Survivor's Pension

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) survivor's pension is paid to the person who, at the time of death, is the legal spouse or common-law partner of the deceased contributor.

If you are a separated legal spouse and the deceased had no cohabiting common-law partner, you may qualify for this benefit.

Note: Widowed more than once

If you are widowed more than once, only one survivor's pension - the larger - will be paid.

How much will I get?

Consult the table of current Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payment amounts.

The amount you receive as a surviving spouse or common-law partner will depend on:

  • whether you are also receiving a CPP disability benefit or retirement pension (see Combining Canada Pension Plan Pensions)
  • your age
  • how much, and for how long, the deceased contributor has paid into 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. Then, a further calculation is done based on the survivor's age at the time of the contributor's death.

Canada Pension Plan Survivor Benefits
If the survivor is: Then the survivor's pension is:
  • age 65 or more
  • 60 per cent of the contributor's retirement pension, if the surviving spouse or common-law partner is not receiving other CPP benefits
  • age 45 to 64
    or
  • under age 45
    and
    • disabled (according to CPP legislation)
      or
    • raising a dependent child
  • a flat rate portion
    plus
    37.5 per cent of the contributor's retirement pension, if the surviving spouse or common-law partner is not receiving other CPP benefits
  • under age 45
    and
    • not disabled (according to CPP legislation)
      and
    • not raising a dependent child
  • as above (age 45 to 64)
    minus
    1/120 for each month the spouse or common-law partner is under the age of 45 at the time of the contributor's death
  • under age 35
    and
    • not disabled (according to CPP legislation) and
    • not raising a dependent child
  • not paid until the spouse or common-law partner reaches age 65
    or
    becomes disabled

When and how do I apply?

As the survivor, you are responsible for applying for your monthly pension. If you are incapable of applying, you may have a representative (such as a trustee) apply for you.

You should apply as soon as possible after the contributor's death. If you delay, you may lose benefits. The Canada Pension Plan can only make back payments for up to 12 months.

To apply, you must complete the Canada Pension Plan survivor's pension and children's benefits application form (ISP1300) and mail it to us.

When will my survivor's pension start?

The survivor's pension starts at the earliest the month after the contributor's death.

As soon as the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) has all the information and documentation, your application will be processed.

Will I lose my pension if I remarry?

No. Your pension will continue even if you remarry.

Important notice: If you previously remarried

The rule was changed in 1987. If you previously lost a Canada Pension Plan survivor benefit because you remarried, contact us to find out if you are now eligible.

Can I combine the survivor's pension with the Canada Pension Plan retirement pension and other benefits?

If you already receive a Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement pension or disability benefit, the survivor's pension will be combined with them into a single monthly payment.

Note the following restrictions to benefit amounts:

  • The most that can be paid to a person eligible for both the disability benefit and the survivor's pension is the maximum disability benefit (which is more than the maximum survivor's pension).
  • The most that can be paid to a person who is eligible for the retirement pension and the survivor's pension is the maximum retirement pension (which is more than the maximum survivor's pension).
  • The total amount of combined CPP benefits paid is adjusted based on the survivor's age and other benefits received.

In other words, you cannot receive a full survivor's pension while also receiving a full retirement pension or disability benefit. The combined benefit is not necessarily the sum of the two separate benefits.

Consult the table of current Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payment amounts.

I submitted my application. Now what?

It takes approximately 6 to 12 weeks to receive your first payment from the date Service Canada receives 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.

What is a spouse or a common-law partner?

A spouse is a person to whom you are legally married.

According to the Canada Pension Plan (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.

To prove that you are in a common-law relationship, or that you and your spouse lived in a common-law relationship prior to your marriage, you will need to fill out the Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union form – dual signatures (ISP3004CPP) or the Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union form – single signature (ISP3104CPP).