Guaranteed Income Supplement for Canadians: Your Questions Answered

What is the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)?

The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) is a monthly benefit for Canadians who are over the age of 65 years old, who may already be getting Old Age Security (OAS) payments but overall receive an income below a certain threshold.

The amount of GIS you receive will depend on your income and won’t be taxable.

Guaranteed Income Supplement Eligibility

To qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, you should meet all the following requirements:

  • Be at least 65 years old
  • Live in Canada
  • Be receiving OAS payments already
  • Have an income less than the prescribed amounts given your situation (described below)

There are a set of income requirements you must meet to be eligible for GIS.

If you’re single, widowed or divorced, you must have an income lower than $19,248.

If you’re married or in a common-law relationship, here are the income eligibility rules:

  • If your partner (spouse or common-law) receives the full OAS pension, your joint income must be less than $25,440
  • If your partner (spouse or common-law) doesn’t get OAS, your joint income must be less than $46,128
  • If your partner (spouse or common-law) gets the Allowance benefit, your joint income must be less than $46,128

Key Insight

Even though the Guaranteed Income Supplement isn’t taxable, you still need to remember to file your taxes on time every year to avoid missing a GIS payment.

Couple reviewing their guaranteed income supplement payments

Guaranteed Income Supplement Benefit Amounts

The GIS benefit amounts are reviewed quarterly in January, April, July and October to ensure that they’re keeping up with any changes in the cost of living, as per the CPI.

But don’t fret, these changes will only ever benefit you – the GIS payments won’t decrease, even if the cost of living goes down.

Here are the benefit amounts for the period of October to December 2021:

Your situation Max. Payment Amount (Monthly) Your annual income amount (plus that of your spouse/common-law partner) must be:
If you’re single, widowed or divorced $948.82 Less than $19,248
If your partner (spouse or common-law) receives the full OAS pension $571.15 Less than $25,440
If your partner (spouse or common-law) doesn’t get OAS $948.82 Less than $46,128
If your partner (spouse or common-law) gets the Allowance benefit $571.15 Less than $46,128

Source: Canada.ca

If you want an idea of how much your benefit might be, you can make use of this handy questionnaire.

How to Get the Guaranteed Income Supplement

Most of the time, Service Canada will automatically enroll you for GIS – other times, you’ll have to apply yourself.

If you need to apply, then in the month after you turn 64 years old you’ll receive a letter from Service Canada asking you to apply for GIS.

If you don’t receive one, or if the one you’ve received has incorrect information, you may need to apply.

To apply, you can either do it online through your My Service Canada account, or by mailing in the Application for the OAS and the GIS (ISP-3550) along with certified true copies of the required documents, or by submitting it in-person to a Service Canada office.

If you already receive OAS and only need to apply for GIS, then you can do the same steps but with the Application for GIS or Statement of Income (ISP-3025) form.

Keep in mind that when applying for the GIS, you will need to report all your income as well as the income of your spouse or common-law partner.

If you need help determining what counts as income and what is exempt, you can refer to this page.

Guaranteed Income Supplement Payment Dates

Here are the 2022 Guaranteed Income Supplement payment dates:

  • January 27, 2022
  • February 24, 2022
  • March 29, 2022
  • April 27, 2022
  • May 27, 2022
  • June 28, 2022
  • July 27, 2022
  • August 29, 2022
  • September 27, 2022
  • October 27, 2022
  • November 28, 2022
  • December 21, 2022

Old Age Security (OAS) vs. Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

Just like with the GIS, Old Age Security (OAS) is a monthly benefit for Canadians who are over the age of 65 years old.

For both, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve never worked before or whether you’re still working – you can still receive the benefit.

Both benefits are reviewed quarterly in January, April, July and October to ensure that they’re increasing with any changes in the cost of living, as per the CPI.

The main difference between the two is that the amount you could receive for the GIS depends primarily on your income, while the amount you could receive for the OAS depends on how much time you spent in Canada after the age of 18.

Also, the OAS is taxable, while GIS is not taxable.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the income cut off for guaranteed income supplement?
  • What is the average guaranteed income supplement?

Tara Al-Khudairi is a freelance personal finance writer who has worked in the financial services industry since 2017. She graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Finance and is pursuing her CFA.

She has worked at a major Canadian financial institution in various client-facing advisory roles, starting as a bank teller and working up to a Client Services Associate within the Asset Management division. She specializes in simplifying concepts of personal finance for people of various financial backgrounds.

When she’s not examining the markets looking for the next SHOP.TO, she’s either practicing yoga, planning her next vacation, or has her nose buried deep in a book.