What is the Guaranteed Income Supplement?

What is the Guaranteed Income Supplement?

The Guaranteed Income Supplement can help if you have a low income in retirement. GIS is part of the Old Age Security Pension, and it can help you supplement your income in old age. It’s a non-taxable benefit, so you don’t have to worry about paying taxes on what you receive.

Eligibility for Guaranteed Income Support

In order to be considered eligible for the GIS, you need to be receiving OAS. You need to have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after the age of 18, or have resided in Canada as a citizen or permanent resident on or before March 6, 1996 and become eligible for benefits on January 1, 2001 or earlier, or if you have been receiving OAS benefits since March 1996 or before.

You also have to show that you have a low income. In many cases, you are considered eligible for Guaranteed Income Support if OAS represents most or all of your income. Every year, you need to report your income, and your GIS benefit will be adjusted to fit your qualifications. I’s important to realize that you have to keep providing information to the government in order to keep receiving your GIS benefit.

How Much Will You Receive?

The GIS benefit is figured based on your income and your marital status. Income that you receive from a variety of sources, including pensions, retirement accounts, interest, dividends, workers’ compensation, wages, and rents is including in the calculation. The amount of money that your partner (if you have one) receives in income is also taken into account.

The government also takes into account the fact that you might be receiving only a partial OAS pension.

How to Apply for the GIS

You need the proper application form in order to qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement. It doesn’t hurt to apply for this benefit, and you might be eligible now, even if you weren’t in the past.

You will need supporting documentation to back up your application. When you request your GIS application, you will be provided with a list of documents. These documents might include salary and other other income information, as well as supporting documents like a marriage certificate or a statutory declaration (if you are in a common law partnership).

Pay attention to the documentation you need so that you can turn in what is required, and your application isn’t delayed.

While your benefit is adjusted each year depending on your income and whether or not your marital status has changed, you don’t have to fill out the full application each year. In fact, as long as you file your tax return each year, you will automatically re-apply for your GIS benefit. If you don’t file a tax return, though, you might need to fill out a renewal application.

The Guaranteed Income Supplement can be a great help to seniors who are struggling with poverty. It is a good way to ensure that our respected elders are cared for.


  1. Bryan Jaskolka

    Thank you so much for this post! So many people have no idea about the GIS, have never even heard about it, and I end up telling so many clients about it. Everything from what it is, to how to apply for it, just as you’ve outlined here. Thanks again! I may just start directing them to this post lol

  2. walter schmid

    I’ve tried for an hour to find a spreadsheet which would estimate my guaranteed income supplement based on my
    marital status and family income but I can’t fine one.
    I have applied for the GIS so I will soon find out if I qualify or not.
    However, I like to do these calculations myself out of curiosity. Surely I could find out if I qualify or not by some simple calculation.
    Do you have such a program?
    Thanks for your time and effort.

    • Holly

      Walter, check out the Canada government website as there is a chart called “Table of Benefit Amounts” for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement amount. The charts will show what you get depending on your other incomes.

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