Old Age Security - What you need before you start


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4. What you need before you start

In deciding when to apply for your OAS pension, consider your personal financial situation as well as the following scenarios, if they apply to you.

The month after you turned 64 years old, you received from Service Canada

  • a letter informing you that you were selected for automatic enrolment
    • You will not have to apply for your OAS pension if the information in your letter is accurate
    • If you wish to defer your OAS pension you may do so by:
      • accessing your My Service Canada Account and following the directions, or
      • signing and returning the automatic enrolment letter by mail


  • a letter informing you that you could be eligible for the OAS pension
    • You will need to apply for your OAS pension as soon as possible by:
      • applying online through your My Service Canada Account, or
      • by completing and mailing the application enclosed in your letter to Service Canada, or
      • by completing the application enclosed in your letter and bringing it to a Service Canada office

The month after you turned 64 years old, you did not receive a letter from Service Canada

  • If you wish to start receiving your OAS pension at age 65, you should apply for it right away
  • If you have already reached 65, and you wish to start your OAS pension immediately, you should apply as soon as possible so you do not lose any benefits. (We may be able to give you a retroactive payment for up to 11 months from the date we receive your application)

When to apply

You can apply a maximum of 12 months before the date you want your pension to start.

You can request retroactive payments for a maximum of 11 months, or back to your 65th birthday plus 1 month—whichever is shortest.

Applying online

To be able to apply online for your Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), you must sign in to your My Service Canada Account. If you have not yet registered for a My Service Canada Account, you will require a Personal Access Code. You can get it online, over the phone or in person at a Service Canada Office.

When you apply online for your OAS pension and the GIS, you confirm your personal information and provide:

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • information about your spouse or common-law partner if you have one (Social Insurance Number, date of birth)
  • information about where you have lived since age 18
  • your banking information to sign up for direct deposit
  • the date you would like your pension to start
  • your reduction in employment or pension income ready, if applicable


The online OAS and GIS application is designed to issue payments by direct deposit to your bank account.

If you prefer to receive your payment by cheque, complete the OAS and the GIS Application (ISP-3550). Get certified true copies of the required documents, and mail the application and documents to Service Canada or bring them to a Service Canada office. If you go to a Service Canada office, an employee can certify your documents free of charge.

You were unable to apply when you became eligible

If, due to a medical condition, you were unable to apply earlier or to ask someone to apply on your behalf, please contact us to obtain the Declaration of Incapacity form. If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, filling out and returning this form may allow you to receive your pension with an earlier start date.

Delaying your Old Age Security pension

As of July 2013, you can defer receiving your OAS pension for up to 60 months after the date you become eligible for an OAS pension in exchange for a higher monthly amount.

Learn more about deferring your OAS pension

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