Service Canada reaching out to seniors

Service Canada is currently undertaking in an effort to ensure lower income seniors continue to receive the federal benefits to which they are entitled.

This year, due to the implications of the extension of the CRA tax filing deadline, many seniors in receipt of the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), Allowance or Allowance for the Survivor benefit, have not yet submitted their 2019 income tax information.

Since GIS and the Allowance are paid, in normal circumstances based on the previous year’s income, these clients would have had their benefits discontinued July 2020 if not for interim measures approved for July to December 2020. Clients are encouraged to submit their income information as soon as possible, so as to avoid any interruption in the payment of GIS, Allowance or the Allowance for the Survivor in January 2021. During the week of October 5, 2020, Service Canada sent reminder letters and Statement of Income forms to clients in receipt of these benefits whose income information for 2019 had not been received.

These individuals received a ‘reminder kit’ requesting completion and submission of the Statement of Income form. The reminder kit contained: a reminder letter; a Statement of Income form and instruction sheet; and, a self-addressed return envelope. If community members or individuals do not have access to the internet or face other barriers, the Service Canada Outreach Support Centre will ensure they get access to the critical benefits they need. Clients can call the toll-free number (1- 877-355-2657) TTY: 1-833-719-2657 from 8:30am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday.

Community Care volunteers will still complete 2019 (or earlier) income tax returns for seniors who live in Prince Edward County. If you’re a senior 60+ whose single income is $35,000 or lower or a couple whose household income is $45,000 or lower, you may be eligible for help through this program. Volunteers have been trained by Canada Revenue Agency to complete Income Tax Returns for eligible clients. Volunteers do not complete income tax and benefit returns for: deceased persons; resident of Long-term Care homes; bankrupt individuals; for those with more than $1000 of investment income; for individuals with capital gains/losses; or for people with business or rental income and expenses.

There is no charge, donations are encouraged.

A physically distant procedure is in place and seniors are encouraged to call 613-476-7493 for more information.

-Debbie MacDonald Moynes