When death occurs - Pension

The following information is intended to provide you with an understanding of potential survivor and child entitlements under the public service pension plan. In the event of your death, your survivor or legal representative should immediately notify the Government of Canada Pension Centre (Pension Centre) and either the Public Service Pay Centre, or your departmental compensation services.

You may want to know…

  • Are your family members protected in the event of your death?

    If you have 2 or more years of pensionable service, your family is protected under your pension plan in the event of your death. Your eligible survivors maybe be entitled to a survivor benefit and eligible children may be entitled to a child allowance.

    If you have less than two years of pensionable service, your eligible survivors or estate is entitled to a return of your contributions, plus interest.

  • Who is able to claim a survivor benefit?

    A survivor benefit is payable to a surviving spouse and/or a common-law partner. If you are separated from your legal spouse but have a partner who may also qualify for an allowance, the benefit would normally be divided between the two applicants based on the period of cohabitation. Please contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre for additional information.

  • What documentation is required to make a claim for survivor benefits?

    For a legal spouse, a copy of the marriage certificate is required. For a common-law relationship, sworn statements and other evidence that demonstrates the conjugal nature and the period of the relationship are required. Please contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre for additional information.

  • Are there children's allowances payable?

    In the event of your death, your dependant children may be entitled to a child allowance under the public service pension plan. To be eligible for an allowance, your child must normally be under 18 years of age. However, children between 18 and 25 may receive allowances if they are enrolled in school or another educational institution full-time and have attended continuously since their 18th birthday or the date of your death, whichever occurred later.

    The monthly allowance is equal to 10% of your unreduced pension for each child (to a maximum of 40%). If there are more than four children, the maximum combined amount payable may be divided among all the eligible children.

  • What is payable to the children if there is no survivor benefit payable?

    When there is no survivor benefit payable to a spouse or common-law partner, the child allowance is equal to 20% of your unreduced pension for each child, to a maximum of 80%.

  • Are there any additional death benefits that will be paid out if you pass away?

    Yes. The Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) provides a form of decreasing term life insurance. The basic benefit is equal to twice your annual salary and decreases by 10% annually to a minimum of $10,000, starting at age 66. If you die as an active member of the public service pension plan, your SDB will never reduce below 33% of your annual salary (rounded up to the nearest $1,000) or below $10,000, whichever is greater.

    To name a beneficiary, you must complete the Naming or Substitution of a Beneficiary form. You may, at any time, change your designated beneficiary by completing a new form and submitting it to the Pension Centre at the address on the form.

    Under your pension plan, there is a minimum benefit guaranteed should there be no eligible survivors or children. For more information, refer to minimum benefit.

  • How is the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) calculated?

    The benefit is paid to your designated beneficiary for Supplementary Death Benefit purposes or your estate. The benefit amount is calculated as follows:

    • Annual Salary × 2 (Rounded up to the nearest $1,000).
  • Should you inform the Pension Centre if the person you've named as the beneficiary of your Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) Plan moves?

    Yes. You should notify the Government of Canada Pension Centre when this person moves. In the event of your death, if the Pension Centre has a current address for this person, the benefit can be paid more quickly. When you contact the Pension Centre, please have the following information on hand:

    • Your Pension number or Personal Record Identifier (PRI);
    • The beneficiary's name and date of birth ; and
    • Their address (with postal code).

    If your named beneficiary predeceases you, you should designate another beneficiary by completing another Naming or Substitution of a Beneficiary form.

  • Does your Will affect who receives your Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB)?

    Wills, Agreements and Court Orders do not affect who receives your Supplementary Death Benefit. The person you named as your beneficiary for the Supplementary Death Benefit Plan receives your death benefit.

    You can only name one beneficiary under this plan. If you wish to divide your death benefit among two or more people, you must name your estate as the beneficiary. You may then specify in your Will how the benefit should be divided.

    If you wish to cancel a previous designation without naming a person or an organization (religious, educational, charitable or benevolent), you must also name your estate as your beneficiary.

Visit Public service group insurance benefit plans for information on benefits.

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