Death Benefit

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) death benefit is a one-time, lump-sum payment made to the estate on behalf of a deceased CPP contributor.

If there is an estate, the executor named in the will or the administrator named by the Court to administer the estate applies for the death benefit.

If there is no estate, or if the executor does not apply for the death benefit, payment may be made to other persons, in the following order of priority, to:

  • the person or institution who has paid for, or is responsible for paying for, the deceased's funeral expenses
  • the surviving spouse or common-law partner of the deceased
  • the next-of-kin of the deceased.

What are the eligibility requirements?

For the death benefit to be paid, the deceased must have met the following contributory requirements.

The deceased must have contributed to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for a minimum of three years. Learn more about contributions to the CPP.

If the CPP contributory period of the deceased is longer than nine years, they must have contributed in one of the following, whichever is less:

  • one-third of the calendar years in their contributory period
  • 10 calendar years.

The international social security agreements that Canada has with other countries may be used to satisfy these requirements. See lived or living outside Canada.

How much is the death benefit?

In January 2013, the average death benefit paid was $2,280.52 and the maximum is $2,500. Consult the table of current Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payment amounts.

The amount of the death benefit depends on how much, and for how long, the deceased contributed to the CPP.

We first calculate the amount that the CPP retirement pension is, or would have been if the deceased had been age 65 at the time of death. The death benefit is equal to six months' worth of this calculated retirement pension, up to a maximum of $2,500.

What if the deceased worked or lived in Quebec?

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) operates throughout Canada, except in Quebec, where the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) provides similar benefits. The CPP and QPP work together to ensure that all contributors are protected, no matter where they live.

A person may contribute to both the CPP and the QPP. The contributions made under both plans are combined when a benefit is calculated.

Contact the QPP if the deceased contributed only to the QPP or contributed to both plans (CPP and QPP) and either:

  • lived outside Canada at the time of death, and the last province of residence was Quebec
  • lived in Quebec at the time of death.

How to apply?

You must complete the Application for a Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit (ISP1200) form and mail it to us.

The application was submitted. Now what?

It takes approximately 6 to 12 weeks to receive the payment from the date Service Canada received your completed application.

If more than 12 weeks have passed and you would like to find out the status of your application, contact us.

See our page What you need to know when receiving a Canada Pension Plan benefit.

What if I don't understand or don't agree with a decision?

You may request a reconsideration of any decision that affects your eligibility or the amount of your Canada Pension Plan benefit.