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Canada Pension Plan Survivor Benefits

(Information courtesy of Service Canada)

Canada Pension Plan survivor benefits are paid to a deceased contributor’s estate, surviving spouse or common-law partner and dependent children. There are three types of benefits:

The Canada Pension Plan death benefit is a one-time, lump-sum payment made to the deceased contributor’s estate. If there is no estate, the person responsible for the funeral expenses, the surviving spouse or common-law partner or the next of kin may be eligible, in that order.

The Canada Pension Plan 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 there is no cohabiting common-law partner, you may qualify for this benefit. If your deceased same-sex common-law partner contributed to the Canada Pension Plan, you could be eligible for survivor’s benefits.

The Canada Pension Plan children’s benefit is paid to a dependent natural or adopted child of the deceased contributor, or a child in the care and control of the deceased contributor at the time of death. The child must be either under age 18, or between the ages of 18 and 25 and in full-time attendance at a school or university.

To qualify for any or all of these benefits, you must have contributed to the CPP for a minimum number of years. Your spouse or common-law partner and children must also meet certain conditions

Frequently asked questions:                                                                              

Can I receive combined retirement pension and survivors benefit?

If you are receiving a monthly survivors benefit from the Canada Pension Plan and you apply for your CPP retirement pension, you will receive a combined monthly benefit.

Similarly, if you are receiving your CPP retirement pension and you apply for a survivors benefit following the death of your spouse or common-law partner, you will receive a combined monthly benefit. To a maximum allowable amount.

Will I lose my pension if I remarry?

No. Your pension will continue even if you remarry.

Note, this is a change in the rules that took place in 1987. If you previously lost a Canada Pension Plan survivor benefit because you remarried, contact Service Canada to find out if you are now eligible.

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.

If you are caring for a dependent child of the deceased contributor and the child is under the age of 18, you should also apply for the children’s benefit on behalf of the child. However, children under age 18 who are living on their own may complete their own application.

Dependent children who are between the ages of 18 and 25 and in full-time attendance at a school or university should apply for the children’s benefit themselves.

The executor, administrator or a legal representative of the estate should apply for the death benefit. If there is no estate, the person responsible for the funeral expenses, the survivor or the next of kin may apply, in that order.

How do I apply?

You must complete an application. The kit contains the information and instructions as well as a list of documents you will need to include with your application.

It is important that you apply for this benefit as soon as possible. 

For information and a link to the application kit, visit www.widowed.ca.

Discussion

  1. Natalie Dalton  October 19, 2011

    Interesting information. I have been looking into a canada pension plan but I didn’t know how all the benefits worked for my survivors. I am glad to know that if I end up remarrying I won’t lose my pension.

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  2. Barbara Talbot  March 31, 2012

    I would like to know how to add the person I co-habitate with can receive my Canada Pension Benefit when I am deceased? Please advise me of the details on how I can make these arrangements.

    Thank you.

    Barbara Talbot

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  3. Avatar of Jennifer (Widowed.ca Founder)
    Jennifer (Widowed.ca Founder)  April 3, 2012

    Barbara in order for a common law partner to receive the CPP Survivor Benefit they need to complete the Application for Survivor’s Pension. There is nothing that you must do prior to the death. On the application there is information they will need like your SIN and legal name and other information. As well they will be required to sign declaring that all information is true.

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  4. Dora  June 26, 2012

    In a case where one was once widowed, receives a survivor’s benefit, has remarried, is also receiving the cpp pension, and the new spouse dies, would this person receive additional benefit after being widowed again.

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  5. jean  November 8, 2012

    Can you please let me know why we have an age limit on when you can be a widow in Canada. This just sound absured… Who decided that you have to be 35 before you could collect widows pension.

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  6. carol  January 18, 2013

    i liketo found out if i remarried would i still get the widows pension

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  7. Avatar of Sadie MacPherson
    Sadie MacPherson  February 19, 2013

    I agree Jean. I am 28 and widowed and was just looking into applying for the pension benefit when I found out I had to be 35 to be Eligible. I’ve been looking ever since and it would seem that there is nothing available to help young widows. Astonishing!

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  8. Laura  February 26, 2013

    I am a widow receiving CPP and survivour benefits. I will be 65 in 2014. I ahve been told when I apply for OAS I will lose my surviour benefit and will only receive CPP and OAS. What happens to the money that my husband paid into CPP for 45 years do I not continue to receive this.

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    • Avatar of Janet
      Janet  March 12, 2013

      Applying for OAS has nothing to do with the amount of CPP you will receive. You can receive both your CPP retirement pension as well as the CPP survivor benefit but up to a certain limit. You will only lose the CPP survivor benefit if your CPP retirement benefit is the maximum that can be received. I agree that this seems punitive if you both contributed for years.

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  9. Renee  March 10, 2013

    That’s not true, I am 34 and am receiving survivor Benifits

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  10. Cecilia  March 25, 2013

    Can you collect EI and a widow’s pension? I am losing my job at the end of the year.

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  11. Avatar of Cindy Bailey
    Cindy Bailey  May 25, 2013

    I had the same thing happen. My husband was diagnosed and died in 3 mos. and the doctor I worked for part-time only a few hours a week was retiring his office. I couldn’t even qualify for unemployment ins. But I don’t know the answer I bet you can.

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  12. Julia  June 21, 2013

    My husband died at the age of 34, I was 33. I am 37 now and I receive Widows pension and my son gets CPP after my deceased husband.
    Do I still receive widow’s pension if I ever decided to remarry?
    Thank you,

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  13. Susan  July 7, 2013

    What is the difference between widows security benefits and widows allowance.

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    • Avatar of Jennifer (Widowed.ca Founder)
      Jennifer (Widowed.ca Founder)  July 11, 2013

      The Survivor Benefit is the name of the benefit paid by CPP to the surviving spouse. It used to be referred to as “Widows Allowance” but the name was changed because it applies to widows and widowers.

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  14. Rosemary  March 31, 2014

    I am still confused, I am receiving the Survivors Pension, and also applied for my CPP, but I don’t know if I have been getting the CPP widows pension, how do I know if I have been receiving this?
    And it is my understanding that they cut off your Survivors Pension (benefit) when you start to get OAS, is this the case??

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  15. john  May 19, 2014

    hi sadly my wife died in 2002 I receive a widowers pension from her employment which is through Canada life, if I remarry ,would I still be eligible for this . thankyou

    (reply)
    • Avatar of Jennifer (Widowed.ca Founder)
      Jennifer (Widowed.ca Founder)  June 27, 2014

      John,
      You would need to follow up with the company to know for sure if you would still receive the pension after remarriage. All company pensions are set up differently with different benefit periods and survivor options to choose from.

      (reply)

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