Canada Pension Plan Retirement Pension

How can you benefit? Find out more

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

You must have worked and made at least one valid contribution (payment) to the CPP to qualify for a CPP retirement pension. The standard age to begin receiving the pension is 65. However, you can take a permanently reduced CPP retirement pension as early as age 60 or take a permanently increased pension after age 65.

Note: Pension from another country

You may also qualify for a pension from another country, or from Canada, or from both countries if you have lived or are living outside Canada.

Information: Quebec Pension Plan

The 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. The QPP retirement pension applies to you if:

  • you have worked only in the province of Quebec;
  • you currently live in Quebec and have worked both in the province of Quebec and in another province or territory; or
  • you have worked in Quebec, currently live outside Canada and your last province of residence was Quebec.

When should I take my retirement pension?

Before you decide when to take your retirement pension, you should consider the following:

Note: You become disabled while receiving a CPP retirement pension

If you retire before the age of 65 and become disabled after starting your retirement pension, you are not eligible to convert your pension to a disability benefit.

How much can I get?

The amount of your retirement pension is based on how much and how long you have contributed to the CPP at the time you apply.

In March 2013, the average monthly amount for new retirement pension (taken at age 65) was $596.66 and the maximum amount in 2013 is $1,012,50. Read more about the CPP retirement pension amounts.

The amount you get considers periods where you had zero or low earnings. A certain number of your lowest earnings years may be automatically dropped from the pension calculation under the so-called "general drop-out provision".

You should also request the "child-rearing provision" if you had zero or low earnings because you were the primary caregiver raising your children.

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

Resources to estimate your retirement pension

How do I apply?

Your 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 contributed to the CPP;
  • want your retirement pension payments to begin within 11 months.

What documents do I need to apply?

You will need to provide:

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • banking information to arrange for direct deposit
  • your other ID number if you have worked or lived outside Canada and want to apply for benefits from that country
  • your spouse or common-law partner's SIN should you want to take advantage of pension sharing for possible tax savings

If you are requesting the child-rearing provision, you will need to provide:

  • proof of birth of each child or their SIN
  • date of entry into Canada for each child born outside Canada

Note: Documents for children

If you do not have the SIN of your child(ren), you can apply online, but you will need to submit proof of each child's birth by mail or in-person.

Choose one of the following options to apply:

Note: Unable to apply

If, due to a medical condition, you were unable to apply earlier or 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, filling out and returning this form may allow you to receive your pension with an earlier start date.

Can someone else contact Service Canada on my behalf?

If you want to authorize a person to give and receive information to Service Canada on your behalf, you will need to print the Consent to Communicate Information to an Authorized Person form (ISP1603CPP), complete it, and mail it to us at the Service Canada office mentioned on the page Returning 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, another person or agency (a Trustee or someone with a Power of Attorney) may be appointed to act on the individual’s behalf. See How to act as a third-party administrator for OAS and CPP benefits.

I submitted my application. Now what?

It takes approximately eight weeks to receive your first payment from the date Service Canada receives your completed application.

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

Find out what else you need to know while 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.