If you have just turned 64 years old and are collecting provincial disability (designated provincially as “Persons With Disability” or PWD), likely the BC Ministry of Social Development has mailed you a letter stating that you are soon going to be eligible and you should begin applying for Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). If you are not already receiving your Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you will also be reminded to apply for your regular CPP benefits. I will talk more about Canada Pension Plan Disability in a moment.
If you are single and in receipt of provincial disability you are receiving approximately $1,183 per month. When you turn 65, your provincial disability benefit will end and you will start collecting federal benefits (OAS/GIS, CPP). This is good news for most people because it means your income will go up. As a single person at age 65, the guaranteed minimum income level in BC effective January 1, 2019 is $1,549 per month. This amount is made up of three sources:
- OAS, currently sitting at $601.45 as of January 1, 2019.
- GIS which is a non-table supplement to the OAS.
- BC Seniors Supplement, a provincial top-up to the OAS/GIS payment. You do not need to apply for this. If you are eligible you will get it automatically.
What You Need To Know About CPP Disability Benefits
Back when you originally applied for provincial disability benefits, you may have been asked to apply for federal CPP-Disability first. CPP-Disability is a monthly benefit for those under age 65 who have become severely disabled to the extent that they cannot work at any job on a regular basis. If you were approved for federal CPP-Disability, the Ministry of Social Development may or may not have topped up your CPP-Disability to the minimum PWD amount currently at $1,183 per month. If your CPP-Disability benefit amount was higher or if you were not approved for PWD, you would not have been offered a top-up.
What is important to note is that when you turn 65, your CPP-Disability benefit will end and your benefit will change to your regular CPP retirement pension which will likely be a lower amount. This is nothing to be concerned about as I’ll explain a little later on.
Canada Pension Plan Regular Benefits
CPP is a monthly retirement pension that you can receive if you contributed the minimum required amount to the plan during your working life. You can apply for and receive your full CPP entitlement at age 65, but you can also receive it as early as age 60 with a permanent reduction, or as late as age 70 with a permanent increase.
When you first applied for provincial PWD, you may have been asked to apply for your CPP early. This is so the BC Ministry of Social Development would have only had to top up your federal benefit to the minimum amount of $1,183 rather than pay you the whole amount themselves. When you turn 65, your CPP Regular amount will remain stay the same.
What You May Be Eligible For At 65
OAS: Provided you are a Canadian citizen or a legal resident at the time your application was approved; and that you have resided in Canada for at least 10 years since the age of 18, The amount of OAS you will receive is $601.45.
GIS: The amount of GIS you will receive depends on how much CPP-Regular you receive or will receive, plus any other income you are receiving that is not OAS/GIS or PWD.
Single persons can refer to Rate Table 1: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/old-age-security/payments/tab1-1.html
Couples (married or common-law), please refer to Rate Table 2: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/old-age-security/payments/tab2-15.html
Example: James is turning 65 in 10 months. For the past 3 years his only source of income is PWD for a total of $1,183 per month. James went into his local Service Canada office to find out how much CPP he is entitled to receive at the age of 65. He was told that he will get $465 per month ($5,580 yearly). We already know that the current set amount of OAS is $601.45 and because James is single, we will refer to Rate Table 1 to calculate the amount of GIS he will receive. As you can see below, James will receive GIS of $592.32. If we combine all his new sources of income, we can see that he will receive $1,658.77 per month after he turns 65.
CPP $465.00 + OAS $601.45 + GIS $592.32 = $1,658.77
As long as James applies for his pensions 6-8 months in advance of his 65th birthday, he will receive his first full benefits in the month following his 65th birthday.
How To Apply
As I mentioned before, the Ministry of Social Development will send a letter to you once your turn 64. If you do nothing, they will send you another letter, and yet another letter and probably a phone call threatening to hold back your next PWD payment until you contact them to say you’ve applied for your federal benefits. This is for your own good. Applications for federal benefits take 6-8 months to process and the Ministry does not want you to be without income when they end your benefits at age 65.
Application for Old Age Security & Guaranteed Income Supplement
Canada Pension Plan (for those not already collecting CPP Disability or Regular)
When you have filled out the applications, it is best to hand deliver them to your local Service Canada office so you can ask for a stamped “received” copy to show the Ministry should they ask for evidence that you applied. In the Okanagan, there are Service Canada offices in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon, Salmon Arm and Kamloops. Otherwise make a copy for yourself and mail the original to Service Canada, PO Box 1177 Station CSC, Victoria BC V8W 2V2.