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Navigating Benefits Plan: Understanding and Managing Overage Dependents in Canada

The summer has come and gone, and there is much to look back on. Now that it’s the beginning of Fall, we are settling into our routine of school and work. Whether you are a parent or a student in college, you know how those first few weeks are, which can be described in one word: chaos. However, have no fear, as we are here to assist by supplying you with information regarding your overage dependents and what that means for their coverage on your benefit plan.

What is classified as an overage dependent? In Canada, an overage dependent (OAD), is a dependent that has reached a certain age limit and is no longer covered under their parent’s health benefit plan as a child. Cutoff ages range from 19 to 21, but the most common age is 21. From 22 until their 26th birthday, overage dependents can still qualify to be under their parent’s benefit plan so long as the dependent:

  1. Continues their education (Post-Secondary, Full-Time Students, or enrolled in a Co-op program),
  2. Relies on their parent(s) for financial support – unable to work more than 30 hours during the school year,
  3. Not in a common-law relationship/married,
  4. And/or cannot financially support themselves due to a mental or physical condition.

It is also important to note that your dependent can continue their benefit coverage under your plan past the age of 26, so long as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recognizes them as a disabled dependent.

Steps you can take to ensure you and your family are covered under your benefit plan:

  1. Review your benefit plan
  2. Reach out to your employer or the benefit contact for your company and inform them of any changes, which include but are not limited to:
  • A dependent graduating High School – if the dependent is still living with their parents, will be attending post-secondary, and/or are not financially independent, then they will be able to stay on the benefit plan
  • Reaching the Age of Majority set by your Insurance provider – in this case, the age would be 21. Generally, the insurer will remove your dependent off your plan by their 22nd birthday if they do not receive a change form/OAD form. This form can be provided by the insurer/your benefit contact for your company
  • Reaching the Age Limit for Overage Dependents – once the dependent reaches their 26th birthday, their coverage will end on the parent’s benefit plan, regardless if they are still attending school or are living with their parents (this does not apply to disabled dependents)
  • Graduating University or College – once a dependent graduates from post-secondary or is not enrolled in full-time studies, they are no longer eligible for coverage. Note: as long as the dependent is going to be continuing full-time studies but are on summer break and/or are not working more than 30 hours, they are still eligible to be on the plan

Being proactive about your benefit and your dependents will not only save you time, but ensure your family is covered for what life may throw your way.


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