CPP retirement pension: Overview

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

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The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement pension is a monthly, taxable benefit that replaces part of your income when you retire. If you qualify, you’ll receive the CPP retirement pension for the rest of your life. To qualify you must:

  • be at least 60 years old
  • have made at least one valid contribution to the CPP

Valid contributions can be either from work you did in Canada, or as the result of receiving credits from a former spouse or former common-law partner at the end of the relationship.

You must apply

CPP payments are not automatic. You must apply. You should apply in advance of when you want your pension to start.

Our goal is to pay your CPP retirement pension in the month of the start date you choose.

Pension amount

The amount you receive each month is based on your average earnings throughout your working life, your contributions to the CPP, and the age you decide to start your CPP retirement pension. Your contributions to the CPP are based on your earnings.

The standard age to start the pension is 65. However, you can start receiving it as early as age 60 or as late as age 70.

If you start receiving your pension earlier, the monthly amount you’ll receive will be smaller. If you decide to start later, you’ll receive a larger monthly amount. There’s no benefit to wait after age 70 to start receiving the pension. The maximum monthly amount you can receive is reached when you turn 70.

For 2019, the maximum monthly amount you could receive as a new recipient starting the pension at age 65 is $1,154.58. The average monthly amount is $679.16. Your situation will determine how much you’ll receive up to the maximum.

There are different factors that can affect how much you'll receive, such as time taken off from work to care for young children. Find out more about how much you could receive.You can also work while receiving a CPP retirement pension.

How long will it take to process your application

We begin to process your application once we receive your completed application form. It will take:

  • 7 to 14 days for online applications
  • normally within 120 days for applications delivered at a Service Canada Centre
  • normally within 120 days for applications sent by mail

It could take longer to process your application if Service Canada does not have a complete application.

You may also qualify for other CPP benefits

In addition to the CPP retirement pension, you may also quality for other CPP benefits listed below. Like the CPP retirement pension, you will need to apply for these benefits (except for the Post-retirement benefit if you already receive the CPP retirement pension).

CPP enhancement

Starting in 2019, the CPP will gradually increase due to the CPP enhancement. The enhancement works as a top-up to the base, or original CPP, and will mean higher benefits in retirement in exchange for making higher CPP contributions. The CPP enhancement will only affect you if you work and make contributions to the CPP as of January 1, 2019.

The CPP enhancement will increase the CPP retirement pension, post-retirement benefit, disability pension and survivor’s pension you could receive. There’s no change to qualifying for CPP benefits.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the CPP?

    A monthly, taxable benefit that replaces part of your income when you retire. If you qualify, you’ll receive the CPP retirement pension for the rest of your life.

  • How much is CPP at 60?

    At age 60, your CPP amount depends on your contributions and your average annual earnings.

  • How much do you get from CPP?

    Your CPP amount depends on the age you started your pension, your contributions and your average annual earnings.

  • What is the maximum CPP for 2020?

    For 2020, the maximum monthly amount is $1,154.58. The average monthly amount is $679.16.

  • How many years do you need to work to get CPP?

    Everyone is entitled to CPP regardless of how many years you have worked. How much you receive depends on your earnings as well as your contributions.

  • Who is eligible for the Canada Pension Plan?

    To qualify for the CPP, you must be at least 60 years old and have made valid contributions.

  • How do I apply for my Canada Pension?

    If you qualify for CPP, you can apply online. You can also mail or drop-off a completed form to a Service Canada office.

  • Should I take my Canada pension at 60 or 65?

    Deciding when to start collecting CPP should be based on your finances, health, life expectancy and taxes. The main reason to delay CPP is that you will receive a larger benefit.

  • When should I apply for CPP benefits?

    The standard age to start CPP is 65. You can start receiving as early as age 60 or as late as age 70. You should apply in advance of when you want your pension to start.

  • How long does it take to receive CPP after applying?

    It takes approximately 7 to 14 days for online applications, 120 days for applications delivered by mail or in-person to a Service Canada Centre.

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