Getting married/common-law—Retired member—Canadian Armed Forces pensions
Now that you are married or have reached common-law status, your new partner may be eligible for a survivor pension in the event of your death.
You may want to know
What do I need to do if I get married or begin a common-law relationship after retirement
- If you get married – submit your marriage certificate, a copy of the birth certificate(s) of your new spouse and any children to the Government of Canada Pension Centre. If either of you were previously married, you will also need to submit proof of the termination of the previous marriage(s) in the form of a death certificate or a Divorce Decree Absolute
- If you begin a common-law relationship (same sex or opposite sex) – provide the Government of Canada Pension Centre with a letter confirming your common-law relationship and a copy of the birth certificate(s) of your common-law partner and any children. Keep documentation that confirms your ongoing common-law relationship, such as income tax returns and bills, as your marital status at the time of your death must be confirmed. If you wish to provide information about your common-law relationship, the Statutory Declaration-Common Law (CF-FC 2016) may be sent to the Government of Canada Pension Centre along with other evidence that demonstrates the conjugal nature and the period of the relationship
- If you are a participant in the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) plan , you may want to review and, if necessary, update your beneficiary designation
Why is it important to tell the Government of Canada Pension Centre that I have a new spouse or common-law partner
It is important to notify the Government of Canada Pension Centre of any changes in your marital status because in the event of your death, your survivor's pension benefits may be processed more quickly if the Pension Centre has up-to-date information. This can help ease the financial and administrative burden on your spouse, common-law partner, family or estate. It also ensures that your death benefits are paid as you intended, without delay.
If I was married or commenced a common-law relationship before the age of 60, is my spouse or common-law partner entitled to a survivor pension upon my death
If you got married or your common-law partner has resided with you continuously since before you reached age 60, your spouse or common-law partner would be entitled a survivor pension upon your death.
If I get married or start a common-law relationship after age 60, is my new spouse or common-law partner entitled to a survivor pension upon my death
If you are in receipt of a pension under the Regular Force Pension Plan, you can provide an Optional Survivor Benefit (OSB) for your new spouse if you get married after age 60 only if:
- you marry and apply for OSB within one year of your marriage and
- you agree to reduce your current level of pension in exchange for providing a survivor pension to your new spouse at your death
If you choose to provide this survivor pension, you choose between providing a survivor pension of 30%, 40% or 50% of your own pension. Your pension would then be reduced depending on the survivor pension you choose: the greater the survivor pension, the greater the reduction to your pension. This option is only revocable upon the death of the spouse or divorce. For more information about this option, please contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre.
The Canadian Forces Superannuation Act (CFSA) was amended so that a member living in a common-law relationship can provide a survivor pension if the relationship begins after age 60. However, the regulations must be amended to specify the details. Consequently, the OSB is not yet available for common-law relationships.
If you were a member of the Reserve Force Pension Plan and are in receipt of a pension, there is no OSB if your marriage or common-law relationship occurred on or after age 60.
How do I elect an Optional Survivor Benefit for my spouse
If you are interested in providing your spouse with this benefit, please contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre for an estimate. We will send you a letter providing you with an estimate of the survivor pension and the corresponding reduction to your monthly pension for each level of coverage. Instructions for making an election will be enclosed with the estimate letter.
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