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Think you are too wealthy for OAS?

Posted by on May 28, 2011 in Retirement | 0 comments

Ted Rechtshaffen | Columnist profile | E-mail

Special to Globe and Mail Update
Published Friday, May. 27, 2011 7:58AM EDT

A report from the federal Task Force on Financial Literacy earlier this year said that roughly 160,000 eligible seniors do not receive Old Age Security (OAS) benefits. This represents almost $1-billion in benefits that are unclaimed. From our experience with clients, there is a lot more in OAS benefits that are left on the table than just the $1-billion.

Many Canadians believe that they are too wealthy to qualify for OAS, but with proper planning, maybe some or all of your (or your parent’s) OAS would reappear.The Core Facts on OAS

  • To qualify for a full OAS, you must have lived in Canada for 40 years since the age of 18.
  • If you lived in Canada for between 10 and 40 years since age 18, you will qualify for a partial Old Age Security benefit.
  • You become eligible at age 65.
  • Maximum OAS for 2011 is $6,322.20 per person. This can add up substantially. If we assume a couple with a full OAS, 2 per cent indexing and growth of 5 per cent a year, this could add up to over $492,000 by age 85 if fully invested.
  • Pensioners with an individual net income above $67,668 begin to lose some of their OAS. The full OAS pension is eliminated when a pensioner’s net income is $109,764 or above. For example, if your income was $88,000, you would receive roughly half of your OAS.

Service Canada has a website that answers all OAS questions very well. If you think that you may not be able to qualify for some or all OAS benefits, be sure to review the following before deciding not to apply:

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