GAINS ensures a guaranteed minimum income for Ontario seniors by providing monthly payments to qualifying pensioners. The monthly GAINS payments are on top of the federal Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) payments you may receive.
How much money could I receive?
Your monthly GAINS payment will range between $2.50 and $83.00 and will decline as your private income increases.
Do I qualify?
You may qualify for GAINS payments if:
- you live in Ontario
- you are 65 or older
- you receive the federal OAS and the federal GIS
- you have lived in Ontario for the past 12 months, or for a total of 20 years since turning 18
- you have 10 or more years of Canadian residency, and
- your total income from all sources is below the level guaranteed by the province.
Moving out of Ontario
GAINS may be paid during temporary absences from Ontario. However, GAINS payments will stop if you are out of the province for more than six consecutive months. If you return to Ontario, you can restart your GAINS payments, based on your eligibility, by contacting the Ministry of Finance.
Moving into Ontario from another province
If you currently get both OAS and GIS payments and have lived in Ontario for one full year, the ministry will automatically review your eligibility for GAINS payments. The one full year residency requirement is waived if you previously lived in this province for a total of 20 years after the age of 18.
How is the amount I get for each benefit year calculated?
A GAINS benefit is only paid when total income, including OAS, GIS and all other sources of income, falls below the annual level guaranteed by the province.
The amount of GAINS payment is directly linked to the amount of your federal GIS monthly payments and usually remains the same throughout the benefit year which starts in July and ends in June of the next year. However, there may be circumstances which will change your GAINS payment amounts such as marriage, separation, death of a spouse, or a spouse turning 65.
Seniors with no private income receive maximum GAINS benefits of $83.00. A single senior whose private income (e.g., Canada Pension Plan, bank interest) amounts to $1,992 or more a year will not receive any GAINS payments. Similarly, senior couples with a combined private annual income of $3,984 or more will not receive any GAINS payments.
The income level guaranteed by the province is updated every quarter to account for inflation.
The GAINS benefit rate tables show OAS/GIS/GAINS payment amounts based on income received from other sources, including private pension plans.
How do I apply for GAINS?
If you currently receive a full or partial federal OAS pension plus the federal GIS, you do not have to apply for GAINS. Your benefits will be determined based on information the ministry receives from Employment and Social Development Canada and information provided on your annual personal income tax and benefit return (return). The GAINS payment is based on your income. If you are a member of a couple, your GAINS payment is based on the combined income of yours and that of your spouse or common-law partner. Every year, you must either file a return or complete a GIS application to receive the maximum benefits available for Ontario seniors.
When will I receive my money?
The Ministry of Finance issues GAINS payments on or about the 25th day of each month.
To set up direct deposit for your OAS, GIS and GAINS payments, call Service Canada at 1 800 277-9914 (press 0 to speak with an agent) or do it online.
T5007 slips are issued to seniors who receive GAINS payments in the previous calendar year.
If you are not satisfied with a decision regarding your GAINS entitlement, you may contact the ministry for an explanation. If you are still not satisfied after contacting the ministry, you may make a formal objection by completing a Notice of Objection form. Your Notice of Objection must be received by the Advisory, Objections, Appeals and Services Branch within 90 days from the day the minister's decision was mailed to you.
For general information about GAINS or to discuss your account, please call the Ministry of Finance at 1 866 668-8297 or 1 800 263-7776 for teletypewriter (TTY)