The total amount of Old Age Security (OAS) sent to retired Canadians living abroad has increased steadily over the past decade, but declined slightly during the pandemic as global travel restrictions put a brake on international travel.
Total OAS payments to overseas retirees decreased by 0.17% from 2020 to 2021. It then rose 9.7% from 2021 to 2022, hitting a 10-year high.
Senior Minister Seamus O’Regan’s office told CBC News that although there has been an increase due to the pandemic, the proportion of seniors receiving OAS while living abroad has remained constant for the past 10 years at about 2.2 to 2.7 per cent. He said there is.
According to O’Regan’s office, only about 1.3% of all OAS spending comes from overseas, but total spending will increase by 50% between 2012 and 2022, from $414 million to $621 million. increased.
The president and CEO of CanAge, a national senior advocacy group, said the post-pandemic surge is due to a pandemic correction and a realization among some seniors that they may be better off retiring overseas. He said that it reflects both.
“The pandemic has had a huge impact on how Canadian seniors are thinking positively about retirement, but it has also had an impact on what-ifs, what it’s like to grow old in Canada, and the costs of care that come with it. I’m also thinking about that,” Laura Tamblyn Watts told CBC News.
Watts said these seniors reflect, in part, on how the pandemic has affected Canada’s long-term care homes.
Anxiety about long-term care
More than 80 per cent of Canada’s known COVID-19 deaths occurred in the first months of the pandemic Happened during long-term care The proportion of nursing homes is the highest among the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
As of July 2022, more than 17,000 residents of long-term care facilities in Canada have died from COVID-19, according to the National Institute on Aging.
Watts says that when the pandemic ends, “we’ve got to get out of here, we’ve got to make better choices, or we’ve seen the Grim Reaper emerge about what Canada’s aging will look like.” He said he expected to see it soon. “”
Watts said rising costs of living and rising interest rates after the pandemic have led seniors to ask if assisted living abroad is more affordable.
Seniors are eligible to receive their full OAS pension if they have lived in Canada for at least 40 years after turning 18 years old. Canadians who have lived in Canada for at least 10 years and no more than 39 years after turning 18 are eligible to receive a partial OAS pension. OAS pension.
OAS is paid to overseas Canadians who have accumulated at least 20 years of residence in Canada since the age of 18.
If a senior leaves Canada before establishing 20 years of residency, they will only receive OAS payments for the month of departure and six months thereafter.
O’Regan’s office says Canada has agreements with other countries that allow Canadians to qualify for OAS and retirement benefits in that country even if they have never lived or worked in that country. Stated.
There is There are currently 60 such agreements in place. This allows Canadians to receive benefits over varying periods of time.