Boost to seniors benefit this summer and beyond could cost $10.7 billion

Parliamentary budget officer is estimating the Liberals’ plan might be cheaper than anticipated

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux waits to appear before the Commons Finance committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday March 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux waits to appear before the Commons Finance committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday March 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The parliamentary budget officer is estimating the Liberals’ plan to send one-time payments this summer to seniors over 75 and then boost their old-age benefits thereafter will cost slightly less than the government estimates.

April’s budget estimated that the overall cost of the measures would amount to just over $12 billion over five years before accounting for tax revenues that will offset a small part of the overall spend.

The budget office in a report today estimates the gross cost will be closer to $10.7 billion.

The spending starts this summer with the government’s planned one-time payment of $500 in August to every senior who will be 75 and over by the summer of 2022.

And come next summer, the Liberals are also proposing a 10-per-cent boost in old age security for those over 75, which the budget estimated would provide an extra $766 in benefits to 3.3 million retirees.

The budget estimated the net cost of the measure, once accounting for extra tax revenues, at almost $10.7 billion, while the budget officer’s report puts it closer to $9.9 billion.

—The Canadian Press

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