previously called the “Spouse’s Allowance”

The tax-free Allowance is paid monthly to help with the difficult circumstances faced by many

  • surviving spouses
  • couples living on the pension of only one spouse

A monthly benefit is payable if

  • you are a resident of Canada
  • aged 60-64
  • your spouse receives OAS and GIS
  • little other income


You are eligible if all of the following apply

  • you are the spouse or survivor of an OAS Pension recipient
  • you are age 60-64
  • you are resident in Canada
    • can only receive payments outside Canada for the month of departure and up to six additional months
      • same for the Guaranteed Income Supplement
      • in contrast, OAS Pension benefits continue indefinitely if you lived in Canada for 20+ years after reaching age 18
  • you have lived in Canada for a minimum of 10 years since 18
  • your income (combined with your spouse, if any) is below certain limits

Must reapply annually.


The maximum benefit equals

Monthly Benefit Average (Jan 2007) Maximum (Jan 2007) Maximum Annual Net Income
All recipients $357.87 $901.97 $27,600
Allowance for the survivor $568.17 $999.81 $20,064

Benefit Termination

The Allowance stops when you

  • become eligible for an OAS Pension at age 65
  • leave Canada for more than 6 months, or
  • die

For a couple, the Allowance stops

  • if your spouse becomes ineligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement
  • upon separation or divorce
  • if the survivor remarries or lives in a common-law partnership for more than 12 months


  • clawback based on couple’s “base income” in the previous tax year

taken from here. Clarify later.
The maximum monthly Allowance is reduced by $3 for every $4 of the beneficiary's monthly income for a widowed spouse or common-law partner or the couple's combined monthly income. This happens until the Old Age Security-equivalent is reduced to zero. Then, for a couple, both the Guaranteed Income Supplement-equivalent portion of the Allowance and the pensioner's Guaranteed Income Supplement are reduced by $1 for every additional $4 of the couple's combined monthly income. For a survivor, the Guaranteed Income Supplement-equivalent portion is reduced by $1 for every additional $2 of monthly income.

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