Resolution 2014.05 Old Age Security Allowance for Individuals 60 to 64 Years of Age Regardless of Marital Status
Whereas, Single, separated or divorced individuals 60 to 64 years of age are not eligible for Old Age Security Allowance; and
Whereas, Spouses or common-law partners 60 to 64 years of age of individuals receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement are eligible for the Old Age Security Allowance; and
Whereas, Widows and widowers 60 to 64 years of age are eligible for Allowance for the Survivor benefit; and
Whereas, The Canadian Human Rights Act provides that all individuals should have equal opportunity without discriminatory practices based in part on marital and family status; therefore, be it
Resolved, That national council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada, in 94th annual national convention assembled, urge the federal government to include all individuals 60 to 64 years of age, regardless of marital status, to be eligible for Old Age Security Allowance.
BRIEF: Old Age Security Allowance for Individuals 60 to 64 Years of Age Regardless of Marital Status
“Payment amounts for the Old Age Security benefits (Guaranteed Income Supplement, Allowance and Allowance for the Survivor) are based on your marital status and level of income” (Government of Canada).
“The Old Age Security (OAS) pension is a monthly payment available to most Canadians 65 years of age who meet the Canadian legal status and residence requirements. In addition to the Old Age Security Pension, there are three types of Old Age Security benefits: Guaranteed Income Supplement, Allowance, and Allowance for the Survivor” (Government of Canada). “The allowance component of OAS/GIS is available to low-income individuals aged 60-64 who are married to a low-income pensioner, and to low-income widows [or widowers] aged 60-64. Low-income individuals aged 60-64 who have never married or who are separated or divorced are not eligible” (Canadian Association of Social Workers).
“The allowance was introduced in 1975. It is targeted to individuals 60 to 64 whose spouse is the recipient of the basic OAS pension, plus the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Together, the couple are considered ‘low income’. The OAS Allowance can be worth up to the maximum of $961.18 per month. The allowance for the survivor was introduced in 1985. It is designated to help widows and widowers, 60 to 64 who have a low income. The current maximum allowance for the survivor monthly benefit is $1,065.45″ (Hansard).
“Nearly 6% of seniors still live in poverty, amounting to almost 300,000 people. One in six single seniors, most of whom are women, lives in poverty” (CARP). “Single seniors are more prone to lower income than their married or coupled counterparts. Eighteen percent of single women and 14% of single men over 65 live in poverty” (ibid). “Exacerbating the problem for single seniors is that the OAS Allowance for people ages 60-64 is not available to those who are single, divorced or separated, or married to someone who has not yet reached age 65” (ibid).
The Canadian Human Rights Act provides that all individuals should have equal opportunity without discriminatory practices based in part on marital and family status. Hansard reports that “… individuals are being treated unfairly and that the federal government should make changes to ensure that all low-income Canadians ages 60 to 64, who qualify, are eligible for the allowance.”
“It is unacceptable that the federal government is excluding one group of people for much-needed assistance based on marital status. This policy creates two classes of senior. It penalizes those who have never married or who have been divorced or separated” (Hansard). The federal government is urged to include all individuals, 60 to 64 years of age, regardless of marital status, for the eligibility of OAS Allowance benefits.
- “Financial Status of Low and Moderate Income Women.” Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW). N.p. n.d. Web. 9 Feb 2014. http://www.casw-acts.ca/sites/default/files/policy_statements/CASW%20pre%20budget%20Consultation%20on%20Financial%20Status%20of%20Low%20and%20Moderate%20Income%20Women.pdf
- “2013 Budget Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance” CARP.N. p. n.d. Web. 8 Feb 2014. http://www.carp.ca/2013/08/09/carps-federal-pre-budget-submission-2013/
- “Old Age Security payment amounts.” Service Canada. Government of Canada. N.p. n.p. Web. 9 Feb 2014 http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/services/pensions/oas/payments/index.shtml?utm_source=vanity+URL&utm_medium=print+publication,+ISPB-185,+ISPB-341&utm_term=/oasamounts&utm_content=Mar+2013,+eng&utm_campaign=OAS+Pension+2013,+Benefits+for+Low+Income+Seniors
- “Allowance for people ages 60 to 64.” Service Canada. Government of Canada. N.p. n.p. Web. 9 Feb 2014. http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/services/pensions/oas/allowance.shtml
- “Allowance for the Survivor.” Service Canada. Government of Canada. N. p. n.p. Web. 8 Feb 2014 http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/services/pensions/oas/allowance-survivor.shtml
- “Guaranteed Income Supplement.” Service Canada. Government of Canada. N.p. n.p. Web. 8 Feb 2014 http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/services/pensions/oas/gis/index.shtml
- “The Canadian Population in 2011: Age and Sex.” Statistics Canada. Government of Canada. N.p. n.p. Web. 6 May 2014. http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/2011/as-sa/98-311-x/98-311-x2011001-eng.cfm
- “Debates of the Senate (Hansard).” Parliament of Canada. 3rd Session, 40th Parliament,Volume 147, Issue 98. N.p. 24 Mar. 2011. Web. 8 Feb. 2014. http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/Sen/Chamber/403/Debates/098db_2011-03-24-e.htm#78
- “Debates of the Senate (Hansard).” Parliament of Canada. 1st Session, 41st Parliament, Vol. 148, Issue 48. 7 Feb. 2012. N.p. Web. 8 Feb 2014.http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/Sen/Chamber/411/Debates/048db_2012-02-07-e.htm%20
- Canadian Human Rights Act. Justice Laws Website. R.S.C., 1985, c. H-6;2012, c. 1, s. 137(E). Government of Canada. Web. 9 Feb 2014. http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/H-6/page-1.html#docCont
- Write to the prime minister, minister of employment and social development and local members of parliament urging the federal government to include all individuals 60-64 years of age, regardless of marital status, to be eligible for Old Age Security Allowance.
- Educate members on the various Old Age Security benefits and eligibility requirements.
- Monitor governments’ responses to the request contained in the resolution.