OTTAWA, May 5, 2016 /CNW/ - The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, today announced that all seniors found eligible to receive retroactive Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefits have received a payment.
As part of ongoing improvements in the delivery of pension programs, recent system changes to automate certain GIS payment processes identified a group of seniors who did not have their GIS benefits renewed automatically. Immediately in May 2015, Service Canada began reviewing the accounts of approximately 141,000 seniors to determine if they were eligible for a GIS retroactive payment. The review of all accounts was completed in March 2016 as per Minister Duclos' request.
In addition, those who received a retroactive GIS payment may receive a cost-of-living compensatory payment by the end of June 2016. The amount an individual may receive will depend on the amount of their GIS retroactive payment. As well, any individual who, as a result of the retroactive GIS payment, experiences a loss or reduction in credits or benefits administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in 2016 or 2017 (depending on when the retroactive payment was received) may receive an additional compensatory payment equal to the value of the lost CRA-administered credits or benefits. Service Canada will begin to issue these payments in fall 2016.
All clients who will be receiving a cost-of-living or CRA-administered compensatory payment will be contacted in writing by Service Canada.
- The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is a monthly non-taxable benefit provided to low‑income Old Age Security (OAS) recipients living in Canada. Eligibility for the GIS is reviewed every year in July based on an individual continuing to be under the income threshold for eligibility and continuing to reside in Canada. There are approximately 1.8 million GIS recipients.
- The identified group of seniors had previously applied for or received GIS benefits, but had become ineligible at some point due to changes in their personal circumstances or because they did not file their income tax return.
- The initial review of these files began in May 2015. The Department has been issuing these payments since June 2015, and all seniors found entitled to a retroactive payment have already received them.
- Approximately 141,000 GIS accounts were potentially affected and have been reviewed. Of these, approximately 86,500 individuals were found entitled to a GIS retroactive payment, while 45,500 were found not entitled. The Department has contacted the remaining seniors—around 9,000 clients—and is awaiting further information from them to determine whether they are entitled.
- The total value of the payments made as part of this review is approximately $258 million. Of all the files reviewed, the average retroactive payment is approximately $1,950.
- The automated processes we have now put in place are designed to prevent such a situation from happening again. In order for seniors to continue to receive their full entitlement to the GIS, it is important that they file their income tax returns by the filing due date each year.
- Seniors can contact Service Canada for more information on their GIS payment by calling 1‑800‑277‑9914 or visiting a Service Canada Centre.
"I instructed my officials to move quickly on this issue so that these seniors are not put out of pocket by this and receive all the benefits to which they are entitled. This includes getting compensatory payments that account for increases in the cost of living and a potential loss of the CRA-administered benefits as a result of the GIS retroactive payment."
– The Honorable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
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SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
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