Thank you for your advocacy. MPs like you have been writing and reflecting on the important messages they've been getting from their constituents. We've been hearing it also through the ministry, and I've been hearing it in my riding.
Seniors are really struggling with these additional costs and also with isolation. What we announced this week addresses these two things quite directly.
We have made it very simple to access this benefit, in that you do not have to apply. If you are receiving OAS or are eligible for old age security, you will be receiving the $300 one-time special payment, and you don't have to apply. This is also true if you're receiving the guaranteed income supplement. You will get a special payment of an additional $200.
A couple on GIS, the guaranteed income supplement, will get $1,000 from this new measure we brought forward this week, along with the GST top-up from April that they would have received. On average, they would have received, as a couple, $510, so if you add the two, that's over $1,500 of immediate COVID-19 support. That is a significant help to seniors who are struggling with those additional costs.
To address the other issue, isolation, we've upped the new horizons for seniors money, which is money that goes directly to groups that are on the ground in communities serving seniors, helping them access those groceries and get those supplies. They need help. If they're in their homes and can't go out or are afraid to go out, now they have community support to help them.