What to Do Following a Death

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What to Do Following a Death

Death is a fact of life we must all face at some point. Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult. Whether the death is anticipated or unexpected, we will be confronted with diverse emotions and critical decisions during a difficult time. Government issued death certificates contain the individual’s full name, gender, date of death, place of death, place of birth, marital status, usual residence of the deceased, registration number, and date of registration. Without a death certificate, you cannot legally remarry, arrange for disposition of remains, file for benefits, or access the financial accounts of the deceased. We hope the information and resources gathered on this site will be of assistance to you.

What to Do Following a Death

  • Call the attending physician if there is an expected death. If the death is unexpected, there is no doctor available and no emergency services in your area, or you are concerned or uncertain about the circumstances surrounding a death, contact your local coroner’s office or the Office of the Chief Coroner at http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/DeathInvestigations/office_coroner/coroner.html.
  • If your arrangements will include a funeral or a direct disposition you may contact a funeral home or a transfer service. All funeral homes must offer an inexpensive service known as ‘direct disposition’. Transfer Services are companies that may only offer the ‘direct disposition’ option. This option includes the removal of the deceased from the place of death, the placement of the body in a container or casket, the delivery of the body to the cemetery or crematorium and the filing of necessary documentation. It does not include visitation or services with the body present. Funeral directors can help you make all the arrangements for funerals. For more information, contact the Board of Funeral Services (416-979-5450 / 1 800 387-4458).
  • Should your arrangements also include burial or cremation the cemetery or crematorium you choose can help you make the necessary arrangements. If you have questions relating to cemeteries and crematoriums and the services and supplies that they offer, contact the Ministry of Government Services, Cemeteries Section (416-326-8393 / 1 800 268-1142).
  • There are organizations such as Bereaved Families of Ontario, the Ontario Psychological Association, and Distress Centres who can help you through this time.

The detail information that helps you identify some of the steps to take when someone passes away you can find at the Service Canada website: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/lifeevents/loss.shtml.

Generally, there are four steps you have to take following someone’s death:

1. Contact a Funeral Home or Transfer Service

2. Obtain a Death Certificate

3. Make changes, transfers and cancellations

  • Old Age Security (OAS) and/or Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
  • Passport
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Canada Revenue Agency

4. Apply for benefits, pensions and other survivors’ benefits:

  • the death benefit: a one-time payment to, or on behalf of, the estate of a deceased CPP contributor;
  • the survivor’s pension: a monthly pension paid to the survivor of a deceased CPP contributor;
  • the children’s benefit: a monthly benefit for dependent children of a deceased CPP contributor;
  • the allowance for the survivor

The detail descriptions of all these steps you can find below.

1. Contact a funeral home or transfer service

Funeral directors and funeral boards can help you make all the arrangements for funerals. Consult your local yellow pages, or contact Ontario funeral board:

Board of Funeral Services
Toronto Office
77 Bay Street
Suite 2810
Box 117
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2C8
Telephone: 416-979- 5450
Toll Free: 1-800-387-4458
Fax: 416-979-0384
Email: info@funeralboard.com

BURIAL PERMITS

What is a burial permit and when do you need it?

Funeral services, including cremation, cannot be performed until a burial permit is issued.  Funeral Directors usually look after this requirement for the family. If the death occurs in Ontario but the burial or other disposition is to take place outside of Ontario, the body cannot be removed until an Ontario burial permit is obtained. A funeral director usually assists, or may make these arrangements. If the death occurs outside of Ontario but the burial or other disposition is to take place in Ontario, a burial, transit or removal permit is required from the jurisdiction where the death occurred.

DEATH REGISTRATION

Information on Death Registration

Once a death occurs, a physician or coroner attending the death completes the Medical Certificate of Death and gives it to the Funeral Director to go with the body. To register a death, a family member and the Funeral Director complete the Statement of Death with information about the deceased. Then the Funeral Director submits both the Medical Certificate of Death and the Statement of Death to the local municipal clerk’s office.

Cause of death information gathered from death registrations is used for medical and health research and for statistical purposes.

A death registration has to be made during 12 weeks from date of death

Death Out of Country: To report the death of a Canadian citizen who has died abroad, contact the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate abroad or the Emergency Operations Centre of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

2. Obtain a death certificate

Death Certificate

Once the death is registered, the next of kin, executor or estate administrator may apply for a death certificate. There are no restrictions on who may apply for a death certificate. Death certificate applications can be made online, or by mail or fax, or in person. The different methods of application have different Service Times and sometimes different Fees.

The funeral director will issue copies of a proof of death that you can use in certain situations. There are some organizations, however, that may require an official death certificate from the Province of Ontario, Office of the Registrar General.

You may need an official death certificate or certified copy for:

  • Settling an estate
  • Insurance purposes
  • Access to/termination of government services, i.e. health card, pension, voters´ list
  • Genealogy searches

Next of Kin Certification

The Office of the Registrar General requires you to certify online that you are the Next of Kin or, that, the Next of Kin is deceased and you are the Extended Next of Kin.

Deaths Prior to 1980

Historical events, such as deaths prior to 1980, may not be in electronic format. When applying for a death certificate prior to 1980, it can take up to an extra 6-8 weeks for the registration to be converted into an electronic format before processing can be completed. Records that are not available electronically are not included in the Service Guarantee.

Online Death Certificate Application

If a death has been registered in Ontario, you can apply for this certificate online quickly, simply and securely. In some cases, you can obtain death certificate forms online

Quick Links

Before You Start

Please note: The death must be registered in Ontario to use this service. To apply for a death certificate, you will need:

  • To apply for a death certificate, you will need:
  • First and last name of the deceased subject
  • Gender of the deceased subject
  • Date of death
  • City or town of death
  • Parental information about the deceased subject
  • Spouse or partner information, if applicable
  • A valid method of payment (VISA, MasterCard, American Express or Interac® Online)

Death Certificate Cost

  • Death Certificate (7 x 8.25) – $15
  • Certified Copy (8.5 x 14) – $22

Payment Options:

Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Interac: you can use Interac® Online if you have access to online banking at a participating financial institution. (For Premium Online service, a charge of $30 per product will be applied.)

Delivery:

Online Service

  • Online Service – 5 business days plus delivery
  • Premium Online Service (Online Only) – 5 business days (including delivery)

Regular Service

6 to 8 weeks plus delivery

Expedited Service

10 days plus delivery

Emergency Service (Toronto Office Only)

2 days plus delivery (Please note that proof of urgency is required.)

Birth Certificate for a Deceased Person

Only a long form (certified copy) of a birth certificate will be issued to the next of kin, executor, or estate administrator for a deceased individual born in Ontario. You will need to indicate that the person is deceased on the birth certificate application form and provide proof of the person’s death, such as a copy of a Funeral Director’s Statement of Death.

Short form birth certificates will not be issued for a deceased person. If you have a short form birth certificate for a deceased family member, it should be destroyed responsibly to avoid potential identity theft from occurring.

Replacement Birth Certificate

If a birth certificate has already been issued and you are applying for a replacement birth certificate, please visit the Applying for a replacement birth certificate page for more information at http://www.ontario.ca/en/information_bundle/individuals/119280.html .

3. Make changes, transfers and cancellations

Old Age Security (OAS) and/or Canada Pension Plan (CPP)

When an Old Age Security (OAS) and/or Canada Pension Plan (CPP) pensioner/beneficiary dies, their benefits must be cancelled. Benefits are payable for the month in which the death occurs; benefits received after that will have to be repaid. The Service Canada Web site provides information on how to cancel benefits following the death of a pensioner or beneficiary. This includes the following benefits:

  • Old Age Security Pension, including: Guaranteed Income Supplement; Allowance;  Allowance for the Survivor
  • CPP retirement pension
  • CPP disability benefits
  • CPP children’s benefits
  • CPP survivor benefits

How to cancel OAS/CPP benefits:

Please contact Service Canada as soon as possible to notify them of the date of death of the OAS/CPP pensioner/beneficiary. If you contact Service Canada by telephone, have the person’s social insurance number (SIN) on hand when you call. If you notify Service Canada by mail, please ensure the following information about the deceased pensioner/beneficiary’s is included in your letter:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • date of death
  • social insurance number (if known)
  • previous address
  • name and address of the estate or the person responsible for handling the deceased’s affairs (if known).

When the death occurs in Canada:

In most cases, if the pensioner/beneficiary’s death occurs in Canada, Service Canada does not require proof of death to cancel OAS/CPP benefits. In situations where proof of the date of death is required, Service Canada will notify the estate or the person responsible for handling the deceased’s affairs.

When the death occurs outside Canada:

Yes. Service Canada requires proof of the pensioner/beneficiary’s date of death when the death occurs outside Canada. The following lists common documents that will be accepted as proof of the date of death under the OAS and CPP program:

  • Official Death Certificate issued under the authority of some level of government (domestic or foreign) where the death occurred;
  • A document issued by a level of domestic or foreign government (federal, provincial/state/territorial, municipal, etc,) indicating the date of death (for example, Japanese Family Register, Portuguese Cédula Pessoal, etc.);
  • Funeral Home Burial or Death Certificate issued
    • in accordance with the custom of any religious denomination by an ordained religious leader, or
    • by the funeral director, or
    • by any person who is authorized to issue such documents through the Funeral Home, (This may vary from province to province);
  • Medical Certificate of Death issued by the attending doctor or coroner;
  • Statement by a doctor last in attendance, a coroner or a funeral director using stationery with the appropriate identifying letterhead;
  • Registration of death under a provincial or territorial authority;
  • Certification of death by social security authorities in another country where an international agreement on social security exists with that country;
  • Memorandum of Notification of Death issued by the Chief of National Defence Staff, Department of National Defence Canada, where the death of a member of the Canadian Forces occurs outside Canada;
  • Statement of Verification of Death from the Department of Veterans Affairs Canada written on the letterhead of the Department;
  • Official Notification from the Administrator of the Estate appointed by a court;
  • Certified (by notary public) Copy of the Letters of Probate;
  • Life or Group Insurance Claim provided it includes a statement signed by a medical doctor;
  • An official notification written on the letterhead of a Provincial Public Trustee or Administrator of Estates.

If you are unsure if the document you have obtained to prove the date of death is acceptable, please contact Service Canada.

To be acceptable as a proof of death, a document must:

  • be an original or certified copy;
  • be on official letterhead or contain a seal;
  • be dated, readable and not altered;
  • contain the following information: the name of the deceased individual; the date and place of death; the name and signature of a person authorized to issue the document.

How you can return outstanding payments that have been received after the pensioner/beneficiary’s death

The estate is entitled to the pensioner/beneficiary’s payment for the month of death. All payments issued after the month of death must be returned. If the payments have been redeemed they must be repaid.

If the pensioner/beneficiary received their payments by cheque, please return any cheque(s) received after the month of death to:

Cheque Redemption Control Directorate
Returned Cheques
PO Box 2000
Matane, QC G4W 4N5

If the pensioner/beneficiary received their payments by direct deposit, please have the bank return any payments deposited after the date of death to the originator or send a cheque in Canadian funds made payable to the Receiver General for Canada to the office responsible for paying the deceased’s OAS and/or CPP benefit(s). Please make sure to include the following information/documentation:

  • The name and address of the estate or the person responsible for handling the deceased’s affairs (if known).
  • If the pensioner/beneficiary death occurred outside Canada, we require proof of the date of death (if not already submitted).

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

The next-of-kin should return the SIN card along with a copy of the death certificate or a Statement of Death to Service Canada. It is important to inform Service Canada of a death in your family. It reduces the possibility of someone else using the deceased individual’s Social Insurance Number (SIN). Please note that you can make a request to obtain a Confirmation of SIN from Service Canada for estate purposes.

When a person dies, there is a danger of someone committing fraud with the deceased’s Social Insurance Number (SIN). The SIN is used to manage various Canadian government programs. A SIN is assigned to a person living in Canada who wishes to work in Canada or receive benefits and services from government programs. Each nine-digit number is issued to one person only and cannot legally be used by anyone else. However, when a person dies, his or her SIN may be used to gain access to personal information or to fraudulently obtain work or government benefits.

Stolen, lost, or borrowed SIN s have been used to defraud governments, businesses and individuals. Alerting Service Canada can greatly reduce the possibility of anyone using the deceased’s SIN to commit fraud. When you provide us with the SIN of the deceased person, we will record that information and any fraudulent use of that SIN will be stopped. You will be able to use the deceased’s SIN for estate purposes.

How do you Alert Service Canada?

The next-of-kin should send the deceased person’s SIN card along with a copy of the Death Certificate or a Statement of Death to Service Canada. These documents may be submitted in person or by mail.

Notification in person

Provide the deceased person’s SIN card and a copy of the Death Certificate or a Statement of Death to your nearest Service Canada Centre. If you do not have the SIN card but know the number, please provide a proof of death (as previously stated) with the SIN clearly written on it.

Notification by mail

Send the deceased person’s SIN card and a copy of the Death Certificate or a Statement of Death to the address below. If you do not have the SIN card but know the number, please send a proof of death (as previously stated) with the SIN clearly written on it.

Service Canada
Social Insurance Registration Office
PO Box 7000
Bathurst NB E2A 4T1

For specific information about the Social Insurance Number program dial toll-free 1-800-206-7218 and select option “3”.

Passport

The passport should be returned in person to the nearest to you Passport Canada Office or  by mail to Passport Canada for cancellation. Include a copy of the death certificate and a letter indicating if the cancelled passport should be destroyed or returned to you.

Mail to:

Passport Canada
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Gatineau QC K1A 0G3
Return

Canada Revenue Agency

The Canada Revenue Agency Web site provides information about how to notify the Canada Revenue Agency of a death (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/lf-vnts/dth/menu-eng.html). The Web site also provides information on cancelling benefit payments in the name of the deceased. It will also help you determine if you are the legal representative of the deceased.

You should provide the CRA with the deceased’s date of death as soon as possible. You can contact them or complete the applicable information and send it to your tax services office or tax centre. Arrangements must be made to stop payments and, if applicable, transfer them to a survivor if any of the following situations apply:

  • The deceased was receiving the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit.
  • The deceased was receiving the working income tax benefit (WITB) advance payments.
  • The deceased was receiving Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) payments and/or Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) payments for a child.
  • The deceased was a child for whom CCTB and/or UCCB and/or GST/HST credit payments are paid.

4. Apply for benefits, pensions and other survivors’ benefits

In some cases, when a spouse or common-law partner dies, you may be eligible for additional benefits:

  • If you reside in Canada or return to reside in Canada, are between 60-64 years of age, have low income, and your spouse or common-law partner has died, and you have not remarried or entered into a new common-law relationship for more than 12 months, you may be eligible for the Allowance for the Survivor .
  • If the deceased person contributed to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you may be eligible for survivor’s benefits :
    • the death benefit: a one-time payment to, or on behalf of, the estate of a deceased CPP contributor;
    • the survivor’s pension: a monthly pension paid to the survivor of a deceased CPP contributor;
    • the children’s benefit: a monthly benefit for dependent children of a deceased CPP contributor;

Additional Information for the Canada Pension Plan and other death related benefits

  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada – Decedent Estates Program
  • Allowance for the Survivor Program
  • Canada Pension Plan Children’s Benefits
  • Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit
  • Canada Pension Plan Survivor’s Pension
  • Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits
  • International Benefits
  • Veterans Affairs Canada – Death Benefit
  • Veterans Affairs Canada – Funeral, Burial and Gravemarking Assistance
  • Veterans Affairs Disability Pension Program – Surviving Dependant Benefits

Allowance for the Survivor

  • Applying for the Allowance for the Survivor
  • How your benefits are calculated
  • Receiving the Allowance for the Survivor
  • Renewing your benefits
  • Filing your income tax return
  • Appealing a decision
  • Protecting information about you
  • Other benefits
  • More information

Applying for the Allowance for the Survivor

1. What is the Allowance for the Survivor and how do I apply?

The Allowance for the Survivor provides money for low-income seniors who meet the following conditions:

  • you are 60 to 64 years of age;
  • you are a Canadian citizen or a legal resident at the time your Allowance for the Survivor is approved or when you last lived in Canada;
  • your annual income is below the prescribed limit (refer to the following tables);
  • your spouse or common-law partner has died and you have not remarried or entered into a common-law partnership exceeding 12 months since then; and
  • you have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after turning 18.

If you have not lived in Canada for at least 10 years since age 18, you may still qualify. Canada has social security agreements with many countries. If you have lived in one of these countries or contributed to its social security system, you may qualify for a pension from that country, from Canada or from both countries. For more information, contact Service Canada or see International Benefits page of the Service Canada website.

If you meet these conditions, please contact Service Canada and they will send you an application kit for the Allowance for the Survivor. Complete it and return it quickly. If you don’t apply right away, you could lose some benefits.

2. What documents will I need to provide?

Depending on your situation, you will have to provide up to five kinds of documents with your application:

  1. Birth certificate – Normally, you have to prove that you are between 60 and 64 years of age by submitting a birth certificate. You do not have to provide your birth certificate if the information in the Social Insurance Register matches the information on your application. If you cannot obtain your birth certificate, contact Service Canada for information about other documents that may be acceptable.
  2. Marriage certificate or statutory declaration – If you were married, you must provide a marriage certificate. If you lived in a common-law relationship, you must sign a “statutory declaration” and provide other documentation as proof of your relationship. See below for more details.
    • Couples married in Canada – If you don’t have your marriage certificate, there are two ways to get it: 1) you can get a certificate from the church in which you were married; or 2) you can contact the Registrar of Vital Statistics in the capital city of the province or territory in which you were married.
    • Couples married outside Canada – If you don’t know how to get a copy of your marriage certificate, contact Service Canada.
    • Common-law relationships – You must provide a statutory declaration that states the dates you and your common-law partner lived together. Contact Service Canada for a copy of this form and for help to complete the declaration. When you call, we will tell you what other documents you will need. (A common-law partner is a person of the same or opposite sex who has been living with you in a conjugal relationship for at least one year.)
  3. Citizenship or immigration documents – If you were not born in Canada, you must submit proof of your legal status in Canada such as citizenship or immigration documents. If you have not lived continuously in Canada since age 18, you must submit proof of all the dates you arrived in Canada and when you left. Usually, you can do this with a passport.
  4. Death certificate – You must send us proof of your spouse or common-law partner’s date of death.
  5. Statement of Income (Form number ISP3025)

If you already submitted this documentation in regards to another application, you are not required to submit it again. The application kit contains more detailed information about these requirements.

How your benefits are calculated

We base the Allowance for the Survivor for a payment period (July of one year to June of the next) on your previous year’s income. Consult the Old Age Security Payment Rates page for current benefit rates and maximum income levels.

4. What is considered to be income?

When applying for the Allowance for the Survivor, you must report the following income:

  • Canada Pension Plan or Quebec 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 worker’s compensation payments, alimony, etc.

Consult the application form for more details about what to include as income.

5. What happens if there is a loss or reduction of income?

In some situations, like when you stop working or you suffer a loss or reduction of pension income, we can calculate your Allowance for the Survivor by estimating your pension and employment income for this year, instead of using last year’s pension and employment income. If you have a lower income this year for either of these reasons, you should Service Canada. Your benefits may increase.

6. What if I remarry or start living in a common-law relationship?

If you remarry, your Allowance for the Survivor will end. It will also end if you live in a common-law relationship for at least one year. You must notify us of either of these changes. This can be done by phone or in writing.

Receiving the Allowance for the Survivor

7. When will my Allowance for the Survivor begin?

Usually, your Allowance will begin the month following your 60th birthday, the month after you’ve met the residence and income requirements, or the month following your spouse or common law partner’s death, whichever is the latest. If you apply late, you can receive a back payment of up to 11 months, plus the month in which we receive your application. You must renew your benefits each year.

8. Can my benefits stop?

We stop paying the Allowance for the Survivor if one of the following happens:

  • Your income in the previous year is more than the maximum allowed;
  • You are absent from Canada for more than six consecutive months after the month of your departure;
  • You did not reapply by filing a tax return by April 30 or did not submit an application form when you were asked to do so;
  • You remarry or live in a common-law relationship for more than 12 months; or
  • You die (it is important that someone notify us).

9. What happens when I turn 65?

At age 65, most people who receive the Allowance for the Survivor will have their benefit automatically changed to the Old Age Security pension. However, you may be required to submit an application if you have not lived in Canada all of your life. Again, depending upon your income, you may then also be able to receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Renewing your benefits

10. Does my Allowance for the Survivor have to be renewed every year?

Yes. The Allowance for the Survivor is based on your annual income. Since your annual income can change from year to year, you must renew your benefit each year. Most seniors can renew their benefit automatically simply by filing their tax return by April 30 each year. If you do not file a tax return, or if we need more information, we will send you a renewal application form in the mail. If you receive a form from us, you must complete and return it as soon as you have all the necessary income information. Each July, you will receive a letter that tells you the new amount of your monthly payment.

If you do not reapply for the Allowance for the Survivor in the spring, or if your income is now too high to qualify for the Allowance for the Survivor, you will receive your last payment in June of that year. Your benefit also stops when you reach 65 and are eligible for the Old Age Security pension.

11. When do payments arrive?

Payments usually arrive in the last three banking days of each month. If your payment is late by more than a week, or if you lose your payment, please Service Canada.

12. Can Service Canada send the payment to your bank?

Yes. Through our direct deposit service, we can deposit your Allowance payment directly into your bank account. Although payment by cheque is possible, the benefits of using direct deposit include:

  • always receiving your payments on time; and
  • knowing that your cheques will never be lost, stolen or damaged.

If you are already receiving benefits by cheque and wish to switch to direct deposit, you can sign up over the telephone. When you Service Canada, in addition to your social insurance number, be sure to have the branch, institution, and account number of your financial institution ready – you can find this information on your personal cheques.

If you live in Canada, you can use the “My Service Canada Account” online service to change your address and direct deposit information. A personal access code (PAC) is required the first time you login to “My Service Canada Account”. The PAC is your key to accessing secure online services – please keep it safe and do not share it with anyone. Once you have your personal access code, you have to register for “My Service Canada Account”. You will need to create a user ID and password during the registration process – this is called an Access Key. On return visits, you will only need to enter your Access Key to access “My Service Canada Account”. If you already have an epass, you will have to replace it with an Access Key.

13. What happens if I move?

If you are planning to move, you must contact Service Canada with your new address and postal code as soon as possible. This will allow us to update our records and make sure that your payment gets to you on time. Even if your payments are deposited directly into your bank account, Service Canada still need to know your new address so they can send you important information and your yearly income tax slip. As well, if they need to contact you for additional income information, they will have your new address.

You can notify Service Canada of a change of address 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling automated telephone system at 1-800-277-9914. You will be asked to provide your social insurance number, your new address and postal code as well as your telephone number with your area code. If you are calling on behalf of another person, Service Canada cannot make any changes unless they have written authorization from that person.

If you live in Canada, you can use the “My Service Canada Account” online service to change your address and direct deposit information.

14. Can I receive my benefit outside Canada?

The Government of Canada designed the Allowance for the Survivor to assist low-income seniors living in Canada. For this reason, if you leave Canada, we will only pay you for the month you leave, and for six months after that. Then, your payments will stop. For example, if you leave Canada in January, we will send payments until the end of July. After July, the payments will stop. You have an obligation to inform us when you plan to be outside of the country for more than six months.

If you do stay outside Canada for longer than six months, you can always reapply when you return to live in Canada.

Most recipients will receive their payments in the local currency of their country of residence.

15. Will I get cost-of-living increases?

Service Canada will increase your payments to reflect any increases in the cost of living as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Service Canada applies any increases every three months – in January, April, July, and October. Your monthly payments will not go down if the cost of living goes down.

Filing your income tax return

16. Is my Allowance for the Survivor taxable?

No. Your Allowance for the Survivor is not considered taxable income. However, you must still report it on your tax return.

Appealing a decision

17. What can I do if I do not agree with a decision affecting my Allowance for the survivor?

If you disagree with a decision that affects your Allowance, you have the right to an explanation. If you Service Canada, they can explain the reasons for their decision. If you are not satisfied with their response, may ask them to reconsider the decision. To do this, you must send a letter to the Service Canada regional director in your region within 90 days of receiving notice of Service Canada’s decision. In your letter, please ensure to provide:

  • your name;
  • your address;
  • your social insurance number; and
  • your reason(s) for making the appeal.

After this reconsideration, if you are still not satisfied, you can appeal the decision to the Office of the Commissioner of Review Tribunals. If the appeal concerns income, it will be referred to the Tax Court of Canada.

Protecting information about you

18. How is information about me protected?

Your privacy is protected by two Acts.

The Old Age Security Act and Regulations ensure that only specific agencies authorized by the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development are entitled to review relevant parts of your records. Personal information in your file cannot be given to other agencies or individuals without your consent.

The Access to Information Act also prevents the release of information about you without your consent. However, there are two exceptions: information can be released if it has already been made public or if the release is allowed under the Privacy Act. The government can only use information for the purpose for which it was collected, except to comply with a warrant or subpoena, or to enforce a law.

19. Can I find out what information is in my file?

You have the right to review information about you that is kept on file by the Government of Canada. To help citizens get access to information about themselves, the Government has published Info Source: Sources of federal government information. To make a request, you must complete an Access to information request form. This form and Info Source are available in any Service Canada Center and government offices open to the public. They are also available at public libraries, most rural post offices and in Canadian missions abroad.

Other benefits

20. Am I eligible for other benefits?

In addition to the basic OAS pension, seniors with low incomes may qualify for other income-tested benefits such as the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the Allowance, which includes the Allowance for the Survivor.

If you have contributed to the Canada Pension Plan or the Quebec Pension Plan, you may be eligible for a retirement pension when you turn 65. If you have retired or substantially reduced your hours of work, you could qualify for a reduced CPP or QPP retirement pension as early as age 60.

Disability and survivor benefits are also available from the Canada Pension Plan or the Quebec Pension Plan if you have made sufficient contributions and you meet other eligibility requirements. You must apply to receive these benefits.

21. Other benefit programs for veterans

If you are a veteran, you may also be entitled to receive benefits under other federal programs such as the War Veterans Allowance program. For more information, call Veterans Affairs Canada toll-free at 1-866-522-2122, or visit the Veterans Affairs Canada Web site.

22. Provincial/territorial and municipal programs

Your provincial/territorial and municipal governments may offer income assistance and services to seniors. For more information, please contact these governments directly. Additional information on federal, provincial and territorial programs for seniors is also available on the Seniors Canada Web site.

23. Online services and forms

Service Canada provides a number of services on the Internet to allow you to complete tasks online at your convenience. They also provide you with access to online forms for programs and services delivered by Service Canada and their partner departments. To access an online service or find a form, see Online Services and Forms at http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/online/index.shtml.

24. How do I request a review of my Old Age Security account to ensure I am receiving my full benefit entitlement?

The Government of Canada wants to ensure that you receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled. They routinely check client accounts to ensure continued accuracy. If you think that they may have made a mistake on your account, or that you may not have applied for a benefit to which you are entitled, please Service Canada.

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