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Canada Pension Plan Survivor Benefits

January 31, 2011

(Information courtesy of Service Canada)

Canada Pension Plan survivor benefits are paid to a deceased contributor’s estate, surviving spouse or common-law partner and dependent children. There are three types of benefits:

The Canada Pension Plan death benefit is a one-time, lump-sum payment made to the deceased contributor’s estate. If there is no estate, the person responsible for the funeral expenses, the surviving spouse or common-law partner or the next of kin may be eligible, in that order.

The Canada Pension Plan survivor’s pension is paid to the person who, at the time of death, is the legal spouse or common-law partner of the deceased contributor. If you are a separated legal spouse and there is no cohabiting common-law partner, you may qualify for this benefit. If your deceased same-sex common-law partner contributed to the Canada Pension Plan, you could be eligible for survivor’s benefits.

The Canada Pension Plan children’s benefit is paid to a dependent natural or adopted child of the deceased contributor, or a child in the care and control of the deceased contributor at the time of death. The child must be either under age 18, or between the ages of 18 and 25 and in full-time attendance at a school or university.

To qualify for any or all of these benefits, you must have contributed to the CPP for a minimum number of years. Your spouse or common-law partner and children must also meet certain conditions

Frequently asked questions:                                                                              

Can I receive combined retirement pension and survivors benefit?

If you are receiving a monthly survivors benefit from the Canada Pension Plan and you apply for your CPP retirement pension, you will receive a combined monthly benefit.

Similarly, if you are receiving your CPP retirement pension and you apply for a survivors benefit following the death of your spouse or common-law partner, you will receive a combined monthly benefit. To a maximum allowable amount.

Will I lose my pension if I remarry?

No. Your pension will continue even if you remarry.

Note, this is a change in the rules that took place in 1987. If you previously lost a Canada Pension Plan survivor benefit because you remarried, contact Service Canada to find out if you are now eligible.

Who should complete the application?

As the survivor, you are responsible for applying for your monthly pension. If you are incapable of applying, you may have a representative (such as a trustee) apply for you.

If you are caring for a dependent child of the deceased contributor and the child is under the age of 18, you should also apply for the children’s benefit on behalf of the child. However, children under age 18 who are living on their own may complete their own application.

Dependent children who are between the ages of 18 and 25 and in full-time attendance at a school or university should apply for the children’s benefit themselves.

The executor, administrator or a legal representative of the estate should apply for the death benefit. If there is no estate, the person responsible for the funeral expenses, the survivor or the next of kin may apply, in that order.

How do I apply?

You must complete an application. The kit contains the information and instructions as well as a list of documents you will need to include with your application.

It is important that you apply for this benefit as soon as possible. 

For information and a link to the application kit, visit www.widowed.ca

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