Service Canada informing you that you were selected for automatic enrollment, you must apply in writing for the Old Age Security pension. Complete and mail the Application for the Old Age Security pension form (ISP-3000).
To find out where to mail your application form, see Returning the form.
How much can I get?
The amount of your Old Age Security (OAS) pension will be determined by how long you have lived in Canada after the age of 18. Learn about how the Old Age Security pension is calculated.
For the period from April 1 to June 30, 2013, the maximum OAS pension amount was $546.07. Consult the table of Old Age Security payment amounts for current benefit rates.
OAS benefits are adjusted quarterly (in January, April, July and October) if there are increases in the cost of living as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
If you have a low income, you may be eligible to also receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
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 (ISP-1603OAS), 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.
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
See What you need to know while 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.