The Government of Canada is committed to supporting vulnerable, low-income seniors who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
The Government of Canada is providing a one-time grant payment this week to Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and Allowance recipients who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or the Canada Recovery Benefit in 2020. This measure was announced in the 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update.
The one-time grant payments will alleviate the financial hardship of seniors who qualified and received pandemic benefits in 2020, and who faced a reduction or loss of GIS benefits in July 2021. The one-time grant payment compensates eligible seniors for the full loss of their GIS or Allowance benefits. The amount is equal to the annualized amount of their reduced payment. For example, if an individual’s monthly GIS was reduced by $100, the individual will receive a $1,200 one-time grant payment.
Seniors do not need to take any action to receive the one-time grant payment; they will automatically receive it in the same way they receive their GIS payments. These one-time grant payments will be issued by direct deposit on April 19, 2022; clients who have not signed up for direct deposit will receive a cheque by mail by no later than the end of April 2022.
The Government has taken action to prevent future reductions in GIS or Allowance benefits for seniors who received pandemic benefits in 2021 by introducing Bill C-12. Bill C-12, which received Royal Assent on March 3, 2022, amends the Old Age Security Act to exclude any income received under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the Canada Recovery Benefit, the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit for the purposes of calculating the amount of GIS and Allowance payable beginning in July 2022.
Minister of Seniors, Kamal Khera, said, “Low-income seniors should not be penalized for accessing income support they needed during the pandemic. The Government of Canada took swift action, and announced $742.2 million in the Economic and Fiscal Update 2021 to alleviate the financial hardship of affected seniors. This week, those seniors who received pandemic benefits in 2020 and saw an impact on their GIS, will receive a one-time grant payment, fully compensating them for the affected amount. And, to ensure seniors do not face this again, we made an important legislative fix with Bill C-12 so that pandemic benefits will not affect GIS or Allowance benefit amounts going forward. The government is committed to protecting and supporting seniors’ financial security and well-being.”
- Seniors are the fastest-growing demographic age group in Canada. By 2030, the number of seniors is expected to reach 9.4 million, representing close to one quarter of Canada’s population.
- Every year, tens of thousands of seniors have their Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) increased or decreased to reflect changes in their net income. This design ensures the benefits go to the most vulnerable seniors. As GIS benefits are calculated on the basis of the previous year’s income, any change in income in a given year will result in an adjustment of GIS benefits in the following July to June payment period.
- The targeted one-time grant payment will be issued to an estimated 211,000 GIS and Allowance recipients who received pandemic benefits in 2020 and who faced a reduction or loss of GIS benefits in July 2021.
- The vast majority (about 98%) of GIS and Allowance recipients are enrolled for direct deposit.
- The one-time grant payment for GIS recipients who received pandemic benefits is a non-taxable and non-reportable benefit for which recipients will not receive a tax slip.