The guaranteed income supplement (GIS) provides a monthly benefit payment to lower income individuals resident in Canada. Payments from July of one year to June of the next, are based on income of the previous calendar year (i.e. 2016 income is used to determine July 2017 to June 2018 payments).
Where an individual is married or in a common-law relationship, GIS entitlements are based on the combined income of a couple. Where an individual enters into a spousal relationship, the payment issued in the following month will be modified to account for the combined income and new GIS reduction threshold.
An estimate of current year income may be used to calculate the GIS rather than using the base year if a major event affecting income occurs in the year (e.g. job loss, business loss, loss of pension). This is commonly referred to as the “Option Method”. The “Option Method” may also be used part way through a payment year when a marital status change occurs. The recalculation would occur for the second payment after the event occurred. This option may provide for increased monthly payments immediately rather than waiting until the following July when the payments are revised based on the prior year income.
For more information on GIS eligibility and the payment calculation, see Service Canada’s information (https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/old-age-security/guaranteed-income-supplement.html).
Action Item: If you experience a change in income or relationship status, consider applying for an adjustment to your GIS payments using the alternative “Option Method”.