Support for Seniors
OAS/GIS Top Up
On May 12th. the federal government announced a one-time, tax-free top up for seniors who are struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government is making a one-time payment of $300 available to those who already receive the Old Age Supplement, and another $200 for those on the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
The government says more than 6.5 million seniors will benefit from the $2.5 billion initiative.
Seniors who already are receiving OAS and GIS will receive the one-time benefit automatically; they will not be required to apply for it.
The government has reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020.
Seniors with a Disability
On June 5th, the federal government announced support to help Canadians with disabilities deal with extra expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This support includes a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020, as follows:
✓ $600 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate.
✓ $300 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.
✓ $100 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
Combined with the special payments of $300 for Canadians who are eligible for the OAS pension and the additional $200 for those eligible for the GIS, all seniors with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate will receive a total of $600 in special payments. People who are eligible for this special payment will receive it automatically.
Alberta Public Health Order:
To protect the health and safety of Albertans, law enforcement agencies now have full authority to enforce public health orders and issue fines for violations.
Mandatory 14-day self-isolation for returning international travellers or close contacts of people with confirmed COVID-19.
Mandatory 10-day self-isolation for people with symptoms that are not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition: cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat.
Mass gathering restriction violations are now legally enforceable and subject to fines.
Facilities under this order include all nursing homes, designated supportive living and long-term care facilities, seniors lodges and any facility in which residential addiction treatment services are offered under the Mental Health Services Protection Act.
Are there any visitor restrictions in place for Alberta senior’s homes and care facilities?
Individuals over 60 years of age and those with pre-existing health conditions are most at risk of severe symptoms from COVID-19. To prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, among seniors and vulnerable groups: Visitors to any continuing care or long-term care facility in Alberta are limited to a single individual designated by the resident or guardian; Each essential visitor must be verified and undergo a health screening prior to entering the facility. This may include a temperature check or a questionnaire; Facilities must have security staff or a greeter to conduct this screening and verify the visitor is designated; Exceptions to these essential visitor rules will be made for family members to visit a person who is dying, so long as only one visitor enters the facility at a time.
Seniors, and others, can contact 211 if they need help finding resources in their community. 211 is a comprehensive referral system accessible to all Albertans. Call or text 2-1-1, or visit ab.211.ca.