Canada Pension Plan Retirement Pension

Introduction

How can you benefit? Find out more

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement pension provides a monthly benefit to eligible applicants.

If you have lived or are living outside Canada, you may qualify for a pension from that country as well.

The CPP operates throughout Canada, except in Quebec, where the Québec Pension Plan (QPP) provides similar benefits. The CPP and QPP work together to ensure that all contributors are protected, no matter where they live. Please visit the Régie des rentes du Québec for information on pensions and benefits under the QPP if one of the following applies to you:

  • you have only worked in Quebec;
  • you worked in Quebec and at least one other province and currently reside in Quebec; or
  • you worked in Quebec and at least one other province, you currently reside outside of Canada and your last province of residence in Canada was Quebec.

If you have contributed to both the CPP and QPP, you must apply for the QPP if you live in Quebec or for the CPP if you live elsewhere in Canada. Please note that you do not have to apply to both plans. Your benefit will be paid by the plan according to your place of residence. The benefit amount you will be paid will take into consideration all contributions made to both plans.

When you should take your CPP retirement pension

The standard age to begin receiving a CPP retirement pension is when you reach age 65, which is the month after your 65th birthday. However, you can take a reduced CPP retirement pension as early as the month after your 60th birthday. You can also take an increased pension after reaching age 65.

Before you decide when to take your CPP retirement pension, you may want to consider the following:

The Canadian Retirement Income Calculator and your CPP Statement of Contributions within My Service Canada Account can also help you determine the best time to start your CPP retirement pension and get an estimate of how much you might receive.

Eligibility details

Your CPP retirement pension does not start automatically. You must apply for it. Before you apply, you must:

  • be at least a month past your 59th birthday;
  • have made at least one valid contribution to the CPP; and
  • want your CPP retirement pension payments to begin within 12 months.

How much you could receive

The amount of your CPP retirement pension is based on how much you have contributed and how long you have been making contributions to the CPP at the time you become eligible. Read more about CPP retirement pension amounts.

A certain number of your lowest earnings months may be automatically dropped from the CPP retirement pension calculation under the general drop-out provision. This may help increase the amount you will receive.

You can also request the child-rearing provision which may increase your retirement pension amount if you had zero or low earnings because you were the primary caregiver raising your children.

Credit splitting may affect the amount of the CPP retirement pension for both you and your former spouse or common-law partner.

Note: If the cost of living goes up, so does the amount of your CPP benefits. Your monthly benefits are adjusted every year in January based on the Consumer Price Index.

What you need before you start

To apply for your CPP retirement pension online, you must sign in to your My Service Canada Account and submit your application online. If you have not yet registered for a My Service Canada Account, you will require a Personal Access Code.

When you apply online for your CPP retirement pension, you must confirm your personal information and provide the following information:

  • your banking information to sign up for direct deposit;
  • the date you would like your pension to start;

You can apply a maximum of 12 months before the date you would like your pension to start.

If you are 65 years plus 1 month or older, you can request retroactive payments for a maximum of 11 months, or back to your 65th birthday plus 1 month—whichever is shortest.

Please note the initial launch of this simplified CPP retirement pension online registration system is designed to issue CPP retirement pension benefits by direct deposit to the beneficiary’s bank account, since a majority of CPP retirement pension recipients request direct deposit as their form of payment. The registration system will be updated to allow for selection of CPP retirement pension payments by paper cheque.

If you prefer to receive your CPP retirement pension payment by paper cheque before the system update is in place, please complete the Application for a Canada Pension Plan Retirement Pension and mail it or bring it to the Service Canada Centre closest to you. Mailing addresses are provided on the form.

Apply

Apply for your CPP retirement pension now by signing in or registering for a My Service Canada Account (MSCA).

Apply Now

Unable to apply online

You will not be able to apply online if:

  • you are currently receiving a CPP retirement pension;
  • you have already applied for the CPP retirement pension and Service Canada is currently assessing your application;
  • you are currently or were previously receiving a CPP disability benefit;
  • you previously received a disabled contributor’s child benefit or a surviving child’s benefit;
  • you were previously receiving a benefit that was paid to a designated third party;
  • you currently live outside of Canada; or
  • you have an authorized third party on your account.

If any of the above applies to you, you will need to complete the Application for a Canada Pension Plan Retirement Pension and mail it or bring it to your Service Canada Centre closest to you. Mailing addresses are provided on the form.

If you were unable to apply earlier due to a medical condition and unable to ask someone to apply on your behalf, please contact us to obtain the Declaration of Incapacity form (ISP1800). If you meet all the eligibility requirements and return this form along with your CPP retirement pension application, you may receive your pension with an earlier start date. You can mail both documents or bring them to the Service Canada Centre closest to you. Mailing addresses are provided on the form.

Can someone else contact Service Canada on my behalf?

To authorize a person to communicate with Service Canada on your behalf, you will need to complete the Consent to Communicate Information to an Authorized Person form (ISP1603CPP). Both you and the person you’re authorizing must sign the printed form and mail it to the Service Canada Centre closest to you. Mailing addresses are provided on the form.

This form does not provide authority for the person to apply for benefits on your behalf, change your payment address, or request/change the withholding of tax.

If an individual is incapable of managing his/her own affairs, a third party may be appointed to act on the individual’s behalf. See How to act as a third-party administrator for OAS and CPP benefits.

After you have applied

Upon completion of your application, you can choose to apply for various other CPP benefits and provisions, including:

  • Pension sharing
    You may be eligible to share your CPP retirement pension with your spouse or common-law partner.
  • Credit split
    The CPP contributions you and your spouse or common-law partner made during the time you lived together can be equally divided after a divorce or separation.
  • Child-rearing provision
    You may be eligible to increase your CPP retirement pension if you had zero or low earnings because you were the primary caregiver raising your children.
  • Foreign benefits
    If you have lived or worked in Canada and in another country, or you are the survivor of someone who has lived or worked in Canada and in another country, you may be eligible for pensions and benefits from Canada and/or from the other country.
  • Survivor benefits
    If you are the surviving spouse, common-law partner or child of a CPP contributor, you may be entitled to receive CPP survivor benefits.

If you have applied online, you will receive a letter within a month confirming your eligibility, your start date and the amount you will receive. If you do not receive a letter, contact us.

If you have submitted a paper application and have not received a written confirmation of your entitlement three months before your requested start date, contact us to find out the status of your application.

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

While you receive a CPP retirement pension

Find out what else you need to know while receiving a Canada Pension Plan benefit.