Becoming a survivor—Survivor/child(ren)—Canadian Armed Forces pensions
Learn about the types of survivor benefits available to eligible survivors and children of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Pension Plan members and pensioners.
You may want to know
What do I do when a Canadian Armed Forces Pension Plan member or annuitant dies?
When a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Pension Plan member or pension recipient dies, the Government of Canada Pension Centre must be notified immediately. If your spouse or common-law partner was in receipt of a CAF pension, it is important for you to provide the Pension Centre with the following information in order to cease his/her pension and to apply for a survivor and/or child pension:
- The full name of the deceased
- The name and contact information of the executor of the estate
- The pensioner's Social Insurance Number (SIN), Pension Number or Service Number
- A copy of the death certificate and Will
- The name and contact information of the surviving spouse or common-law partner (if applicable)
- The surviving spouse or common-law partner's birth certificate and SIN
- The name(s) and birth certificate(s) of any eligible children
In the event of a plan member's death, who is entitled to benefits and what are the benefits?
If you are a legal spouse or common-law partner of the same or opposite sex, you are eligible for a survivor pension, which is a monthly allowance payable for life. You must have been married to the plan member at the time of death, or, if common-law, be able to establish that you were living in a conjugal relationship for at least one year before the plan member's death.
If you married after the plan member's 60th birthday, you are only entitled to a survivor pension if the plan member had applied for the Optional Survivor Benefit (OSB), in which they would have accepted a reduction to their own pension in order to provide you with a survivor pension. Contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre if you think this may be the case.
Eligible children under the age of 18 or students who are between the ages of 18 and 25, and who are in full-time attendance at school or an educational institution, are entitled to a child pension.
Are there instances where the surviving spouse or common-law partner may not receive the survivor pension?
Yes. You will not receive the survivor pension if:
- at the time of the plan member's death you were divorced from the plan member
- the plan member's death occurred in the first year of marriage or cohabitation, unless it is proven that, at the time of the marriage or cohabitation, it was reasonable to assume that the plan member could have lived at least one year;
- you married the member after the plan member's 60th birthday and the plan member did not opt to provide you with a survivor pension;
- you are found criminally responsible for the death of the plan member
- you waive your entitlement in favour of an increased child pension or where there is a minimum benefit payable; or
- you are missing or cannot be found
Are there any additional death benefits that will be paid out?
If the member was a participant in the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) plan, the beneficiary designated on the Naming or Substitution of a Beneficiary (CF-FC 2196) form is entitled to the SDB. If there was no designated beneficiary, the SDB is paid to the plan member's estate.
For information about SDB, visit the Supplementary Death Benefit page.
What documents are required before a survivor or child pension can be paid?
The following table provides a summary of the documents required by the Government of Canada Pension Centre in support of a claim for survivor benefits under the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act (CFSA)
|If you are the…||You need to provide…|
|Legal spouse (legally married to the plan member)||
|Eligible child under age 18||
|Eligible child 18 years of age or older but under 25||
How are the survivor and child pensions paid?
The survivor pension is paid in monthly instalments for life.
The child pension for children under the age of 18 is paid to the survivor or guardian on behalf of the children. If the child is in full-time attendance at school between the ages of 18 and 25, the benefit is paid directly to them until the age of 25 when they are no longer eligible for the benefit.
Are the survivor and child pensions indexed to keep up with inflation?
Yes. Indexation starts to accrue as soon as the survivor and child(ren) become entitled to the pension and is applied on 1 January of each year. This helps to protect the value of your pension against the impact of inflation and it ensures that the original purchasing power of the pension will remain unchanged.
Is the survivor pension affected by the coordination of benefits with the Canada Pension Plan / Quebec Pension Plan?
Survivors can receive benefits under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) and also receive a full survivor pension under the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act (CFSA).
Are separated spouses or ex-common-law partners entitled to survivor benefits?
Where there has been a separation before the contributor's death, the survivor (spouse) is entitled to a survivor pension.
Ex-common-law partners are not entitled to survivor benefits, unless they apply for the division of pension benefits, in accordance with the Pension Benefits Division Act (PBDA). For information about this, please visit the Pension Benefits Division page.
How is the survivor pension apportioned when there are two survivors?
When a survivor pension is payable and there are two survivors (a separated spouse and common-law partner), the total amount of the pension will be apportioned between the two survivors based on the number of years each survivor cohabited with the plan member.
If I have granted someone a general Power of Attorney, can that person manage my pension affairs?
If you wish for another person to manage some of your pension affairs, an original, notarized, or a certified true copy of the general power of attorney (POA) document bearing the original signature of the lawyer, notary, commissioner of oaths or justice of the peace must be sent to the Government of Canada Pension Centre. The person you name can then request address changes, direct deposit and choose a benefit on your behalf. However, a POA does not provide that person with the authority to change the recipient of a pension benefit or to change a beneficiary under the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) plan.
In order to protect plan members, the Government of Canada Pension Centre cannot accept photocopies, faxes or scans of legal documents. Original POA documents will be returned to you by mail.
If you simply wish to allow someone to make enquiries and receive information about your pension matters, but not make decisions on your behalf, you can provide the Government of Canada Pension Centre with a written consent to that effect.
When does a survivor or child pension end?
Payment of a survivor pension ceases on the survivor's death.
The child pension is paid to each child as long as he or she remains entitled to it as defined above.
What group insurance plans are survivors and children eligible to participate in?
If there is no surviving spouse, eligible children (including full-time students) who are entitled to a child pension are eligible for coverage under both health and dental plans.
If the deceased member had family coverage under the PSHCP, coverage will be continuous if the survivor applies within 60 days of the member's death.
If the deceased member was not covered by the PSHCP or did not have family coverage, such coverage can be obtained but it will not take effect until three months after the application is received.
If you apply for the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan within 60 days of your entitlement to a survivor or child pension, your coverage will begin on the effective date of your pension entitlement. Otherwise, your coverage will take effect on the first day of the second month following the date on which the Government of Canada Pension Centre receives your application.
You can be covered by the Public Service Health Care Plan and the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan even if you do not reside in Canada. For more information, please contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre.
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