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Coronavirus: One-time, tax-free payment for eligible seniors coming this week

Coronavirus: Ottawa preps pandemic fiscal update and senior benefit boosts
WATCH: It's a big week ahead for Canada's pocketbook, as the federal government prepares to provide its first fiscal update since the pandemic began while also issuing a one-time boost to seniors' security benefits and income supplements.

A long-awaited tax-free payment for millions of seniors during the coronavirus pandemic will be delivered this week, the federal department administering the payment says.

Nearly two months ago, the Liberal government announced that seniors receiving the Old Age Security (OAS) pension would get a one-time, tax-free top-up of $300 to soften the blow of extra expenses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, including grocery deliveries and additional dispensing fees at pharmacies.

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Recipients of the Guaranteed Income Supplement payment — a monthly, non-taxable benefit provided to low-income OAS recipients — would get an additional $200, the government said.

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Seniors eligible for one or both of these payments will see them in their mailboxes and bank accounts this week, according to a news release issued by Employment and Social Development Canada on Monday.

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The government is telling those residing outside the country to expect their payment sometime in July “given international postal disruptions.”

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According to the government, 6.7 million seniors are eligible for the OAS pension, while 2.2 million are eligible for the supplement payment. Seniors don’t need to apply for the payment in order to receive it, the release said.

Earlier this spring, Seniors Minister Deb Schulte said the government also provided seniors extra cash through a one-time top-up GST credit. According to Monday’s release, more than four million “low- and middle-income” seniors received that payment, totalling $1.3 billion.

The government has estimated the top-up program for seniors will cost about $2.5 billion. The Liberals are scheduled to release a fiscal “snapshot” of the state of the country’s finances on Wednesday.

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