CPP and OAS Benefits for Surviving Spouse and Children

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by Enoch Omololu

Updated

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What retirement benefits are available to survivors after the death of a spouse, common-law partner, or parent?

If the deceased contributed to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), survivors may qualify for benefits including the CPP Death benefit, Survivor’s pension, and Children’s benefits.

A surviving spouse may also qualify for Old Age Security (OAS) payments in the form of a benefit referred to as Allowance for the Survivor.

1. CPP Death Benefit

The CPP Death Benefit is a one-time, lump-sum payment made to the estate of the deceased.

If an estate exists, the executor of the will or administrator appointed by the Court can apply for the death benefit. In a case where no estate exists, payment of the death benefit can be made directly to the following individuals in order of priority:

  • The person or institution responsible for funeral expenses
  • The surviving spouse or common-law partner
  • The next-of-kin of the deceased

Eligibility and CPP Death Benefit Amount

To be eligible to receive the death benefit, the deceased must have made contributions to the CPP for the lesser of one-third of the calendar years in their contributory period or 10 calendar years.

The amount received depends on how much and for how long the deceased contributed to the CPP. For 2021, the average amount paid to new beneficiaries was $2,495.71 (March 2021), with a maximum amount of $2,500.

Starting in 2020, a flat rate of $2,500 was paid as a death benefit to all beneficiaries irrespective of the CPP contributions made by the deceased.

2. CPP Survivor’s Pension

The CPP Survivor’s benefit is paid to the legal surviving spouse or common-law partner of the deceased. If the deceased’s legal spouse are separated and the deceased had no other cohabiting common-law partner, the surviving spouse may be eligible for the survivor’s pension.

Survivor’s Pension Amount

The amount you will eventually receive depends on a lot of factors and Service Canada’s complicated calculations. Generally, the survivor’s benefit will depend on:

  • Whether you’re receiving other pension or disability benefit
  • Age of surviving spouse
  • Deceased spouse’s contribution to the CPP

Example 1: If the survivor is 65 years or older, and not receiving any other CPP benefits, their survivor’s pension is 60% of the deceased contributor’s pension at age 65.

As of March 2021, the average monthly amount paid as survivor’s pension to new beneficiaries who are 65 years and older was $315.15. The maximum payment amount for 2021 is $722.25.

Example 2: If the surviving spouse is between 45-64 years of age and not receiving any other CPP benefits, they will receive 37.5% of the deceased contributor’s retirement pension plus a “flat rate portion.”

As of March 2021, the average monthly survivor’s pension paid to new beneficiaries who are younger than 65 years was $457.07. The maximum payment amount for 2021 is $650.72.

These are just two examples from a myriad of possible scenarios. If in doubt as to how to proceed or what to expect, contact Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 (TTY: 1-800-255-4786).

Other Points to Note for the Survivor’s Pension:

  1. You can only receive one survivor’s pension, even if you survive many spouses. You will be paid whichever benefit is largest.
  2. You will not lose your survivor’s benefit if you re-marry.
  3. If you already receive other CPP benefits, all your pension benefits are combined and paid in one single monthly payment.
  4. The maximum total benefit you can get if receiving both the survivor’s pension and other CPP benefits is the maximum retirement pension which is $1,203.75 for 2021.
Learn about the CPP and OAS benefits available to surviving spouse and children. #CPP #OAS #Benefits #pension #retirement

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3. CPP Surviving Child’s Benefits

The CPP Children’s benefit is a monthly payment available to dependent children of a deceased CPP contributor. To be eligible, the child must be under 18 years of age or if enrolled in school, between the ages of 18 and 25.

The child could be the natural or adopted child of the deceased.

The average monthly children’s benefit paid to new beneficiaries as of March 2021 was $257.58. The maximum benefit in 2021 is $257.58.

4. OAS Allowance for the Survivor

The Allowance for the Survivor is a benefit available to surviving spouses or common-law partners who are aged between 60-64 years and have a low income.

To qualify for this benefit, you must earn $25,560 or less. The maximum monthly payment for the allowance for the survivor benefit is $1,418.25 for the July to September 2021 quarter.

Unlike CPP benefit payments, allowance for the survivor benefit is non-taxable.

How to Apply for Survivor Benefits

It’s important that you notify the government immediately after the death of a person receiving CPP or OAS benefits. If not, any payments made to the deceased after the month of death will have to be repaid.

Send in your application for death and children’s benefits and the survivor’s pension as soon as you can after the contributor’s death. This will ensure you don’t lose out on benefits.

For the Allowance for the Survivor benefit, apply 6 to 11 months before your 60th birthday. A surviving spouse can start receiving a survivor’s pension as early as the month after the contributor’s death.

Forms

Some of the forms you may be required to complete include:

  • Survivor’s pension: CPP survivor’s pension and children’s benefits application for (ISP-1300)
  • Children’s benefits: Under 18 (ISP-1300) and Over 18 years (ISP-1400)
  • Death benefit: ISP-1200 form
  • Allowance for the Survivor: Form ISP-3008

After downloading and completing the forms, return or mail it to the nearest Service Canada Centre.

Other documentation/information required includes:

  • The deceased’s social insurance number
  • A certified copy of the death certificate
  • Survivor’s social insurance number – spouse and children
  • A certified copy of the marriage certificate – if you were married to the deceased
  • A statutory declaration if you were living in a common-law relationship with the deceased.

Note: Remember to send certified photocopies of documents instead of originals. This way, you can avoid the risk of your precious documents getting lost in the mail. You can certify your documents for free at any Service Canada Centre.

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. His writing has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, Financial Post, Toronto Star, Credit Canada, MSN Money, National Post, CIBC, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

40 thoughts on “CPP and OAS Benefits for Surviving Spouse and Children”

  1. A clear article – even ref. to Forms ! Thank you.

    QUESTION about CPP payment after death of spouse –
    Both married, both over 70. Single earner – only husband has CPP –
    WHICH IS SPLIT 50 / 50 – half goes to each of us each month.

    If husband dies first, wife gets 0.6 x total pension ? OR
    continues with half PLUS 0.6 of other half ?

    If wife dies first, husband continues with HALF of pension ? OR
    husband gets whole pension [ wife’s share reverts to him ] ?

    Thank you for any clarification you can give. / LA

  2. I live in the USA and receive CPP and OAS. Will my American spouse be eligible for survivor benefits?

    • I live In Malta and married a Filipina last 2015. We both now are In Malta after marriage.Her passport is Philippines and never been into Canada. What is the documentary requirement for her to be My CPP beneficiary? IM 63 years old and planning to have My pension at age 65. Furthermore, How can she get social security No.in case as My Survivor?

  3. When I pass does my spouse receive any income from OAS, we are both in our 80’s.

    • @Gerald: If eligible, your wife will receive $2,500 CPP death benefit. as well as the CPP survivor’s pension. OAS payments come to an end.

  4. What are the parameters to qualify for a OAS survivor benefit

  5. I am so thankful for this article because I find this all very confusing. Can someone please confirm some details for my case? My mother is 62, and her spouse passed away at age 63. They were receiving CPP benefits before her spouse passed away. She has:
    1. Received Death Benefit $2500
    2. Received Determination for Allowance for the Survivorship
    3. Receives monthly CPP

    Is there another benefit called ‘Survivor’s Pension’ that is a separate benefit? According to this article, the max benefit is $1134, so if she has already reached the benefit with her pre-existing CPP payment and her now new Allowance for Survivorship, should we apply for Survivor’s Pension?

    • @ Chris:
      The Allowance for the Survivor is part of OAS, while Survivor’s pension is a part of CPP benefits. Total CPP benefits are maxed out at 1,154.58 for 2019. If she is already receiving the maximum CPP, there will be no additional benefits for the Survivor’s pension. To ensure that she is not losing out on benefits, it is best to contact Service Canada at 1-877-277-9914.

  6. My Mother passed away in Jan 2019. She was receiving CPP and OAS.
    Both have been ceased.
    Would there be a balance in her CPP account?

    • @Tannis: If she has a living spouse, they may be able eligible for a survivor’s pension and her children aged 25 years and younger may also be eligible for the Children’s CPP benefit.

  7. My husband passed in March 2019 and I have not heard a word The funeral parlor said they sent in the documents but still have not heard Help

    • @Gisele: I would suggest you contact Service Canada directly at 1-877-277-9914 to inquire about the delay.

  8. Very useful Article indeed. My friend was receiving a monthly pension at the time of his death. The application for survivor’s pension made by his wife has been rejected on the basis that the deceased did not make enough valid contributions to the CPP for the spouse to qualify for the death and survivor benefits.
    Your Article states that for the survivor to be eligible for the “death benefit” the deceased should have made contributions for the lesser of one-third of the calendar years in their contributory period or 10 calendar years. What is a contributory period?
    Your Article also states that the amount of the “survivors pension” is linked to the spouse’s contribution but does not refer to minimum contribution for the survivor to be eligible for the survivors pension.
    Would appreciate information on whether there is a minimum contribution requirement for my friend’s spouse to be eligible for the monthly survivor’s pension.

  9. I am currently receiving both survivors widow and child pension.
    Will it come to an end?
    I’m under 65 and my daughter is 3

    • @Kenrick: The CPP survivor’s does not stop, however, children become ineligible for the child benefit after age 25. Also, note that as per Service Canada “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).” What this means is that your survivor’s pension will likely decrease when you start collecting CPP.

      • Thank you greatly appreciated

  10. Why is CPP CONTRI BUTIONS CAPPED?
    Rrsp contributions do not have a defined pension. 2008 retire lost up to 40% of savings rrsp and therefore benefits.

  11. hi, I’m receiving a survivor benefits for 7 years now and I’m planning to retire to Philippines. I’m I still entitle for survivor benefits even I dont live in Canada anymore. I’m taking an early retirement since I’m only 54 years old.

    Thanks,
    Angel

    • @Angel: Yes, you can receive your survivor benefit cheque at an address outside of Canada.

      • No, the survivor allowance cannot go to a foreign country.
        It is deposited in a bank in Canada.
        But if you remain outside Canada, the Survivor allowance is stopped after a 6-month absence from Canada.

      • can u pls advise if the OAS benefits will be increased in 2020 and if the dame benefit will be/has been adjusted for Oct to Dec in this/2020 year ??

  12. I have a question regarding a current situation that has raised many questions in my mind whether it is ok to do it.My ex-wife is terminally sick and wishes to marry we ha children together and lived almost 30 years together.We were divorced and I live in a different province now. we are both not married.It is her last wish to marry and she has less than a year to live. What implication does it have on my pension if we remarry?
    Do we have to live together for minium of 1 year to qualify despite our long marriage life that ended few years ago.
    I appreciate your helping all people who seek your advice selflessly
    Thank you
    Sam

  13. Just need some clarification, if a spouse is receiving state pension and widows benefit and then dies will any of it go to their adult daughter that lives in NY, USA. And if so how do I get ahold of Canada.

  14. Hi..i am living in the Philippines.I receive my CPP survivors pension since 2016.I am 30 yrs. Old that time.In that moment the rule was not yet change stating u should be 35 y.o above in order to apply the pension.But because i had 5y.o daughter i got approve.My question isDoes my pension ends after my daughter finish school or shes on her 25th year.Hoping to hear u back.Hope u understand my English.Thank you.

    • @Euje:

      No, your survivor’s pension will continue and will be merged with your CPP retirement pension if you qualify later.

      Your child’s CPP survivor’s benefit will stop at age 18. If she shows proof of full-time enrollment in post-secondary education, she may be able to receive benefits until she turns 25 years of age.

    • Hi Euje. I have read your comment. I am also a survivor spouse of a Canadian Citizen but I have never been to Canada and I’m still 30 years old and have no child with my husband. Would I be eligible to CPP Survivors pension?

      if so, How to apply?

  15. My 7 years old grandchilds biological father has died. My grandchilds biological parents where never married and did not live together. Can I apply for a CPP Child Benefit for her and which forms do I fill in?

  16. Hello, I receive CPP Survivor’s Benefit. I am unemployed and turning 60 soon so I will also be applying for the OAS Allowance for the Survivor. Is the CPP Survivor’s Benefit considered an income source which will be used to reduce the maximum OAS Allowance benefit?

  17. Is CPP Survivor’s Benefit counted as income when they calculate OAS Survivor’s Allowance?

    • @TJ: I believe it is.

  18. Your article states the following “Starting in 2020, a flat-rate of $2,500 will be paid as a death benefit to all beneficiaries irrespective of the CPP contributions made by the deceased.”

    My mother passed away last month and was denied the CPP death benefit as a result of not making enough CPP contirbutions. Where did you get this information?

    • @Bev: The same amount is paid out to the estate of an eligible deceased contributor regardless of how much they contributed. To be eligible, they must have made contributions to the CPP for at least:

      “one-third of the calendar years in their contributory period for the base CPP, but no less than 3 calendar years; or
      10 calendar years.”

  19. I am receiving a surivivors pension ..can I get a payout for the amount or will I have to keep getting the monthly chq sent to Australia.

  20. Hello :
    I am receiving ODSP . Will this affected me to receive: CPP from my deseas husband

  21. Hi my common law spouse passed away March 31st, 2019, and I have just been told about these benefits that I may be entitled to. I’m 45 years old and have been with my common law spouse for 25 years and we have 2 children together one is 17 years old and the other is 19 years old and currently in university. Which benefits will I be able to apply for? My spouse has worked and contributed to CPP. Am I only entitled to the CPP survivor’s death benefit? Or is there anything else I could be entitled to receive,? Please let me know asap cause it’s already been 3 years that my spouse has been gone and I was just informed of these benefits

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