A look at income programs for seniors

Voluntary CPP contributions may be coming. What’s available now?

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Retirement programs

(Robert Nicholas/Getty Images)

OTTAWA – The Harper government will look at allowing people to stash more of their earnings into the Canada Pension Plan to boost retirement savings. Following is a quick look at various programs available to seniors.

The Canada Pension Plan: A monthly payment for those who have worked and made at least one valid contribution to the plan. Standard pensionable age is 65, but people may take a permanently reduced pension as early as age 60 or take a permanently increased pension after age 65.

READ: Why it pays to take CPP early »

Old age security: A monthly payment available to most people 65 years of age and older who meet the Canadian legal status and residence requirements. Employment history is not a factor in eligibility.

READ: Getting the most from OAS »

Guaranteed income supplement: Available to legal residents who get old age security cheques and whose annual income is below a certain amount.

READ: How the rich can qualify for a GIS »

Monthly allowance: For those age 60 to 64 whose spouse or common-law partner gets an old age security cheque and is eligible for the guaranteed income supplement.

READ: Are you GIS eligible? »

Registered retirement savings plan: Allows people to save for retirement with tax-deductible contributions. Income earned in the plan is usually exempt from tax as long as the funds remain in the plan. Taxes generally apply when assets are withdrawn.

READ: A guide to RRSPs »

Pooled registered pension plan: Applies to people employed or self-employed in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut or Yukon, those who work in a federally regulated business or industry for an employer who chooses to participate in a pooled plan, or those who live in a province that has the required provincial standards legislation in place. Your contributions, your employers’ contributions and any lump-sum contributions, are all pooled together.

READ: Pension solution or illusion? »

Tax-free savings account: Allows contributions of up to $5,500 a year (rising to $10,000 if existing budget legislation passes). Investment income is tax free.

READ: The biggest TFSAs in Canada »

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