Feds announce up to $500 in aid for seniors struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic

The federal government is providing short-term support for seniors struggling to pay increased costs for things like food delivery, extra prescription dispensing fees and a lack of public transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The feds announced a one-time aid package for seniors that goes up to $500.

Seniors who qualify for Old Age Security (OAS) will be eligible for a one-time, tax-free payment of $300, and those eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will get an extra $200.

You won’t have to apply for the aid, federal officials say the money will be automatically delivered to seniors who receive OAS and GIS.

Old Age Security payments are based on a per-person basis, meaning that for couples where both partners receive OAS, each person would get the top-up.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says those eligible for both OAS and GIS will receive $500. He expects 7 million seniors will benefit from the supports, worth $2.5 billion.

those eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will get an extra $200.
Those eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will get an extra $200.

The prime minister says this pandemic has exposed some uncomfortable truths about how we treat our seniors. “There are serious underlying challenges facing these (long-term care) facilities,” says Trudeau.

“In the months ahead there will be conversations about how to address long term care, but it will be up to the provinces – the federal government will be there to support and help.”

The federal government is also investing another $20-million on the New Horizons for Seniors Program. Seniors Minister Deb Schulte said that money will help to mitigate the impacts of isolation.

“Seniors have helped shape the Canada we know and love today. Supporting seniors during this difficult time is essential. With an additional $300 for OAS recipients plus a further $200 for GIS recipients, we are helping Canadian seniors get the support they need during the pandemic,” wrote Schulte in a statement.

Included in the announcement is the temporary extension of GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed, which officials say will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits.

The federal government had previously invested $1.3 billion in a one-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit in April. More than 4 million seniors benefited from this top-up.

more to come…