Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) provides a monthly, non-taxable benefit to low-income Ontario seniors.
If you have no private income, you’ll receive the maximum benefit. Your payment can change if your income or marital status changes. GAINS payments are provided on top of the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) payments you may receive from the federal government. Together, the total maximum benefits from OAS, GIS and GAINS is the “guaranteed income level”. The province guarantees that eligible Ontario seniors will have at least this minimum level of income.
The guaranteed income level is updated every three months to reflect inflation. The Ontario government is doubling the GAINS payment for all recipients for 12 months beginning January 2023. This measure will increase the maximum GAINS payment to $166 per month for single seniors and to $332 per month for couples, a maximum increase of almost $1,000 per person in 2023.
Starting January 2023 until December 2023, the doubled payment will be automatically issued as part of a person’s regular monthly GAINS payments. You qualify for GAINS payments if you: are 65 years or older; have lived in Ontario for the past 12 months or for a total of 20 years since turning age 18; have been a Canadian resident for 10 years or more; receive the federal OAS pension and GIS payments; have an annual private income of up to $1,992 if you are a single senior or up to $3,984 if you are a senior couple. Private income may include money from a private pension, the Canada Pension Plan, bank interest, etc. If you currently receive the OAS pension and GIS, you do not have to apply. GAINS benefits will be determined based on information received from the details provided on your personal income tax and benefit return. To receive your GAINS payments you must: file your tax return every year by April 30, even if you don’t have income to report, or complete a GIS application and send it to the Service Canada office.
For free help completing your return call Community Care at 613-476-7493. We are a participating agency with the CRA “Community Volunteer Income Tax Program” (CVITP) and we’ll get your return completed and submitted by e-file. Our volunteers also complete returns going back seven years if you haven’t submitted them. If that’s you, there could be thousands of government dollars waiting for you. To be eligible for CVITP, seniors 60+ must have a modest income and a simple tax situation. Call to find out more at 613-476-7493. People under 60 can access CVITP through the Learning Centre by calling 613-476-1811.
-Debbie MadDonald Moynes