Federal and Provincial Benefits for Seniors in BC

Most Canadians that contribute to a pension plan during their careers will be eligible to receive benefits upon retirement. In addition to a company pension, it’s important to have a good understanding of retirement benefits available to you at the provincial level and the federal level. So, this is a brief overview of the federal and the provincial benefits for seniors in the province of BC.

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Canada Pension Plan

BC residents who have worked and contributed to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) will be eligible to receive benefits at the time of their retirement. If you would like to begin receiving benefits at a reduced rate, you will have that option at age 60. Age 65 is the standard age to begin collecting CPP. You may choose to defer your payments to age 70 at which time you would receive an increased CPP monthly payment.

CPP Survivor’s benefit

If your spouse or common law partner was employed and contributing to the Canada Pension Plan during their lifetime, you may be eligible to receive a one-time payment and a monthly survivors benefit after their death.  For Canadians working or living abroad an International Survivor’s benefit may be paid to the survivor.

Old Age Security

Canadians age 65 that meet the legal resident’s requirement of Canada may make application for the OAS monthly benefit payment. The basics of eligibility include being a legal resident for at least 10 years after turning 18. Canadians living abroad must have lived in and been a legal resident of Canada for 20 years (after age 18) before leaving Canada. For complete information refer to the Government of Canada Website.

Guaranteed Income Supplement

Canadians with a low income may apply for a GIS, which may be added to your OAS benefit. If you are widowed or if you have a spouse that receives a GIS you may also be eligible to receive this benefit.

Post Retirement Benefit

If you are working while receiving CPP you may be able to receive the PRB in addition to your CPP payment. If you are self-employed you must make the maximum contribution to the PRB, and if you are an employed senior, both you and your employer would contribute.  

Veteran’s Affairs Canada

The estate of Canadian Forces members that became deceased while in the line of duty may be eligible for a lump sum payment.  



BC seniors supplement

The BC Senior’s Supplement is available to low income seniors and ensures a guaranteed income level. This supplement is made possible through the Employment and Assistance Act to BC residents receiving OAS, GIS or other federal allowances. The maximum supplement is $49.30 for single seniors and $120.50 for senior couples and is paid automatically to eligible individuals.

Special Transportation Subsidy (STS)

Individuals with a disability may be eligible for the Special Transportation Subsidy (STS). You must be living in an area where the Bus Pass Program is available but are unable to use public transportation due to your disability.  You must be receiving disability assistance under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act.

Income Assistance for BC seniors

If you are not eligible for or receiving OAS and you are age 65 and older, the BC Employment and Assistance program (BCEA) may be able to help you.  The Ministry of Social Development will take your income, assets, and other factors into consideration when you apply for income assistance. Additional information is in the Guide to Employment and Assistance.

This article is only a guide to benefits available to BC residents. For complete information, visit the website for the province of BC as well as the Government of Canada and search specifically for seniors’ benefits. You contributed via your tax dollars, to provincial and federal insurances and it’s important that you do not miss out on benefits at this time in your life.


Written by Alice Lucette

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