OAS eligibility changes to 67 but Harper still gets his ‘retirement allowance’ at 65

In last week's budget, the Harper government delayed the age of eligibility for Old Age Security recipients to 67.

It appears, however, our prime minister is not willing to do the same for his retirement benefits - at least not yet.

All Canadian prime ministers who served at least four years in office are given a $100,000/year allowance beginning at the age of 65. That's $100,000 in addition to their already gold-plated pensions.

On Tuesday, the Liberals tried to introduce a sub-amendment to the federal budget which would have raised the eligibility age of the prime minister's allowance to 67.

It was defeated by the Conservative majority.

"If you're going to increase the Old Age Security to 67, then I would have thought it would have been pretty easy for the Prime Minister to say, well, we'll do the same thing for that," interim Liberal leader Bob Rae told Global News.

"It's like a welfare program."

The Prime Minister's new director of communications, Andrew MacDougall, told PostMedia News changes to MP pensions, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper's retirement bonus allowance, are pending in the coming months.

"There's additional changes the government is looking at that will be part of a legislative package in the fall," he said.

"We're going to consider what they're calling the prime minister's allowance in that package with all MPs and we look forward to the opposition supporting changes to the pension regime for Parliamentarians."

Facts about the allowance to former prime ministers:

- It was introduced in 1963 by former Liberal Prime Minister Lester Pearson

- The cheques, paid monthly, start coming at age 65 and are for life unless the person returns to the House of Commons or the Senate as a sitting member

- Once the former prime minister dies, a designated 'survivor' will receive one-half of the allowance each year.

- According to the Liberals, the benefit is derived from general revenues, just like OAS

- Only two current prime minister's receive the allowance: Jean Chretien and Brian Mulroney

- Here is the legislation:

48. (1) There shall be paid to every person who has held the office of Prime Minister for four years an allowance beginning on the day on which that person ceases to be a member or reaches sixty-five years of age, whichever is the later, equal to two thirds of the annual salary payable under the Salaries Act to the Prime Minister as Prime Minister on that day.