Skip to content

A few quick facts about survivor benefits under the Canada Pension Plan

A few facts about CPP survivor benefits

OTTAWA — The Canada Pension Plan pays out survivor benefits to a surviving spouse, common-law partner, estate, or dependent children. Here are a few things to know about the benefit:

1. There is an age limit on when it is paid out. No one under age 35 can receive the benefit unless they have children or are disabled. Payments only start when the surviving spouse turns 65, or becomes disabled. Children of the deceased under 25 are also eligible for a monthly benefit. 

2. The value of the benefit changes based on the age of the surviving spouse:

— Those aged 65 and over receive 60 per cent of the value of the deceased person's retirement pension;

— Those aged 45 to 64 receive a flat rate plus 37.5 per cent of the value of the deceased person's retirement pension. The same calculation applies to anyone under age 45 who is disabled or raising a dependent child;

— Those aged 35 to 45 who are not disabled and don't have children receive the flat rate plus 37.5 per cent of the retirement pension, minus 1/120 for each month the spouse or common-law partner was under age 45 at the time of their death.

3. People receiving survivor and retirement benefits get them blended into one payment that's usually lower than their combined value. That cap has been lifted on the new, enhanced portion of CPP that won't take full effect for four decades.

4. The value of the retirement benefit changes depending on when you take it: The benefit amount is adjusted downward for each month you took the benefit before age 65. There is an opposite effect if you wait take the benefit after age 65.

5. A maximum $2,500 death benefit can be made to an estate, surviving spouse or next-of-kin.

The Canadian Press