How the Government is Helping Seniors During the COVID-19 PandemicBrian Jang ON July 23, 2020
The ongoing pandemic has affected everyone to one degree or another, from small businesses to large corporations, families, individuals, youth, and seniors. Some segments of society have been more vulnerable than others, physically, financially, or even emotionally. Fortunately, measures are in place to help.
What has the government done to assist seniors during this time? Keep reading to find out.
Up to $500 One-Time Payment
Virtually everyone has had to tighten their belt at least somewhat. Many businesses were forced to close temporarily, with too many having shut their doors permanently. Even those that managed to stay open typically reduced the number of hours given to employees. Although this might not directly affect seniors in terms of income, they must deal with increasing costs as well as greater difficulty in obtaining the things they need.
In terms of financial assistance, eligible seniors can receive up to a $500 one-time payment to help offset cost of living increases during COVID-19. A one-time $300 tax-free payment is available to seniors who are receiving the Old Age Security (OAS) pension. Additionally, those seniors who are eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) receive a one-time payment of $200. Like the OAS payment, this will be a tax-free payment. Those seniors who qualify for both will therefore receive a $500 total one-time payment.
Seniors who have not yet had their 2019 income information assessed will also receive a temporary extension on their GIS and allowance payments.
Additional Financial Support
Not only do seniors potentially receive the payments listed above, they also benefit from a 25% reduction in the Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) for 2020 and a temporary GST credit increase. On average, the increase for those receiving the credit will be nearly $400 for single individuals and nearly $600 for couples.
More Than Financial
Seniors are dealing with more than economic issues. They may be suffering the effects of isolation and may also be having trouble obtaining their essential items. Therefore, in addition to the financial assistance being offered to seniors, the government is investing $20 million to help fund community projects for seniors through the New Horizons for Seniors Program. This program is intended to help seniors who are suffering the effects of isolation due to the pandemic. By providing tablet laptops and virtual exercise programs, the aim is to mitigate the negative mental and social impacts of COVID-19.
Although this is a challenging time for all, efforts are being made to provide assistance to all those who need it, with hopefully more to follow.