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Choosing your survivor pension

When thinking about post-retirement survivor benefits for your loved ones, it's important to know who's eligible, what options you have and the impact your choices will have on your pension.

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While these decisions must be made before you start your pension, they only become effective after you receive your first pension payment.

Survivor pensions for death after your retirement are based on a percentage of your lifetime pension, which doesn’t include a bridge benefit even if you die before age 65.

Upon your death your eligible spouse automatically receives 60% of your lifetime pension. You can tell us otherwise prior to us making your first pension payment.

Basic survivor pension formula

50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70% or 75%
Of your lifetime retirement pension (without bridge benefit)
+
Annual inflation increase

Increasing your survivor pension

You can choose to increase your survivor pension to 65, 70 or 75%. You'll incur a higher reduction if you elect this option.

Your pension will be reduced slightly to provide for a survivor pension higher than 50%. The reduction to your pension depends on the age of you and your eligible spouse, and the survivor pension you choose. This reduction is permanent during your lifetime, even if your eligible spouse dies before you or you separate/divorce after we make your first pension payment.

For most members who choose a 60% pension, their pension is reduced by about 1%.

If you change your mind, you can decrease your survivor option at any time before your pension begins. Once we make your first pension payment, you can't revoke a survivor pension increase. The easiest way to change your survivor pension election is by signing in to your account. Choosing one of the percentages displayed is all it takes to make your selection. 

Decreasing your survivor pension

It's also possible to decrease your survivor pension to 50 or 55%. There's no cost for providing a 50% survivor pension to your eligible spouse.

If you feel this is the right option for you and your eligible spouse, you both must sign a Spousal Waiver of Joint and Survivor Pension form and return it to us within 12 months of your first pension payment. A waiver can be revoked if you notify us in writing. However, once we make your first pension payment, your survivor option election becomes irrevocable.

The easiest way to change your survivor pension election is by signing in to your account. Choosing one of the percentages displayed is all it takes to make your selection.

10-year pension guarantee option

If you die before receiving 10 years' worth of pension payments, your eligible survivor will receive 100% of your lifetime retirement pension for the balance of the 10 years. You can choose this benefit, at a minimal cost. This benefit is free and automatic if you don’t have an eligible spouse at retirement. Any balance remaining on the 10 years of pension payments will be paid as a survivor pension to any dependent children or as a lump sum to your estate. 

If your eligible spouse also dies before the 10-year pension guarantee ends, eligible dependent children will receive a survivor pension from any balance remaining on the 10 years of pension payments. If there are no dependent children, any balance remaining will be paid as a lump sum to your eligible spouse's estate.

We consider the 10-year guarantee to be an affordable form of insurance. The lifetime reduction for this option is 0.1% of your lifetime retirement pension (or about $44 per year for the average career teacher).

Our recommendation

We recommend that our members opt for the 10-year guarantee because it's considered to be a very affordable form of insurance. The lifetime reduction for this option is 0.1% of your CPP-adjusted annual pension (or about $44 per year for the average career teacher).

Here's an example of the reductions that apply to an average unreduced teacher's pension of $51,000.

($51,000
Average unreduced pension
-
$6,220
Bridge benefit
-
$450)
60% survivor pension cost
x
0.1%
10-year pension guarantee reduction factor
=
$44
Cost

Examples of options and cost

Amounts below are based on an average unreduced pension of $51,000. Cost varies based on a variety of factors including your age, your eligible spouse's age, and the percentage of survivor pension you elect.

Survivor pension levels

  • Survivor pension cost $0
    10-year pension guarantee cost (Original pension – survivor pension cost – CPP adjustment) x 0.1% $45
    Member's pension (without CPP adjustment) Original pension – survivor pension cost – 10-year guarantee cost $50,955
    Member's pension (with $6,220 CPP adjustment) Original pension – survivor pension cost – CPP adjustment – 10-year guarantee cost $44,735
    Survivor pension (based on elected option) (Original pension – 10-year guarantee cost – CPP adjustment) x chosen option $22,368
  • Survivor pension cost $450
    10-year pension guarantee cost (Original pension – survivor pension cost – CPP adjustment) x 0.1% $44
    Member's pension (without CPP adjustment) Original pension – survivor pension cost – 10-year guarantee cost $50,506
    Member's pension (with $6,220 CPP adjustment) Original pension – survivor pension cost – CPP adjustment – 10-year guarantee cost $44,286
    Survivor pension (based on elected option) (Original pension – 10-year guarantee cost – CPP adjustment) x chosen option $26,842
  • Survivor pension cost $1,150
    10-year pension guarantee cost (Original pension – survivor pension cost – CPP adjustment) x 0.1% $44
    Member's pension (without CPP adjustment) Original pension – survivor pension cost – 10-year guarantee cost $49,806
    Member's pension (with $6,220 CPP adjustment) Original pension – survivor pension cost – CPP adjustment – 10-year guarantee cost $43,586
    Survivor pension (based on elected option) (Original pension – 10-year guarantee cost – CPP adjustment) x chosen option $33,552