Social Security Tribunal of Canada

Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement General Division: Your reasons for appealing

Here are some examples of things the General Division can make a decision on:

Scenario 1

Luis applied for an Old Age Security (OAS) pension in January 2021. Service Canada denied his application. It said he didn’t live in Canada long enough to qualify because he spent a lot of time in El Salvador. Luis doesn’t agree. He agrees that he’s been to El Salvador often, but he says it was just to help his nephew and niece there.

The law says you have to reside in Canada for at least 10 years to qualify for an OAS pension.

If Luis decides to appeal, he can show that he made a life in Canada with his wife and children. He has a bank account here, owns a house, and has a family doctor he sees regularly. He can show that he has travelled to El Salvador only to help his extended family. He stays with his family and they pay for everything when he’s there.

We can decide whether Luis has resided in Canada for at least 10 years and whether he’s entitled to an OAS pension.

Scenario 2

Elena was receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) at the rate for a single person. Service Canada looked into her situation, because it thought that she was living in a common-law relationship with Mike. He was also receiving the GIS at the single person rate.

The law says that if you have a spouse or common-law partner, you’re supposed to receive the GIS at a lower rate.

If Elena decides to appeal, she can show that she wasn’t in a common-law relationship with Mike. She can show that she took care of Mike for many years, but she was only doing that as a friend, not as a common-law partner.

We can decide whether Elena and Mike were in a common-law relationship and how it might affect the GIS.

Here are some examples of situations where the General Division can’t help you:

Scenario 1

Noah applied in 2015 to receive the GIS as a single person. In March 2017, he started living with his girlfriend, Amy but he didn’t tell Service Canada. In January 2021, Service Canada found out that he’d been living with Amy all this time. So Service Canada sent him a letter telling him that he had to pay back the extra money he’d been receiving since March 2017. 

Noah agrees that he’s in a common-law relationship with Amy. But he decides to appeal because he feels he can’t pay back all that money.  

We can’t decide whether Service Canada should write-off Noah’s debt.

Scenario 2

When Bea started receiving their OAS pension, Service Canada gave them a retroactive payment back to the month after they turned 65. Bea finds the amount low and asked Service Canada to reconsider its decision. Service Canada denied the request because it gave Bea the biggest retroactive payment it could. Bea feels the amount should have been more.

The law says that you can’t get the OAS pension before age 65.

We can’t change the law. We can't tell Service Canada to pay Bea more money.

Decisions about income

We can’t make decisions about issues that relate to income. We refer these issues to the Tax Court of Canada so they can make the decision.

If we refer your case to the Tax Court of Canada, we’ll keep your appeal open at the General Division. Once we get the decision from the Tax Court of Canada, we’ll contact you.


Angel doesn’t agree with the amount of GIS she gets each month. She doesn’t think the income used to calculate her payment is correct. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) determines the income used to calculate GIS payments. To find out if her GIS payment amount is correct or if there was a mistake, Angel can start an appeal with the SST. The SST will send her appeal to the Tax Court of Canada. The Tax Court will decide if CRA determined Angel’s income correctly. The SST can then decide if her GIS payment is correct.

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