Death After Retirement

Losing a loved one is never easy, but we're here to help when it happens. In this section, we explain what happens with your pension when you or your pension partner pass away after retirement.

The following information applies if you're the surviving spouse, partner or beneficiary, or if you're the personal representative.

Important steps after the death of a retired PSPP member or pension partner:

  • Contact us as soon as either the member or pension partner passes away. We'll help guide you through the potential changes to the pension and the process of applying for any funds that might be paid out by the Plan.
  • Contact the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to discuss potential death and survivor benefits.
  • Contact insurance company(ies), if applicable.
  • Consider consulting an estate lawyer to help manage all the legalities.

Survivor Benefits

The benefits payable to you, the surviving spouse or partner, or chosen beneficiary(ies) in the event of a death depend on the pension option chosen at retirement.

A Joint Lifetime pension continues for as long as either you or your pension partner at retirement are alive. If both of you pass away in the first five years of retirement, the pension will be paid to the named beneficiaries or estate until the end of the five-year guaranteed term.

More on Joint Lifetime Pension Options

Pension Option Survivor Pension Duration Reduction at Death Benefit to Beneficiary(ies) or Estate
Joint Lifetime Guaranteed at Least 5 Years Paid for survivor's lifetime No reduction at death of either member or pension partner Benefit is paid to beneficiary or estate for the remainder of the guaranteed term if both member and pension partner pass away within 5 years of the pension start date
Joint Lifetime Reduced by 1/3 Guaranteed at Least 5 Years Paid for survivor's lifetime

At death of member or pension partner, survivor's pension reduced by 1/3

Remaining pension paid will be 2/3 of the original amount

Benefit is paid to beneficiary or estate for the remainder of the guaranteed term if both member and pension partner pass away within 5 years of the pension start date

 

 Historical Options 

Historical Pension Options

Depending on when you retired, you may have selected a pension option that is not currently being offered:

Joint Lifetime Pensions

Pension Option Survivor Pension Duration Reduction at Death Benefit to Beneficiary(ies) or Estate
Joint Lifetime
(not reduced, no guarantee)
Paid for survivor's lifetime No reduction at death of either member or pension partner None
Joint Lifetime Reduced by 1/3 (no guarantee) Paid for survivor's lifetime

At death of member or pension partner, survivor's pension reduced by 1/3

Remaining pension paid will be 2/3 of the original amount

None
Joint Lifetime Reduced by 1/2
(no guarantee)
Paid for survivor's lifetime

At death of member or pension partner, survivor's pension reduced by 1/2

Remaining pension paid will be 1/2 of the original amount

None

If you didn't have a pension partner at the time of retirement, or if your pension partner chose to complete a Pension Partner Waiver, you would have chosen one of the Single Lifetime pension options. The Single Lifetime pension options are payable for the member's lifetime only.

The guaranteed term means if the member passes away before the end of the guarantee period, the pension will be payable to the named beneficiary(ies) or estate until the end of that guarantee period.

More on Single Lifetime Pension Options

Pension Option Name Member Pension Payment Duration
Single Lifetime None
Single Lifetime Guaranteed At Least 5 Years Benefit paid for remainder of guaranteed term if member passes away within 5 years of pension start date
Single Lifetime Guaranteed At Least 10 Years Benefit paid for remainder of guaranteed term if member passes away within 10 years of pension start date
Single Lifetime Guaranteed At Least 15 Years Benefit paid for remainder of guaranteed term if member passes away within 15 years of pension start date

 

 Historical Options 

Historical Pension Options

Depending on when you retired, you may have selected a pension option that is not currently being offered:

Single Lifetime Guaranteed At Least 20 Years (Guaranteed 20-year term)

Under this option, your pension is paid to you for as long as you live. If you die before the end of the guaranteed period, the pension will pay the named beneficiaries or estate until the end of that 20-year term.

If you chose the coordination option, your pension will change after you pass away. The changes listed below only refer to the coordination amount. There can be other decreases if you chose a pension option with a reduced survivor benefit, such as Joint Lifetime Reduced by 1/3 Guaranteed at Least 5 years.

More on Coordination

If You Started Your Pension Before 2004 If You Started Your Pension After 2003
  • Coordination will continue for as long as a pension is being paid to you, your pension partner or your beneficiary(ies).
  • If you die before age 65, the increase to the monthly payment will continue until the point at which you would have turned 65. Any amount paid to your pension partner or beneficiary(ies) will be reduced on the date you would have reached 65.
  • If you die after age 65, the reduction in the monthly payment will continue for the duration of the survivor's or beneficiaries' pension benefit.
  • Coordination will continue as long as you are alive.
  • If you die before age 65, the increase to the monthly payment will stop. Any amount paid to your pension partner or beneficiary(ies) reverts to your original, uncoordinated pension amount. The pension will not be reduced on the date you would have reached 65.
  • If you die after age 65, the reduction in the monthly payment will stop and your pension partner or beneficiary(ies) will receive a survivor pension based on the original, uncoordinated pension amount.

Beneficiary Information

Any pension benefits payable to beneficiaries after your death will be made according to the most recent information we have on file. Because of this, it's important to keep your beneficiary information up-to-date.

To review the beneficiary(ies) you've chosen, visit mypensionplan.ca or look at your yearly Pensioner Annual Statement. You can change your beneficiaries on mypensionplan.ca or by mailing in a Designation of Beneficiary(ies) form.

You can use your Will to tell us who your beneficiary is, but it must refer to either PSPP or your employment-based pension plan.

Beneficiaries will have the option of receiving monthly payments until the end of the guaranteed term, or they can receive a lump sum payout of the commuted value of that amount.

If you do not name any beneficiaries for your PSPP pension, either with the Plan or in your Will, any funds will be paid as a lump sum to your estate.

More on Beneficiaries