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Involuntary separation

First, what is involuntary separation?

Implemented by the federal government, it is a procedure that provides financial assistance in situations where two seniors, married or common-law, have to live apart for reasons beyond their control. For example, when one of the spouses must live in a CHSLD, while the other continues to live at home. Involuntary separation will then be implemented if the fees related to the CHSLD place the person in a difficult financial situation. In this example, the involuntary separation would allow the couple to obtain an amount higher than the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) program.

Why have an involuntary separation?

The involuntary separation procedure provides financial assistance to people who have to use all their income to cover the cost of their spouse's residential care. If it is more advantageous to do so, the GIS program payments can be calculated based on individual income, instead of based on the couple's combined income.


This procedure does not end the marital/common-law union. Thus, you will keep your marital or common-law status. You will be considered “single” only for economic purposes by Revenue Canada for the GIS application.

How do you access the program?

1. You have to receive the GIS. If you do not receive it, you must apply for it using form ISP3025, also called “Application for the Guaranteed Income Supplement or Statement of Income for Allowance or Allowance for the Survivor July (20XX) to June (20XX).” This form is available on Service Canada’s website or at a Service Canada Centre near you. To receive the GIS:

  • You must receive the Old Age Security pension. Therefore, you must be 65 years or older.
  • You must also have an annual income below the maximum threshold established for the year. Currently, people whose individual income is less than $18,600 a year may be eligible.

Note: The Old Age Security pension does not count as income.


2. Next, you and your spouse or common-law partner must complete form ISP3040, also called “Statement - Spouses or Common-law Partners Living Apart for Reasons beyond their Control.” This form is available on Service Canada’s website or at a Service Canada Centre near you.


3. You must send your duly completed forms to a Service Canada office, which will transfer them to Old Age Security.


If you need help completing the forms, you may contact Service Canada toll-free at 1-800-277-9915.


As needed, do not hesitate to contact our Caregiver Counselors for more information on this subject, for someone to talk to, or for referrals, at 1-855-852-7784 or at [email protected].