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Hello,

I applied OAS and GIS early April, 2020 online and I was wondering how long the processing times will take these days due to the current situation (pandemic)?

Thank you for sharing your experiences.
M.
 

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There should be no changes in applying for OAS due to the virus other than in how you apply. It's online only as Service Canada's bricks and mortar offices have been closed.


Assuming you have applied somewhere around the year before you are eligible to start receiving payments, you can expect a letter to arrive eventually saying what you will be paid. It can normally be several months before you receive that letter.

 

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Assuming you have applied somewhere around the year before you are eligible to start receiving payments, you can expect a letter to arrive eventually saying what you will be paid. It can normally be several months before you receive that letter.
I applied in March 2019 and requested a start of February 2020 (the allowed maximum of 11 months in advance). When six months passed and no notice of my application had shown up on the Service Canada (SC) site I called and was told because I had spent six years working in the US SC had to consult with the US (I never did get a good explanation of why that was required).

When I had not heard by December 2019 I called again and was told they had not heard from US and had to wait at least 411 (?) days to hear back. (Still no notice on SC site that they had received my application)

In March 2020 called again and was told because a full year had passed since I applied they could ask the processing site about the status of my application. Two days later my application showed up on the SC site and said approved as of February (??) . Got letter in mail next week saying payments would start in March. No payment in March. On April 9th the deposit was in my bank account for February and March, 13 months later.
 

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I applied in March 2019 and requested a start of February 2020 (the allowed maximum of 11 months in advance). When six months passed and no notice of my application had shown up on the Service Canada (SC) site I called and was told because I had spent six years working in the US SC had to consult with the US (I never did get a good explanation of why that was required).

When I had not heard by December 2019 I called again and was told they had not heard from US and had to wait at least 411 (?) days to hear back. (Still no notice on SC site that they had received my application)

In March 2020 called again and was told because a full year had passed since I applied they could ask the processing site about the status of my application. Two days later my application showed up on the SC site and said approved as of February (??) . Got letter in mail next week saying payments would start in March. No payment in March. On April 9th the deposit was in my bank account for February and March, 13 months later.
Sounds about right BC Eddie. Bureaucracy always moves at a snail's pace. But you got there in the end so that's what matters.

The issue with your 6 years in the USA is that OAS is paid based on the number of years of residence in Canada after age 18. The maximum payment is paid IF you were resident for 40 or more out of the potential of 47 years between age 18 and 65. Many people actually don't know this or find out until they go to apply. For every year of qualifying residency under 40 years, they deduct 1/40th of the maximum payment. So obviously, anyone who has spent time outside of Canada gets some extra scrutiny.

So you were absent 6 years and in order to verify the number of years, they asked the USA bureaucrats to verify that time period. That automatically added the amount of time it took for them to get verification to the amount of time it takes them to process an application. Hence the delay.

I actually had a laugh when I applied and declared I had spent 7 years outside of Canada during the qualifying years. The countries and circumstances under which I was absent did not lend itself to them being able to verify how long I spent in them. So they asked me to 'proof when I left and when I returned to Canada'. I could prove my return easily enough but I could not prove when I left. They suggested believe it or not 'a airline boarding pass'. Who keeps an airline boarding pass for 7 years? Hilarious.

So I wrote back to them and said that I could not provide proof of when I left but if they chose not to take my word for it then I supposed they would have to just assume I had never left. I heard no more from them and my OAS maximum payment arrived when expected. LOL
 

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Sounds about right BC Eddie. Bureaucracy always moves at a snail's pace. But you got there in the end so that's what matters.

The issue with your 6 years in the USA is that OAS is paid based on the number of years of residence in Canada after age 18. The maximum payment is paid IF you were resident for 40 or more out of the potential of 47 years between age 18 and 65. Many people actually don't know this or find out until they go to apply. For every year of qualifying residency under 40 years, they deduct 1/40th of the maximum payment. So obviously, anyone who has spent time outside of Canada gets some extra scrutiny.

So you were absent 6 years and in order to verify the number of years, they asked the USA bureaucrats to verify that time period. That automatically added the amount of time it took for them to get verification to the amount of time it takes them to process an application. Hence the delay.

I actually had a laugh when I applied and declared I had spent 7 years outside of Canada during the qualifying years. The countries and circumstances under which I was absent did not lend itself to them being able to verify how long I spent in them. So they asked me to 'proof when I left and when I returned to Canada'. I could prove my return easily enough but I could not prove when I left. They suggested believe it or not 'a airline boarding pass'. Who keeps an airline boarding pass for 7 years? Hilarious.

So I wrote back to them and said that I could not provide proof of when I left but if they chose not to take my word for it then I supposed they would have to just assume I had never left. I heard no more from them and my OAS maximum payment arrived when expected. LOL
Everything you say LTA is correct and I was aware of the 40 year requirement. What I still don't understand is Canada's need to verify with the US. At the time I left Canada in 2000 I filled out all the necessary paperwork to claim US residency (and had to lock up my Canadian investments). By that time I had already earned 31 years in Canada.

When I applied in 2019 I had earned a further 13 years for a total of 44. When I returned in 2006 I also completed all the necessary border paperwork to take myself and all my possessions back across the border. So with all those years and all that Canadian paperwork why Canada still had to wait 411 days and then basically ignore the requirement once my application was outstanding for a year seems like pointless bureaucracy to me (And I have worked in every level of government in Canada, seen a lot of bureaucracy, and understand the value of it when done right. This does not seem like a case of that to me)
 

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Everything you say LTA is correct and I was aware of the 40 year requirement. What I still don't understand is Canada's need to verify with the US. At the time I left Canada in 2000 I filled out all the necessary paperwork to claim US residency (and had to lock up my Canadian investments). By that time I had already earned 31 years in Canada.

When I applied in 2019 I had earned a further 13 years for a total of 44. When I returned in 2006 I also completed all the necessary border paperwork to take myself and all my possessions back across the border. So with all those years and all that Canadian paperwork why Canada still had to wait 411 days and then basically ignore the requirement once my application was outstanding for a year seems like pointless bureaucracy to me (And I have worked in every level of government in Canada, seen a lot of bureaucracy, and understand the value of it when done right. This does not seem like a case of that to me)
Hi Eddie - You are 100% correct in suggesting that there should have been no reason to confirm your residence/contribution in the US. That is only necessary if you needed to count the US residence/contributions in order to qualify for OAS under the Canada/USA agrement. Either they were BS'ing you to explain the delay in processing it, or someone didn't know what they were doing.
 

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Everything you say LTA is correct and I was aware of the 40 year requirement. What I still don't understand is Canada's need to verify with the US. At the time I left Canada in 2000 I filled out all the necessary paperwork to claim US residency (and had to lock up my Canadian investments). By that time I had already earned 31 years in Canada.

When I applied in 2019 I had earned a further 13 years for a total of 44. When I returned in 2006 I also completed all the necessary border paperwork to take myself and all my possessions back across the border. So with all those years and all that Canadian paperwork why Canada still had to wait 411 days and then basically ignore the requirement once my application was outstanding for a year seems like pointless bureaucracy to me (And I have worked in every level of government in Canada, seen a lot of bureaucracy, and understand the value of it when done right. This does not seem like a case of that to me)
Interesting math BC Eddie. If you were gone for 6 years out of a possible maximum of 47 eligible years (age 18-65), how could you have 44 qualifying years? According to my math the maximum you could have had is 47-6=41.

If you used that math when you applied, I can see where they might have decided they needed more info. LOL

Who knows why bureaucrats do what they do in any given situation. I concluded long ago that asking them questions like 'why' was a waste of time.

Look at my own real example, they asked for proof of my leaving Canada and suggested a boarding pass. Does that really sound like a common sense suggestion to give someone after years of absence? And look at what happened when I responded that I could not provide proof of when I left and so I suggested they should assume the alternative that I had not left. No second response from them in reply to my logic, just a letter saying what I would get on the due date.

Looking for sense or logic in bureaucracy is futile. Console yourself with this though. Bureaucracy in Canada is a pain in the butt, time consuming and frustrating but it is nothing like bureaucracy in some other countries. When I lived in Greece for some years, I saw bureaucracy taken to the highest art form imaginable. I learned to adopt the attitude of all Greeks to it. Basically, that is not to expect to ever get to the end of any process you become involved in. Then if you do arrive at an end it comes as a welcome surprise. You don't ever question 'how did it come to an end'. Doing that would likely start a whole new process! LOL
 

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I always smile when I think about when I asked my landlord in Greece, why no mail had arrived for several weeks. He answered, 'the mailman goes on vacation for August.'

That was it, his entire answer and all he expected to have to tell me for me to understand. If the mailman is on vacation after all, how can you expect there to be a delivery? It's logical, just not logic as you or I would expect it to be.

Now imagine if you asked, 'why is my application delayed' and the answer was, 'the guy who has to work on your application has gone on vacation for 3 weeks.' No doubt that is probably not uncommon at all but no one is going to tell you that here in Canada. LOL
 

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On another occasion, I went to a municipal office for something. The office hours were 8-4.30pm or something like that. I got to the office that I wanted to deal with at 3.30, just in time to see the guy locking the office door. I said, 'aren't you open till 4.30?' He said, 'yes, but my wife is away visiting her sister so I have to go pick up my kids from school. Come back tomorrow.'

Absolutely logical. I could go on with numerous other examples of Greek logic that I found both amusing and even sometimes thought provoking. Like why if you come to a red light and there is absolutely no traffic crossing in the other directions, do you stop and wait for the light to turn green? Where's the logic in that? If there is no traffic at all, there is no safety issue if you stop, look, see there is no traffic and then proceed regardless of the light colour. It's just like you do at a stop sign. You yield right of way IF there is traffic to yield to. Why do we sit at that light? I know it is the law but what is the purpose if there is no traffic?
 

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You are right again LTA when you write

"Interesting math BC Eddie. If you were gone for 6 years out of a possible maximum of 47 eligible years (age 18-65), how could you have 44 qualifying years? According to my math the maximum you could have had is 47-6=41. "

I forgot that age 65 is the cutoff for OAS qualifying years. However, I believe my main point is still correct (as Dogger has supported; thank you sir!) that the inquiry to the US was unnecessary.
 

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You are right again LTA when you write

"Interesting math BC Eddie. If you were gone for 6 years out of a possible maximum of 47 eligible years (age 18-65), how could you have 44 qualifying years? According to my math the maximum you could have had is 47-6=41. "

I forgot that age 65 is the cutoff for OAS qualifying years. However, I believe my main point is still correct (as Dogger has supported; thank you sir!) that the inquiry to the US was unnecessary.
If bureaucracy relied on 'necessary' as a criteria to justify their existence they would be in big trouble BC Eddie. LOL

There is a reason why, when I still had to work for a living, that one rule of hiring was to never hire someone who had worked in the public sector. The private sector has always seen ex-public sector people as having learned and developed ingrained bad working habits. Habits designed to FILL a day, not PRODUCE in a day.

Bureacrats have a vested interest in things taking up more time, it's how they stay employed. Imagine if they came up with a faster way to process something and it resulted in only needing 50 of them instead of 100. What a disaster!

For PROFIT businesses on the other hand have a vested interest in coming up with those kind of things. It increases their profit. That's the business they are in after all. What business is bureaucracy in?
 

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If bureaucracy relied on 'necessary' as a criteria to justify their existence they would be in big trouble BC Eddie. LOL

There is a reason why, when I still had to work for a living, that one rule of hiring was to never hire someone who had worked in the public sector. The private sector has always seen ex-public sector people as having learned and developed ingrained bad working habits. Habits designed to FILL a day, not PRODUCE in a day.

Bureacrats have a vested interest in things taking up more time, it's how they stay employed. Imagine if they came up with a faster way to process something and it resulted in only needing 50 of them instead of 100. What a disaster!

For PROFIT businesses on the other hand have a vested interest in coming up with those kind of things. It increases their profit. That's the business they are in after all. What business is bureaucracy in?
I understand your view of bureaucracy but I think you are overly biased against the Public Sector. To have a rule of never hiring anyone who had ever worked in the public sector seems very myopic to me.

I have worked in the public sector in all three levels of government and seen first hand the quality of the people who work there. I had the good fortune of getting into computer systems work early on and spent 15 years in Federal, Provincial and Municipal government. I then went on and did independent consulting in Canada and the US for Fortune 500 companies. I can tell you from my experience that many excellent people work in both worlds. The one concession I will make is that the larger the organization the higher the bureaucracy. Poor managers + big bureaucracy = poor results.
 

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I understand your view of bureaucracy but I think you are overly biased against the Public Sector. To have a rule of never hiring anyone who had ever worked in the public sector seems very myopic to me.

I have worked in the public sector in all three levels of government and seen first hand the quality of the people who work there. I had the good fortune of getting into computer systems work early on and spent 15 years in Federal, Provincial and Municipal government. I then went on and did independent consulting in Canada and the US for Fortune 500 companies. I can tell you from my experience that many excellent people work in both worlds. The one concession I will make is that the larger the organization the higher the bureaucracy. Poor managers + big bureaucracy = poor results.
I am not saying there are no good workers in the public sector at all BC Eddie. But in my experience with many large private sectors companies, the GENERAL rule of avoiding hiring people from the public sector was quite common.

Like it or not, every organization whether public or private develops a 'culture'. That culture determines what is acceptable, non-acceptable, common practice, etc. When someone joins an organization, they either already 'fit' that culture or have to learn to adapt and CONFORM to it or to end up leaving/fired. I think that is pretty easy to understand and realize is true.

The problem that arises is when someone from one culture joins an organization with a different culture. On a very basic level of difference between private and public consider 'for profit' vs. 'follow the rules'. In a given situation, how someone following one vs. the other will in fact act differently as a result. If what you want is one and not the other, hiring someone who thinks in the opposite way will not be a good thing for your organization. At best, it will take some time for the person to change their way of thinking.

I hope that provides some clarity. It is not a question of good or bad workers per se, it is a question of a different cultural viewpoint directing the workers response in a given situation. So while a 'good worker' in the public sector might do what is expected and follow the rules, a 'good worker' in a the private sector might be expected to know when to ignore the rules in order to do what the private company is in business to do, make profits.

Someone can move from one to the other and then learn to adopt the 'new culture' they are working in but that will take time. Hiring someone who already thinks the same way, takes no time to adapt. In the private sector, 'time is money'. So which would you hire if you had two reasonably qualified people to choose from? The answer is easy, the one most likely to 'hit the ground running'.

I have even experienced something like this personally in the private sector where a company believes they need to hire someone with a particular background. It's very common to hear an employer ask, 'what background do you have in our industry?' I once applied for a sales position and was asked this exact question. It was a company that made and sold highly engineered control systems. My answer was, 'do you want someone that can sell something to someone else or do you want someone that can engineer your products?' I was the first non-engineer they ever hired for a sales position. I was able to change the question from 'what do you know about engineered products' to 'what do you know about selling'.

Why an employer uses the criteria they use when hiring is totally up to them. Saying their criteria is 'myopic' may indeed be true but it won't get you hired. So IF I were a public sector experienced person applying for a private sector job, I would be prepared to overcome the objection of cultural differences up front. I would not wait for it to be raised as it might not be raised, it might only be being thought about in the employer's head.
 

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I think if you take the time and go back and read what you just posted you will see that you just shot yourself in the foot.

I am sure the other readers have had enough of this discussion so I will leave the last word to you.
 

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I think if you take the time and go back and read what you just posted you will see that you just shot yourself in the foot.

I am sure the other readers have had enough of this discussion so I will leave the last word to you.
BC Eddie, if you have something to say then say it. Enigmatic remarks about if I read my own post I will see I shot myself in the foot are pointless.

If you think I shot myself in the foot then say HOW exactly I did so. I can't read what I wrote and see it from your viewpoint you know.
 
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