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By May Luong

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The number of seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) but not receiving it fell from 191,700 in 2000 to 159,400 in 2006.

Between 2000 and 2006, the GIS take-up rate increased from 87% to 90% with the largest increases for those receiving annual payments of less than $500 and $500 to $999—up 17 and 12 percentage points respectively.

The GIS application rate increased from 45% to 57% with the largest improvements among those 80 and over, who saw an increase of 27 percentage points, followed by those 70 to 79 at almost 25 points.

The probability of not applying for the GIS when eligible was significant and negatively related to annual payments in 2000 but not in 2006, suggesting that, by 2006, those receiving small amounts of GIS payments were just as likely to apply as those receiving the maximum.

Similarly, age was no longer a statistically significant factor in 2006 once automatic applicants (those age 65) were excluded from the sample, suggesting that, by 2006, older seniors (age 70 and over) were just as likely to apply as younger seniors (age 66 to 69).