TN 6 (10-03)
GN 01715.125 Eligibility for Canadian Benefits Under the Agreement
A. Policy – General
Under the agreement, Canada will count a worker’s U.S. coverage, where necessary, in determining eligibility for Canadian benefits under both the Old-Age Security (OAS) and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) programs.
B. Policy – Old-age security program
1. Old-Age Security (OAS) Benefit
As noted in GN 01715.020, a person must have credit for at least 10 years of residence in Canada to receive an OAS benefit while in Canada and credit for at least 20 years of residence in Canada to receive an OAS benefit while outside Canada. Under the agreement, if a person resided in Canada for at least 1 year, but not long enough to meet the 10-year or 20-year requirements, the person’s years of coverage under the U.S. Social Security system can be added to his or her years of residence in Canada to meet the applicable requirement. Thus, the agreement permits someone who meets the:
10-year requirement based on combined coverage to receive an OAS benefit while in Canada (and for up to 6 additional months after leaving Canada)
20-year requirement based on combined coverage to receive an OAS benefit without interruption while living in the United States; i.e., the benefit will not be suspended if the person is in the United States for longer than 6 months.
When determining eligibility for an OAS benefit under the agreement, Canada will only count a person’s U.S. quarters of coverage (QC’s) and periods of residence in Canada credited after age 18 and after 1951 (the present OAS program began January 1, 1952). This requirement applies even though Canada normally counts periods of Canadian residence before 1952 when determining eligibility for regular OAS benefits under its domestic law.
2. Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
A person who qualifies for an OAS benefit based on combined coverage can qualify for the GIS under the same rules as a person who qualifies for the OAS benefit without Totalization.
Canada will combine a spouse’s or common-law partner’s (whether of the same or different sex) U.S. coverage with periods of residence in Canada (subject to the restrictions in GN 01715.125B.1.), if necessary, to determine if the 10-year requirement is met.
NOTE: Canada defines “common-law partners” as two people, regardless of sex, who have lived together, in a conjugal relationship for at least 1 year.
C. Policy – Canada pension plan (CPP)/QUEBEC pension plan (QPP)
Since retirement benefits under CPP/QPP are payable with as little as 1 year of coverage, Canada will not consider U.S. coverage in determining eligibility.
Canada will consider U.S. coverage for disability and survivors benefits, which require more than 1 year of coverage to become eligible. If the worker has at least 1 year of CPP/QPP coverage but not enough to meet the minimum coverage requirement for disability or survivors benefits, Canada will count coverage under the U.S. system credited after 1965 in determining whether the minimum coverage requirement is met. Since the CPP and QPP programs did not begin until January 1, 1966, no credit will be given for U.S. coverage earned before that date.
Canadian benefit eligibility requirements, GN 01715.020
Application for benefits under the Canadian agreement, GN 01715.215