#FinancialFridays: Financial Information for Seniors during Covid-19.
Canadian seniors across the country are facing significant health, economic, and social challenges due to COVID-19. Physical distancing is weighing heavily on those who are separated from their families, and rely on help to get groceries and other essential items.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced earlier this week that seniors who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive their special one-time, tax-free payment during the week of July 6. Through this measure and others, the government is providing nearly $900 more for single seniors and more than $1,500 for senior couples, on top of their existing benefits, to help these vulnerable Canadians with extra costs during the pandemic. Seniors do not need to apply for this one-time special payment. The payment will be issued automatically during the week of July 6, and seniors who reside in Canada can expect to receive the payment by direct deposit or cheque that week.
Seniors eligible for the OAS pension will receive a payment of $300, and those also eligible for the GIS will receive an additional $200, for a total of $500. Allowance recipients will also receive $500. This financial support will help Canadian seniors cover increased costs caused by COVID-19, and give them greater financial security in this time of crisis.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Government of Canada has introduced a number of measures to support seniors, including those most vulnerable. This includes a one-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit in April, which provided an average of $375 to single seniors and $510 to senior couples. They also have reduced minimum withdrawal requirements for all types of registered retirement income funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for the year 2020. In addition, they have taken steps to make sure seniors would continue to receive their GIS benefits if they were unable to submit their 2019 income information on time.
With respect to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers, including seniors, who have stopped working due to COVID-19. Pension income does not affect eligibility to the CERB. The government also extended the eligibility of this benefit to individuals who earn up to $1,000 per month, as well as workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job or return to work because of COVID-19.
Information Source: Prosper Canada / CISION