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Understanding Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) Canada

When you are young and working, whether you have your own business or you work for another company, you will get a certain amount each month and that will help you survive the time period. But the real quest starts when you retire, as that’s when you lack having a sustainable income source. It can be a hard pill to swallow if you haven’t saved up for your second inning of life. The best way to avoid such scenarios is to make a systemic plan for your retirement. In Canada, the government provides Guaranteed Income Supplement aka GIS Canada plan to help you save and have stable income inflow when you retire. 

Apart from GIS Canada, You should also learn about Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS) plan, Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, and more to know various instruments you can utilize for pension planning. This article is focused on Guaranteed Income Supplement and will clear all your doubts. So let us get started!

Read: CPP Payments: How Much CPP Will I Get?

What is a Guaranteed Income Supplement?

GIS Canada is just one of many supplementary benefits given under the act of Old Age Security pension. Apart from this, benefits such as allowances, allowances for survivors, children’s benefits, etc, are also a part of it. Under GIS, you can expect to get a monthly income. This income is not taxable and is paid apart from the basic OAS monthly earnings. 

To be eligible to get GIS,  you need to fulfill these requirements. 

  • If you are a Canadian resident. 
  • You are getting the basic pay under OAS. 
  • The income level should be lower than the allowed maximum income levels. 
  • You are 65 years old more. 

The question is how much income should you be earning to be eligible for GIS Canada. 

If your income is lower than $18,744 and if you are single, divorced or widowed. 

In case you have a spouse or a common in-law partner then your income should be less than 

  1. $24,768 – Your spouse or common in-law partner is getting a full OAS pension. 
  2. $44,928 – Your spouse or common in-law partner is not getting any OAS pension. 
  3. $44,928 – Your spouse or common in-law partner is getting Allowance. 

Read: Tax For Self-Employed In Canada: How Much To Set Aside For CPP & EI?

The Amount You Can Get Under GIS

Most of the time you will get a letter or an email from the Canadian government to let you know when you will start getting Guaranteed Income Supplement. It would probably be a month after you turn 64 years old. For the period between April to June 2021, the highest amount for each category is mentioned in the below table. 

If You are Single: 

Your Current StatusMaximum Monthly Payment Amount
If you are a single, widowed or divorced pensioner$923.71

If You have a Partner:

Your Current StatusMaximum Monthly Payment Amount
Your spouse or common-law partner gets the full OAS pension$556.04
Your spouse or common-law partner does not get an OAS pension or Allowance$923.71
Your spouse or common-law partner gets the Allowance$556.04

The GIS amount you receive every year is reviewed annually. The information source is your Federal Income Tax Return. You are likely to receive the below information in July every year. 

  • Your letter that your GIS will stop. 
  • You will start receiving your GIS payment. 
  • There is a need that you need to give additional income information. 
  • The benefit you receive has been renewed.
  • The amount you are likely to receive for the next year.
  • To be eligible to receive a Guaranteed Income Supplement on time you have to file taxes by April 30 every year.

Read: How To Buy A Home & Get A Mortgage With Bad Credit?

Benefits You Can Get under GIS

There are also certain benefits that you can get in GIS as I have mentioned below. 

Benefit for your common-law partner or spouse. 

Allowances

Individuals getting the GIS has the ability to provide the benefit of allowances to their spouse or in-law partners in case,

  • The partner is in the age group of 60 to 64. 
  • He or she is a citizen of Canada and a legal residence. 
  • Your spouse or in-law partner has resided in Canada for a period of 10 years after he or she turned 18. 
  • The combined annual income is below $34,704.

Allowances for the Survivor 

You can also get the benefit of allowances as a survivor if you fulfil the below requirements. 

  • Your age is between 60 to 64. 
  • In case of the unfortunate death of your spouse in law partner – you did not marry again or are not in any new legal relationship.
  • You have an annual income below $25,272.

Read: Canada Mortgage And Housing Corporation (CMHC): What is It?

Can You Receive GIS if You are Not a Canadian resident? 

If You are a Sponsored Migrant

If you are a migrant and has been sponsored then you need to live for at least 10 years in Canada after you turn 18 to be eligible to get GIS. 

Though there is a clause that if your sponsor is suffering from bankruptcy or has been in prison for 6 months, or have died or has been convicted of abusing you, in that case, you can receive GIS on your own.

If You are a Non-sponsored Migrant

 If you have not been sponsored for immigration, and if you are receiving the Old Age Security pension then you are also eligible for GIS Canada.

Read: How To Choose The Right Life Insurance In Canada?

How to Apply for GIS Canada? 

First of all, you are likely to receive a letter stating that you need to apply for GIS, after which you would need to have the below information ready. 

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • The information related to your spouse or common-law partner in case you both share GIS. Mostly this will include Social Insurance Number and birth date.
  • Details on which countries you have lived in after turning 18. 
  • Bank-related details for direct deposit. 
  • The date on which you would want to revive the GIS. 
  • Information related to employment reduction or pension earnings wherever applicable. 

Follow the below instruction to apply for GIS Canada. 

Online Application

You can submit your application online by logging into your My Service Canada account. The entire process should be done in one session. Otherwise, after 20 minutes of inactivity your session would expire Thus, it is advisable that you keep all the information handy. 

Offline Application

You can also apply offline. For this, you can download this form (applying for OAS and GIS) or this form (only applying for GIS). Apart from this, you need to submit the true copies of the document mentioned in the form. You can mail this application to Service Canada or can also visit the Service Canada centre of this.

An important thing you should know here is that if in case you are dissatisfied with the monthly amount you receive for GIS or have any doubt regarding it, you can make a request to Service Canada in writing within 90 days of receiving the decision letter. Service Canada will look after your request and would not include the staff involved in your application initially. It would ensure that you get an unbiased solution.

In case you still hold any doubt you can also contact Service Canada on 1 800 277 9914.

Read: 9 Crucial Steps To Finding & Buying Your First Home


Devanshee Dave

Devanshee is a staff writer at YourFirst.ca. She is a finance enthusiast and has completed her Master’s degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. She is currently pursuing CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and has worked as a journalist in a local business newspaper, multiple start-ups as well as finance and economy-related online media houses.

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