Rights & Money

GIS Enrollment Is Now Automatic

If you qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, you should start receiving benefits automatically.


A popular regular feature in Good Times magazine is “Your Questions,” where Olev Edur provides answers to questions from our readers regarding their rights, personal finance, and estate planning. Here’s a recent question on the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Q. I have a friend who just turned 70 and has found he must keep working (he’s a handyman and does small jobs for people in the neighbourhood) after having lost much of his savings during the financial crisis a few years ago. Other than the modest sums he gets for his handiwork, he collects only Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) benefits. He’s beginning to find that the work is too much for him but worries that he can’t afford to stop. Could you tell us how he would go about claiming Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)?

A. He probably doesn’t need to do anything. In April 2013, Service Canada implemented a process to automatically enroll seniors who are eligible to receive the OAS pension, and in December 2017, automatic enrolment was expanded to include the GIS (for those of eligible age and income). Your friend should have received a notification to this effect from Service Canada earlier this year and may well have begun receiving the added GIS benefits by the time you read this. Ask him, and if he hasn’t received such a notification, tell him to write Service Canada or visit the nearest Service Canada kiosk to ask about his GIS eligibility.

Photo: iStock/bakerjarvis.