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 common-law partner, you may qualify for this benefit.

Note:

If you were under age 35 when your spouse or common-law partner died, you are not yet 65 and you are not receiving the CPP survivor’s pension, you may now be eligible to begin receiving this pension due to changes in the eligibility rules. However, to receive the survivor’s pension you will need to apply for it. Information on how to apply is below.

Widowed more than once

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

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 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 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: Then the survivor's pension is:
age 65 or more 60% of the contributor's retirement pension if the surviving spouse or common-law partner is not receiving other CPP benefits
under age 65 a flat rate portion

plus

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

The enhancement will further increase the amount of the survivor’s pension depending on how much and for long the deceased contributor paid into the enhancement.

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.

Important notice: If you previously remarried

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

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 pension, the survivor's pension will be combined with them into a single monthly payment.

Note the following restrictions to benefit amounts in the base CPP:

  • 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).
  • 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).
  • When combining multiple benefits with a flat-rate component, only one 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).
  • 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 pension. The combined benefit is not necessarily the sum of the two separate benefits.

Note: The enhancement portion of your survivor’s pension or disability pension will be added to the amount of your combined benefit in the base CPP. This portion is not subject to the above maximums.

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.

See our page What you need to know when receiving a Canada Pension Plan benefit.

What if I don't understand or don't agree with a decision?

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

What is a spouse or a common-law partner?

A spouse is a person to whom you are legally married.

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 one 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 the Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union form – dual signatures (ISP3004CPP) or the Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union form – single signature (ISP3104CPP).

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