There was an article recently on the Toronto Star Web site that outlined the plight of some Canadian immigrants trying to collect Old Age Security. These folks are struggling to get by because the OAS they were counting on they can’t collect.
The government is demanding everything from landing papers (this is moderately reasonable, but not if you have to wait over 6 months to get it!) to old plane tickets from years past (not so reasonable).
The general take in the article seems to be that the government is trying to save cash – they’ve raised the eligibility rate from 65 to 67, and are now trying to deny people who do qualify for OAS their hard earned cash.
So, what can be learned from this situation?
- Always have a cushion. The retired nurse written about here seems to have worked hard all her life, but have very little to show for it- she’s living entirely off CPP and government assistance. I’m not worried the entire social system will collapse, but I don’t want to be dependent on it either.
- Start looking into the process early – at least 2 to 3 years before you expect to be able to collect OAS, CPP, etc. Determine exactly what paperwork you’ll need to be able to qualify. Start collecting it – some things can take months to obtain from the government or track down.
- Research your resources – there may be community groups or other resources that can help point you to people in your situation, and help you determine how to cut through the red tape.
Unfortunately, you often have to fight for what is rightfully yours – whether it’s CPP or OAS, or reimbursement from your insurance company (add link). By arming yourself with all the papers you need, and starting early, you give yourself a fighting chance.
Do you think you may end up in this situation or know anyone who has? Have you ever had to argue with the government for something you should be entitled to?