Getting married or reaching common-law status - Pension
Now that you are married or have reached common-law status, your new partner may be eligible for coverage under your pension plan.
You may want to know…
What types of protection does your pension plan offer for your spouse or common-law partner?
Your pension plan offers a survivor benefit for your surviving spouse or common-law partner. For instance, your spouse or common-law partner may be entitled to an immediate allowance in the event of your death, whether you are employed or retired at the time. The survivor benefit is usually equal to half of your basic pension.
Should you provide information about your marital status or common-law relationship to the Government of Canada Pension Centre (Pension Centre)?
The Pension Centre recommends that you provide this information soon after your marital status changes or you enter a relationship of a conjugal nature. In the event of your death, the Pension Centre needs to know who your survivors are. When the Pension Centre has current information about your marital status or common-law relationship on hand, it can provide benefits to your survivor(s) more quickly. Additional information can be found under Who is Entitled to Survivor Benefits.
Who is able to claim survivor benefits?
A survivor benefit is payable to a spouse or common-law partner with whom you have lived in a relationship of a conjugal nature for at least one year, as long as that relationship began prior to your retirement from the public service.
Who is able to claim survivor benefits if you have both a legal spouse and a common-law partner?
At the time of death, if you have both a legal spouse and an eligible survivor with whom you have lived in a relationship of a conjugal nature, the survivor's benefit will be apportioned between them. Each survivor's share of the benefit will be based on the length of your cohabitation. Additional information may be found by consulting the Pension Centre.
If you get married after you retire, would your new spouse receive a survivor pension?
If you get married after you retire, your surviving spouse would not usually receive a survivor benefit. However, you can choose to provide a benefit to your spouse by reducing your own pension to cover the cost of this additional benefit. You can choose this option within one year from the date of your marriage, or from the date your pension begins, whichever is later. For more information please consult the Pension Centre.
Is there a minimum benefit guaranteed under the public service pension plan?
Under the pension plan, there is a guarantee of a minimum of five times your annual unreduced pension paid to your designated beneficiary under the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB). If you do not name a beneficiary under the SDB, then the benefit will be paid to your estate. For more information, refer to minimum benefit.
How does your marriage or common-law status affect the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB)?
The Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) is similar to a decreasing term life insurance protection, which is designed to cover members of the public service pension plan. Coverage begins when you become a member of the pension plan.
If you wish to name your new spouse or common–law partner as a beneficiary, you must complete a Naming or Substitution of a Beneficiary (PWGSC-TPSGC 2196) form.
Should you inform the Pension Centre if the person you've named as the beneficiary of your Supplementary Death Benefit moves?
Yes, you should notify the Pension Centre when your beneficiary moves. In the event of your death, if the Pension Centre has a current address for your beneficiary, the benefit can be paid more quickly. When you contact the Pension Centre, please have the following:
- Pension number or Personal Record Identifier (PRI);
- Name of beneficiary;
- Your beneficiary's new address.
Visit Public service group insurance benefit plans for information on benefits.
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