Sharing your retirement pension
What is pension sharing?
Spouses or common-law partners who are together, who are both at least 60 years old, and who are both receiving the CPP retirement pension can share their CPP retirement benefits. This is called pension sharing, and may result in tax savings.
If only one of you is a CPP contributor, you share that one pension. The overall benefits paid do not increase or decrease with pension sharing.
Note: To share your CPP retirement pension, you must apply.
What is a spouse or a common-law partner?
A spouse is a person to whom you are legally married. According to the CPP legislation, a common-law partner is a person of either sex who has lived with you in a conjugal relationship for at least one year.
How does pension sharing work?
If only one of you is a CPP contributor, you can apply to share that one pension.
If both of you are CPP contributors, either you or your spouse or common-law partner can apply to receive an equal share of both CPP retirement pensions for the years you have been together.
The portion of your retirement pension that can be shared is calculated by counting the number of months you and your spouse or common-law partner lived together during your joint contributory period. Your joint contributory period is the time during which either one of you could have contributed to the CPP or the QPP if you had sufficient earnings.
Your tax slips will show the amounts each of you received during the previous year.
The combined total amount of the two pensions stays the same.
- The new Post-Retirement Benefit is not eligible for pension sharing.
- Pension sharing is not the same thing as pension income splitting. For information about pension income splitting, visit the Seniors section of the Canada Revenue Agency Web site or call 1‑800‑959‑8281.
When can we start sharing our pensions?
Pension sharing starts as soon as we approve your application. We cannot backdate a pension-sharing arrangement.
Either one of you can apply to share your pensions if you are applying for or are already receiving a CPP retirement pension. The application form is available from our Web site, or you can contact us to get one. It includes more information about pension sharing and how to apply.
What documents do I need to apply for pension sharing?
The documents you need will depend on when you apply.
If you apply for pension sharing at the same time as you apply for your retirement pension, you will need your Social Insurance Number and your original marriage certificate or proof of your common-law relationship.
If you and your spouse or common-law partner already receive CPP retirement pensions, only your original marriage certificate or proof of your common-law relationship is needed.
When does pension sharing stop?
Your pension-sharing arrangement stops on whichever occurs earliest:
- the month after the month Service Canada approves a written request submitted by both you and your spouse or common-law partner asking us to end the arrangement;
- the 12th month after you separate;
- the month you divorce;
- the month your common-law relationship ends;
- the month when the spouse or common-law partner who has never paid into the CPP (or QPP) begins contributing; or
- the month one of you dies (please contact us as soon as possible to notify us of the date of death of the CPP pensioner/beneficiary).
What happens to my CPP retirement pension when pension sharing ends?
When pension sharing ends, we will adjust the amount of your CPP pension so that it becomes what it would have been if there had been no pension-sharing arrangement.
During the time you lived together, if you contributed less to the CPP than your spouse or common-law partner or if you were not employed, the end of pension sharing could decrease the amount of your CPP benefits. If you contributed more to the CPP than your spouse or partner, your CPP benefit amount could increase.
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