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Raising OAS eligibility age may not be that bad: econ prof

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – What if you had to work an extra two years to get Old Age Security benefits?

It’s an idea floated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, prompting an angry backlash from some Canadians. But UBC economics professor Kevin Milligan says raising OAS eligibility from 65 to 67 could have some benefits.

For starters, he points out you make more money by staying on the job.

“Most Canadians actually already retire before age 65. People have their own savings, a pension through their workplace… so a lot of those folks may have to re-adjust some of their plans. But it’s not like all Canadians are waiting until age 65 to retire under the current system,” explains Milligan.

He notes today, OAS benefits equal $500 per month. “That’s not enough on its own to sustain much of a life in retirement.”

Milligan adds Canadians are simply living longer and may need to re-think that line we imagine between work and retirement. He thinks some of the concerns about the sustainability of old age security have been overblown.