Small pension amounts
In some cases, the amount of the spousal survivor benefit may fall below our threshold for payment as a monthly pension and survivors will receive a lump-sum payment. For small pension amounts, the payment options vary depending on two factors:
- The date you received your first pension payment (before or after July 1, 2012)
- The age of your survivor (under or over age 71)
When we're informed of your death, we'll provide your survivor with their options and all of the information they need to receive their survivor benefit.
Your spouse or dependent children are eligible for a survivor pension. The amount of the pension is a percentage of what your pension would be after age 65, plus annual inflation increases.
Your eligible spouse
Your spouse is eligible for a survivor benefit if, at the time of your first pension payment, you:
- Were married and not living separate and apart, or
- Had been living together continuously for at least three years (or less if you're the parents of a child)
If you separate or divorce after receiving your first pension payment, your spouse remains eligible to receive a survivor pension.
Your dependent children
Dependent children may be eligible for a survivor pension when:
- You don't have an eligible spouse when you die, or
- Your surviving spouse dies while receiving a survivor pension
A child's default pension is 50% of your pension; however, if you had an eligible spouse at retirement, your child's pension is the amount your spouse was entitled to receive.
If you don't have an eligible spouse when you start your pension, you're automatically entitled to the 10-year pension guarantee at no cost. If you die before you've received 10 years’ worth of pension payments, we'll pay the balance of the 10 years to your estate in one lump sum.
Any funds paid to your estate will be administered by your estate trustee(s) according to the guidelines you specified in your will. If you die before you can prepare a will, only a court-appointed estate executor can assume responsibility of your estate.
It's never too early to prepare a will. Creating a will is a good way to ensure any funds payable to your estate are administered according to your wishes. You can designate an estate trustee (or executor) as the person responsible for managing and controlling your estate's assets.