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Feds target low-income seniors with tax mailings to boost benefit take-up

Last Updated Jan 22, 2019 at 12:45 pm EST

A tax return form is pictured in Toronto on April 13, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Federal officials are set to blitz seniors in the coming weeks with letters to remind them to file their taxes on time hoping to get more low-income seniors enrolled in federal benefit programs.

Tens of thousands of letters will go out to Canadians over 65 years old, as well as soon-to-be-seniors, explaining that they could be eligible for the low-income supplement on top of old age security.

The government says many low-income seniors who could use the extra cash often don’t apply for it because they think they earn too much to qualify.

Employment and Social Development Canada documents show more than one in 10 seniors who are eligible for the guaranteed income supplement didn’t receive it in 2016-17.

What makes the initiative interesting is that federal officials are going through all the work now in order to never have to do it again.

ESDC says the size of the mailings will shrink over time as more seniors are automatically enrolled in the program and will be instantly evaluated to see if they need the federal income supplement.