Applying for Social Security or CPP/OAS?

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Applying for Social Security or CPP/OAS?

Post by Canuck2 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:41 pm

How can I maximize my pension benefits, minimize any tax withholding and avoid the WEP?

I am a Canadian citizen living in the USA for 16 years (Green card) and just turned 70 and want to apply for Social Security/CPP/OAS in the most efficient manner possible that gives me the largest monthly benefit, while avoiding any withholding tax and/or WEP if possible.

Unfortunately, I only have 14 credits with Social Security, based on self-employment in the USA, but I understand that thanks to the CANADA/USA Social Security Agreement, and with my 34 years of working in Canada (and contributing to CPP & OAS) can be taken into account in a formula that would give me some reasonable monthly Social Security benefit..

My questions are:
1) Should I apply for Social Security through the American system or apply for CPP/OAS through the Canadian system while using the the Canada/USA Social Security Agreement to take into account the total working years/credit? Which way will give me the biggest bang for the buck?

2) Can I avoid the WEP? From what I read in certain publications, the WEP doesn't apply to benefits under a Social Security agreement with the US. And since combining my 34 years in Canada with the 3.5 years in the USA equals well over the 30 years of substantial earnings, thus qualifying for the WEP "30 years of coverage" exemption as stated in the Social Security Act.

3) Do I qualify for any Social Security benefits under my wife's record? (she is 64 and has over 40 credits (10 years) of contributions already). I saw somewhere that I may be able to qualify for half her benefit. Is that correct?

Any comments are appreciated...

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Re: Applying for Social Security or CPP/OAS?

Post by stewak2 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:31 pm

My understanding is you won't pay WEP as you don't have 40 quarters in US. Your will qualify for US SS based on Canadian credits, but those credits are for qualification only and don't increase the US SS amount ( which won't be much with 14 quarters ). You will get whatever Canadian CPP and OAS you are otherwise entitled to. I believe you apply for US SS and they will contact Canada and obtain the necessary information. For CPP and OAS you apply through Canada. I don't believe you can do much to maximize anything, short of considering the age at which you start taking both CPP and US SS. OAS does not have a sliding scale based on age of application. If you are 70 you should be applying for all immediately.

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Re: Applying for Social Security or CPP/OAS?

Post by exPenn » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:58 am

As stated above, you do not have to worry about WEP. If you are over 70, you should definitely apply for all of SS, CPP and OAS as soon as possible. Your CPP will depend on your work record in Canada. It should be increased by 42% by deferring it from age 65 to 70. OAS is currently about $600 (Canadian) per month, and starting in 2013, it too is increased by 36% by deferring to age 70. Remember that both will be paid in Can$ which currently is only about 0.75 US$. Information and applications can be found at ... sions.html.

You will be eligible for some small SS based on your US work history. When your wife applies for her SS, you will be eligible for a spousal benefit of 1/2 of whatever she receives (instead of your personal SS, not in addition to).

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