Survivor's pension

Survivor's pension

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) survivor's pension is a monthly payment paid to the legal spouse or common-law partner of the deceased contributor.

Step 1 Do you qualify

To qualify for the survivor’s pension, you must:

  • be legally married to a deceased CPP contributor
  • be the common-law partner of a deceased CPP contributor

Common-law partner

According to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) legislation, a common-law partner is a person of either sex who has lived with you in a conjugal relationship for at least 1 year.

To prove that you are in a common-law relationship, or that you and your spouse lived in a common-law relationship prior to your marriage, you will need to fill out 1 of the following forms:

If you are a separated legal spouse and the deceased had no common-law partner, you may qualify for this benefit.

If you previously remarried

The rule was changed in 1987. If you previously lost a Canada Pension Plan survivor’s benefit because you remarried, contact Canada Pension Plan to find out if you are now eligible.

If you are widowed more than once

If you are widowed more than once, only one survivor's pension - the larger - will be paid.

If you remarry

Your pension will continue even if you remarry.

You may also qualify for other CPP benefits

In addition to the CPP survivor’s pension, you may be eligible to receive:

Step 2 How much could you receive

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

  • whether you are younger or older than age 65
  • how much, and for how long, the deceased contributor has paid into the CPP

We first calculate the amount that the CPP retirement pension of the deceased 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.

If you are age 65 or older

You will receive 60% of the contributor's retirement pension, if you are not receiving other CPP benefits.

If you are under age 65

You will receive a flat rate portion and 37.5% of the contributor's retirement pension, if you are not receiving other CPP benefits.

Combining the survivor's pension with other CPP benefits

If you already receive a Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement pension or disability pension, the survivor's pension will be combined into a single monthly payment.

However, you cannot receive a full survivor's pension while also receiving a full retirement pension or disability pension. The combined benefit is not necessarily the sum of the 2 separate benefits.

The following restrictions relate to benefit amounts if you are eligible for more than 1 CPP benefit.

Combining the disability pension and the survivor's pension

The most that can be paid to a person eligible for both the disability pension and the survivor's pension is the maximum disability pension (which is more than the maximum survivor's pension).

Combining the CPP retirement pension and 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).

Combining multiple benefits

When combining multiple benefits with a flat-rate component, only 1 flat-rate (the largest) is provided (for example, the post-retirement disability benefit rather than the smaller flat-rate for a survivor under age 65).

When combining multiple benefits, the total amount of combined CPP benefits paid is adjusted based on the survivor's age and other benefits received.

CPP enhancement

The CPP enhancement component of your survivor’s, retirement and/or disability pensions will be added to the amount of the base component of your combined benefit.  The enhanced component of a combined benefit is not subject to the above maximums.

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

Step 3 When to apply

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 (11 months plus the month you apply).

Step 4 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.

A registered trustee, guardian, or other legal representative, may act on a client’s behalf in person, by mail or by phone, but not online. For more information, you can contact the Canada Pension Plan.

Step 5 Apply

Apply online

To apply for your benefit online:

  • sign in to your MSCA and complete the online CPP Survivor’s Pension form
  • mail certified true copies of the required documentation or drop them off at a Service Canada office, and
  • indicate both the deceased contributor’s Social Insurance Number and your own on all documents before sending them to Service Canada

Apply using a paper application

To apply for your benefit using a paper application:

Providing Service Canada with your email address

Note: When you apply, you can provide your email address. We may send you an email to provide you with information or ask you to call us if we can’t reach you by phone. Please note that we won't ask you to send information such as SIN, banking, or other personal details by email.

Step 6 After you apply

Your first payment

The survivor's pension starts at the earliest the month after the contributor's death.
It takes approximately 6 to 12 weeks to receive your first payment from the date Service Canada receives your completed application.

Review your application status

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

If you disagree with a decision

You may request a reconsideration of any decision that affects your eligibility or the amount of your Canada Pension Plan benefit.

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