How to Apply for a Canada Old Age Security Pension

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Canada's Old Age Security (OAS) pension is a monthly payment available to most Canadians 65 or older, regardless of work history. It's not a program that Canadians pay into directly, rather it is funded out of the Canadian Government's general revenues. Service Canada automatically enrolls all Canadian citizens and residents who are eligible for pension benefits and sends a notification letter to these recipients a month after they turn 64. If you have not received this letter, or you receive a letter informing you that you could be eligible, you must apply in writing for Old Age Security pension benefits.

Old Age Security Pension Eligibility

Anyone living in Canada who is a Canadian citizen or legal resident at the time of applying and who has resided in Canada for at least 10 years since turning 18 is eligible for an OAS pension.

Canadian citizens living outside of Canada, and anyone who was a legal resident the day before leaving Canada, might also be eligible for an OAS pension if they resided in Canada for at least 20 years after turning 18. Note that anyone who lived outside Canada but worked for a Canadian employer, such as the military or a bank, can have their time abroad counted as a residence in Canada, but must have returned to Canada within six months of ending employment, or must have turned 65 while abroad.

OAS Application

Up to 11 months before you turn 65, download the application form (ISP-3000) or pick one up at a Service Canada office. You can also call a toll-free number to receive the application, which requires basic information such as Social Insurance Number, address, bank information (for deposit), and residency information. For assistance with completing the application, call the same number.

If you are still working and wish to put off collecting benefits, you can delay your OAS pension. Indicate the date you want to start collecting benefits in section 10 of the OAS pension form. Include your Social Insurance Number in the space provided at the top of each page of the form, sign and date the application, and include any required documentation before sending it to the regional Service Canada office nearest you. If you are filing from outside of Canada, send the application to the Service Canada office nearest to where you last resided in Canada.

Required Information

The ISP-3000 application requires information about certain eligibility requirements, including age, and asks applicants to include certified photocopies of documents to prove two other requirements:

  • Certificate of citizenship, immigration documents, or temporary resident's permit to prove Canadian legal status, unless you have lived in Canada your entire life.
  • Stamped passport pages, visas, customs declarations, or other documents to prove Canadian residence history.

Photocopies of documents proving your legal status and residence history can be certified by certain professionals, as outlined in the Information Sheet for Old Age Security Pension, or by staff at a Service Canada Centre. If you don't have proof of residency or legal status, Service Canada might be able to request the necessary documentation on your behalf. Fill out and include the ​Consent to Exchange Information with Citizenship and Immigration Canada with your application.


If you have already turned 65, send your application as soon as possible so you don't miss any more payments. If you have already supplied the documents when applying for a Canada Pension Plan retirement pension, you do not need to supply them again. If you are incarcerated, you can still apply for a pension but the benefits will be suspended until your incarceration ends.

If your application is denied, you must submit a request for reconsideration in writing within 90 days of receiving the notification. The appeal should include your name, address, telephone number, Social Insurance Number, and the reason for your appeal, including any new information that would affect the application, and be sent to the address on the notification letter.

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Your Citation
Munroe, Susan. "How to Apply for a Canada Old Age Security Pension." ThoughtCo, Jul. 29, 2021, Munroe, Susan. (2021, July 29). How to Apply for a Canada Old Age Security Pension. Retrieved from Munroe, Susan. "How to Apply for a Canada Old Age Security Pension." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 28, 2023).