Benefits or social assistance for my retiring father?
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Thread: Benefits or social assistance for my retiring father?

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Benefits or social assistance for my retiring father?

    Dear all,

    I am new to this forum. I apologize if this is not the right place to post this question.

    Here's my situation. My dad immigrated to Canada in 1989 and became a Canadian citizen in 1993. He started a business in Toronto in 1990 and sold it in 1995, as it was losing money. In 1995, he moved back to Hong Kong and worked in China ever since.

    He is turning 68 and he plans to come back to Toronto at the end of 2017. I have just found that he is not eligible for Old Age Security because he has not lived in Canada for at least 10 years. Neither is he eligible for Guaranteed Income Supplement or any allowance because these require him to be eligible for OAS.

    Here are my questions:
    1) My dad does not own any property. He does not have any pension plan. Is there any social assistance or allowances he can receive?
    2) Does it mean that he will be able to receive OAS after he lives in Canada for a total of 10 years? (i.e., living in Canada for another 4 to 5 years to reach the 10-year requirement)
    3) Which government department(s) shall I contact if I want to clarify all the details about my dad's situation?

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks a lot.


  2. #2
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    Why should the government look after him? He probably has never paid any income tax due to his business failure and was only a citizen while living here for 2 years. I welcome people to this wonderful country of ours and support helping those in need but do not support any thought that this is a place to come and live and be looked after by then government. If he does receive a full full ride from the government then its time for a change. Suggest his family should be prepared to pay his living expenses including health care.
    I apologize if I have offended anyone with my post.

  3. #3
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    Generally speaking, government assistance is supposed to theoretically be self funding. This means people who claim benefits are supposed to have contributed to the program from which they are claiming (hence the requirement to live in Canada for a certain time before being eligible).

    If Canada simply gave out benefits to everyone over 65, what would prevent people from other countries from simply moving here to retire? It would bankrupt the country.

    From what you've said, your father has not really contributed much, if anything, towards the Canadian tax system, and thus won't be eligible to receive any benefits. He would most likely be expected to be supported by family.
    I'm not JustAGuy (without spaces), or Donald, or <insert name here>.

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  5. #4
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    Not to be cruel, but I'm with the rest here. Your father's situation is exactly what the rules are set up to guard against. Someone comes here works for a couple of years, and gets decades worth of social assistance. That really isn't fair to the tax payers.

  6. #5
    Senior Member sags's Avatar
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    As a Canadian citizen he should be able to receive social assistance from the Province. It is administered by the municipality.

    In Ontario it is called the Ontario Works program. It appears that people over the age of 65 are eligible to collect benefits and are exempt from the Participation requirement.

    "You are not required to participate in employment-related activities if you are 65 years old or older, are caring for a child who is less than school age, or if you have a serious illness or disability. " Note......the link and information is NOT to a government website. It is a site that offers information to female victims of abuse about the Ontario Works program.

    http://owjn.org/owjn_2009/jasons-test-submenu-page/65

    He should also be able to receive OAS/GIS when he reaches the 10 year of residency milestone.

    Canada has reciprocal agreements with other countries that can be used to qualify for benefits in Canada.

    I don't know if China is a signatory to the agreement though.

    https://www.canada.ca/en/services/be...igibility.html

    Note........apparently there is a limited agreement with China, but it appears to only involve employees who are sent to China by their employers.

    You would have to check with the CRA on your father's eligibility for these matters.

    http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=958079
    Last edited by sags; 2017-02-13 at 10:51 AM.
    Someone planted a tree a long time ago so I can sit in the shade.

  7. #6
    Senior Member sags's Avatar
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    As a general question to the forum members.

    If a person in Canada, who never left Canada but struggled throughout their lives with addictions and other problems and didn't qualify for any CPP pension, reaches old age..........what benefits do they have to live on ?

    OAS/GIS/GAINS........? Could people survive on that income ?

    What do we do about people who "fall through the cracks" in our system ?
    Last edited by sags; 2017-02-13 at 10:56 AM.
    Someone planted a tree a long time ago so I can sit in the shade.

  8. #7
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    I know nothing about GAINS but there could be a small minority of people who are limited to OAS/GIS and that is pretty close to poverty level ($1442/mo for someone who qualifies for full OAS). I have opined many times in forums that OAS and GIS needs to be overhauled to re-distribute that pool of money to those that need it more. As it is, it borders on largesse to give senior couples potentially up to $150k of income, full quotas of OAS without any clawback, while at the same time having a small GIS program which only applies to seniors. OAS needs to be rolled way back in terms of income levels when clawback starts and is fully clawed back, and clawback needs to be based on family income (not individual income). That would provide a bucket of money (not needed by fat cat seniors) for an overhauled GIS program with higher benefits AND not make it age based, or at least rolled back to age 50 or so when the unskilled may develop physical disabilities that prevents them from physical labour. The objective should be to raise poverty level benefits to a survivable income without discrimination due to age.

    Some will argue that would take away the incentive to work. I don't believe so if the benefit level is only at that level that prevents true homelessness and starvation. Even the poor strive to have a cell phone these days.

    Edited: To qualify the $1442/mo The OP's father won't (and shouldn't) qualify for that level of assistance due to his lack of having contributed to Canada for the requisite period of time albeit as Sags says, there may be some reciprocal arrangements for some pittance. There should not be any expectation of Canadian benefits at this time.
    Last edited by AltaRed; 2017-02-13 at 12:12 PM.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sags View Post
    As a general question to the forum members.
    If a person in Canada, who never left Canada but struggled throughout their lives with addictions and other problems and didn't qualify for any CPP pension, reaches old age..........what benefits do they have to live on ?
    OAS/GIS/GAINS........? Could people survive on that income ?
    What do we do about people who "fall through the cracks" in our system ?
    Speaking only from our experience - an older family member with modest ~$300/mo CPP at age 60 and similar from a modest pension: They applied for Ontario Works (= welfare) to start a disability assessment process. Paid some until CPP began, then it is clawed back. It does allow for some basic prescription coverage I believe. Spoke with and went through a disability app process but that 'got lost' and has never gone anywhere. Hoping for some OAS/GIS when they do turn 65.
    This is a person who worked in a trade and then drove taxi for many years, but lost 2 homes and has personal care and health problems, etc. Would like to work but don't seem to realize they are unemployable due to these issues and age. They have some sort of disability re/ holding a job, finances/money but it was never formally diagnosed when they were younger.

    What is the solution? In our case, it was to retreive them from a filthy basement in a so-called friend's townhouse who was about to kick them out, and to buy a small bungalow for them to live in. It costs me about $700/mo to maintain them re/ property taxes/utilities/etc.

    So indeed - you need to either be personally successful and look after yourself, or be formally diagnosed with a disability/addiction and let the system look after you - otherwise you will be 'in between', falling through the cracks in retirement.
    I suppose the other possibility is to have family who will look after you.

  10. #9
    Senior Member sags's Avatar
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    Our system needs a line item analysis and changes. It is one messed up system right now.

    People on social assistance can't become students........what ?

    People who get laid off and qualify for EI, but who want to try to make it with their own business for awhile, lose the opportunity to file for EI if it is beyond 30 days from their layoff date.........what ?

    Why do we punish people for trying to avoid or get off benefit systems ?
    Last edited by sags; 2017-02-13 at 01:42 PM.
    Someone planted a tree a long time ago so I can sit in the shade.

  11. #10
    Senior Member sags's Avatar
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    My own opinion is there are a lot of people who earn a good living administrating all these benefits and don't recommend any changes.

    And politicians love the opportunity to take taxpayer money and spread it around.......appearing benevolent and caring in the process.

    A single guaranteed income would eliminate a lot of agency jobs and politicians would have to find "election goodies" somewhere else.

    Someone planted a tree a long time ago so I can sit in the shade.

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