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Canada Pension Plan Benefits

Death Benefit

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) death benefit is a one-time, lump-sum payment to the estate on behalf of a deceased CPP contributor.

If an estate exists, the executor named in the will or the administrator named by the Court to administer the estate applies for the death benefit. The executor should apply for the benefit within 60 days of the date of death.

If no estate exists or if the executor has not applied for the death benefit, payment may be made to other persons who apply for the benefit in the following order of priority:

  • The person or institution that has paid for or that is responsible for paying for the funeral expenses of the deceased;
  • The surviving spouse or common-law partner of the deceased; or
  • The next-of-kin of the deceased.

Eligibility

For us to pay the death benefit, the deceased must have made contributions to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) in the lesser of:

  • One-third of the calendar years in their CPP contributory period, but no less than 3 calendar years; or
  • 10 calendar years.

Learn more about contributions to the CPP.

The international social security agreements that Canada has with other countries may be used to satisfy these requirements. See lived or living outside Canada.


How much could you receive?

The amount of the death benefit depends on how much and for how long the deceased contributed to the CPP. In January 2016, the average death benefit paid was $2,296.85 and the maximum was $2,500. Consult the table of current Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payment amounts.

To calculate the amount of the death benefit, we first calculate the amount that the CPP retirement pension is or would have been if the deceased had been age 65 at the time of death.

The death benefit is equal to six months' worth of this calculated retirement pension up to a maximum of $2,500.


After you have applied

Payment from Service Canada takes approximately 6 to 12 weeks from the date we receive your completed application.

If more than 12 weeks have passed and you have not received payment from Service Canada, please contact us at 1-800-277-9914 (TTY: 1-800-255-4786). Agents are available to assist you from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. local time.


Survivor's Pension

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) 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 the deceased had no cohabiting common-law partner, you may qualify for this benefit.


How much will I get?

Consult the table of current Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payment amounts.

The amount you receive as a surviving spouse or common-law partner will depend on:

  • Whether you are also receiving a CPP disability benefit or retirement pension (see Combining Canada Pension Plan Pensions)
  • Your age
  • How much, and for how long, the deceased contributor has paid into the CPP

We first calculate the amount that the CPP retirement pension is, or would have been if the deceased had been age 65 at the time of death. Then, a further calculation is done based on the survivor's age at the time of the contributor's death.


Canada Pension Plan Survivor Benefits

If the survivor is:

  • Age 65 or more
  • Age 45 to 64

  • Under age 45

 AND disabled (according to CPP legislation)

 or raising a dependent child

Then the survivor's pension is:

  • 60 per cent of the contributor's retirement pension, if the surviving spouse or common-law partner is not receiving other CPP benefits
  • A flat rate portion

 plus 

37.5 per cent of the contributor's retirement pension, if the surviving spouse or common-law partner is not receiving other CPP benefits

Canada Pension Plan Survivor Benefits

If the survivor is:

  • Under age 45 

AND not disabled (according to CPP legislation) 

AND not raising a dependent child
  • Under age 35 AND not disabled (according to CPP legislation) AND not raising a dependent child

Then the survivor's pension is:

  • As above (age 45 to 64)

 minus 1/120 for each month the spouse or common-law partner is under the age of 45 at the time of the contributor's death
  • Not paid until the spouse or common-law partner reaches age 65

 or
 
becomes disabled

When and how do I apply?

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.

You should apply as soon as possible after the contributor's death. If you delay, you may lose benefits. The Canada Pension Plan can only make back payments for up to 12 months.

To apply, you must complete the Canada Pension Plan survivor's pension and children's benefits application form (ISP1300) and mail it to us.


When will my survivor's pension start?

The survivor's pension starts at the earliest the month after the contributor's death.

As soon as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) has all the information and documentation, your application will be processed.


Will I lose my pension if I remarry?

No. Your pension will continue even if you remarry.


Can I combine the survivor's pension with the Canada Pension Plan retirement pension and other benefits?

If you already receive a Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement pension or disability benefit, the survivor's pension will be combined with them into a single monthly payment. Note the following restrictions to benefit amounts:

  • The most that can be paid to a person eligible for both the disability benefit and the survivor's pension is the maximum disability benefit (which is more than the maximum survivor's pension).
  • The most that can be paid to a person who is eligible for the retirement pension and the survivor's pension is the maximum retirement pension (which is more than the maximum survivor's pension).
  • The total amount of combined CPP benefits paid is adjusted based on the survivor's age and other benefits received.

In other words, you cannot receive a full survivor's pension while also receiving a full retirement pension or disability benefit. The combined benefit is not necessarily the sum of the two separate benefits.

Consult the table of current Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payment amounts.


I submitted my application. Now what?

It takes approximately 6 to 12 weeks to receive your first payment from the date Service Canada receives your completed application.

If more than 12 weeks have passed and you would like to find out the status of your application, contact Canada Pension Plan.



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