Early Retirement Benefits
This section is an excerpt from the Ontario Works Act, 1997 prescribed by the Province of Ontario.
Ontario Works Regulations
13 (1) If the administrator is not satisfied that a member of a benefit unit is making reasonable efforts to obtain compensation or realize a financial resource or income that the person may be entitled to or eligible for, the administrator may determine that the person is not eligible for basic financial assistance or reduce the amount of basic financial assistance granted by the amount of the compensation, financial resource or income that in his or her opinion is available or would have been available had reasonable efforts been made to obtain or realize it.
(2) For the purpose of subsection (1),
c. a retirement pension under the Canada Pension Plan or the Quebec Pension Plan that is available to a person before the month in which the person attains 65 years of age is not a financial resource to which that person is entitled;
Canada Pension Plan (CPP / Quebec Pension Plan QPP)
A person may be eligible for early retirement benefits through the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) at age 60. Any monthly benefits received would be at a reduced rate compared to the amount that would be available to that person at age 65.
The decision to make an application for the early retirement benefits remains with the client.
An applicant must be advised of this potential financial resource.
The option to access early CPP or QPP retirement benefits is not considered when making a determination of income or assets available to an OW applicant or participant.
If funds are accessed, the monies are considered as income and assets when determining OW eligibility.
Access to Locked in Retirement Accounts
Amendments to the Pensions Benefits Act allow access to locked-in retirement accounts under specific circumstances of financial hardship. The intent of the changes to this Act was to add flexibility for a person facing financial hardship to access locked-in retirement accounts at the person’s discretion.
The Amendment specifically provides that a person’s entitlement to access funds from the specified locked-in retirement accounts shall not be relevant when determining the income or assets available to that person under any other Act.
The specified funds include:
- Life Income Fund (LIF)
- Locked-in Retirement Account (LIRA)
- Locked-In Retirement Income Fund (LRIF)
If funds are accessed, the monies are considered as income and assets when determining OW.