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FAQs for retired members

We’ve got the answers to your commonly asked questions

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Adjustments and deductions to your December and January pensions

  • Your pension is deposited on the last business day of each month. In 2021 those dates are:

    • January 29
    • February 26
    • March 31
    • April 30
    • May 31
    • June 30
    • July 30
    • August 31
    • September 30
    • October 29
    • November 30
    • December 31

    While Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) payments are deposited a bit early in December, your Ontario Teachers’ pension will still be deposited on the last business day of the month (December 31).

    If you live in the UK, May 31, 2021 is a bank holiday. You may experience a delay in receiving your May pension payment. Consider contacting your financial institution to confirm when you'll receive your payment.
  • If you’re an RTOERO member, the annual membership fee is deducted in January. Contact the RTOERO directly with questions about the fee.

  • If you subscribe to a health insurance plan through the RTOERO (Johnson’s) or Ontario Teachers’ Insurance Plan (OTIP), rates are often adjusted in December or January. Other than deducting premiums each month, we don’t administer your health insurance plan. If you have questions about your coverage or premiums, please contact your health insurance plan directly.

  • In 2022, all pensions will receive the full 2.4% increase. The adjustment takes effect in January 2022.

    The adjustment is based on 100% of the adjustment in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a weighted basket of goods and services typically purchased by Canadian households each month.

    The method used to calculate the adjustment is prescribed by the terms of the plan and is the same method used by most other major Ontario pension plans, as well as the Canada Pension Plan.

    What this means to you

    • In January 2022, you’ll receive a pension increase equal to 100% of the annual CPI increase
    • If you retire(d) in 2021, your first pension increase will be prorated from your last day of credit in 2021
  • Your bridge benefit will end in the month of your 65th birthday and your pension will be adjusted in January. Why? We provide a bridge benefit, which is intended to supplement your retirement income until age 65 when you’re eligible for an unreduced pension from CPP. If you’ve told us you’re collecting a CPP disability pension, we’ve already adjusted your pension.

Your re-employment questions

  • If you plan on working after retirement, your arrangement to return to work in education directly or indirectly for a participating employer must be made after your pension starts.

    A resignation is considered valid only if:

    • Your employer confirms acceptance of your resignation without condition
    • No arrangement has been made to return to work in education, and
    • You've either received, or arrangements have been made to pay, any applicable gratuity
  • If you provide services for an employer that participates in the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan:

    • Let your employer know you're collecting a pension when you accept a job.
    • Track the number of days you work.
    • Notify us immediately if you work after the month in which you exceed the re-employment limit. We'll suspend your pension for as long as you work, even if you work for only part of a day.
  • You are. While your employer will report all re-employment service to us, you're required to track your days and contact us if you plan to work after the month in which you exceed the re-employment limit.

    You can work until the end of the month in which you exceed the re-employment limit without affecting your pension. If you continue to work after the month in which you exceed the re-employment limit, even if for only part of a day, you won't receive your pension for that month.  Your pension will resume on the earlier of: 

    • The month in which you have no re-employment service, or
    • September 1 following the school year in which your pension was suspended

    Notify us immediately if you plan to work after the month in which you exceed the re-employment limit. We'll suspend your pension for as long as you continue to work.

  • As you may know, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is jointly sponsored by the Ontario government and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF). The plan co-sponsors make decisions about plan design issues such as re-employment rules, including the number of days a member can work in each school year following retirement without interrupting their pension. Our role is to administer the plan terms – we don't make decisions about plan design.

    Generally, we suggest plan members contact the OTF directly if they wish to express their concerns and suggest ideas for changes in plan design. Please visit the OTF's website or call them directly at 1-800-268-7061.

  • Yes. Since you exceeded the 50-day limit in April, you can work until the end of April without affecting your pension. If you plan to work any additional days of the same school year, you must notify us and we'll suspend your pension.

  • Yes, re-employment rules apply to these types of work arrangements. The definition of "re-employed pensioner" includes all re-employment, teaching or non-teaching, whether done on an employment, self-employment or third-party basis.

  • Any re-employment for which you're entitled to compensation counts toward the re-employment limit. This includes any re-employment done directly or indirectly on an employment, self-employment or third-party basis for an employer who participates in the plan.

    If you work as a volunteer and the position or duty is normally compensated, you and your employer can't forgo payment to circumvent re-employment rules.

  • There are unique re-employment guidelines if you work at faculties of education at Ontario universities, Ontario colleges, Ryerson University and ministries of the Ontario government after you retire. Contact us for more information.

  • If you're hired on a part-time basis, days count in direct proportion to your contract percentage. For example, if you're on a 33% contract and work one-third of a day, three days would count as one day of re-employment.

    If you're paid by the hour, or hired for a specific task, check with your employer to determine what constitutes a working day for someone in that position.

    Also, be sure to include paid non-working days such as sick days and professional development days when tracking your re-employment service.

  • You should contact us before you begin working after retirement if you're unsure about re-employment rules. Where questionable situations are discovered, we'll consider the work after retirement subject to the re-employment rules if the arrangement is in place to escape the application of the re-employment rules.

  • It depends on the start date of your board’s calendar.

    Example

    • Board calendar start date for the 2020/2021 school year is August 31, 2020
    • Your employer asks you to help set up a classroom on August 28, 2020

    If you’ve already exceeded your re-employment limit for the 2019/2020 school year, the set-up day will count toward the 2019/2020 school year. As a result, your pension will be suspended in August and resume in September.

    Since employers have varying calendars, make sure to contact your employer to confirm which school year your work days in August fall under.

Your post-retirement survivor benefits questions

  • If you don't have an eligible spouse when you start your pension, you're automatically entitled to the 10-year guarantee at no cost. If you die before receiving 10 years' worth of pension payments, we'll pay the balance of the 10 years to your estate in one lump sum.

    If you die before retirement with no eligible survivors, your contributions plus interest before 1987 are paid to your estate together with a lump-sum payment representing the commuted value of the pension you accumulated from 1987 until your death.

  • Options to increase or decrease survivor pensions don't come into effect until your pension begins. If you die before retirement, your spouse will receive a survivor pension equal to 50% of the pension you accumulated before 1987 and the commuted value of the pension you accumulated from 1987 until your death. The commuted value can be taken either as a lump-sum payment or a pension.

  • Yes. Reductions for survivor pensions greater than 50% are permanent, even if your spouse predeceases you.

  • No. Survivor pensions for spouses are provided for life and income from a job, another pension plan or inheritance won't affect the before-tax survivor pension from Ontario Teachers'.

  • Not automatically. If a former spouse remains eligible, you can't designate a new spouse for a survivor pension. If you don't have an eligible former spouse, you can apply for a new survivor pension and your pension will be reduced to pay for it. Understand options for new spouses

  • No. We're legally obligated to pay survivors directly. If the child is 18 or older, the survivor pension will flow directly to him or her. We deposit payments for a minor with the Accountant of the Ontario Court (General Division) until the child reaches the age of 18, unless someone has become the child's legal guardian.

  • A designated beneficiary is the person(s) or organization you have designated to receive benefits only if you die before your pension begins and you don't have an eligible spouse at the time of your death.

    Beneficiaries receive a lump-sum payment equal to the commuted value of the pension you accumulated since 1987. Contributions plus interest accumulated before 1987 are refunded to your estate.

Your inflation questions

  • The adjustment rate depends on three factors:

    1. The changes in the cost of living in a given year, as measured by CPI

    We use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) because it's prescribed by the terms of the plan and it's the most widely-used indicator of price changes in Canada. The CPI represents a weighted basket of goods and services typically purchased by Canadian households each month.

    2. The plan's funding status

    We use inflation protection as a lever to keep the plan sustainable. When the plan has a funding shortfall, smaller cost-of-living adjustments help to bring the plan back into balance. When there's a funding surplus, inflation levels may be partially or fully restored.

    3. When you earned your pension credit

    There are three levels of inflation protection and they're based on when you earned pension credit: before 2010, during 2010 to 2013, and after 2013.

    When you earned your pension credit Inflation protection level What it means after you retire
    Before 2010 > 100% This portion of your pension will keep pace with annual increases in the CPI.
    During 2010-2013 50% to 100% This portion of your pension will receive at least 50% and up to 100% of the annual increase in the CPI, depending on the plan's funded status.
    After 2013 0% to 100% This portion of your pension will receive from zero to 100% of the annual increase in the CPI, depending on the plan's funded status.
  • We take the following steps to determine the annual cost-of-living adjustment.

    Step 1: Calculate inflation factor

    We compare the average monthly CPI for the 12 months ending in September to the 12-month average a year earlier. We then divide the two averages to get the inflation factor.

    Here's how the factor was determined for the 2022 baseline cost-of-living adjustment:

    140.0
    Average monthly CPI for 12 months ending in September 2021
    ÷
    136.7
    Average monthly CPI for 12 months ending in September 2020
    =
    2.4
    Inflation factor

    Step 2: Convert factor to a percentage

    To communicate the size of the adjustment, we convert the factor to a percentage. Here's how the factor is expressed as a percentage, using the 2022 inflation adjustment: (1.024 − 1) × 100 = 2.4%

    Step 3: Convert percentage to reflect conditional inflation protection for service after 2009

    For pension credit earned after 2009, inflation protection is conditional based on the plan's funding status. For pension credit earned during 2010 to 2013, it can range from 50% to 100% of the inflation rate. For pension credit earned after 2013, it can range from 0% to 100%. For 2022, the conditional inflation level is 100% for both periods.

    2.4%
    2022 rate
    ×
    100%
    Conditional inflation percentage for post-2009 service
    =
    2.4%
    Percentage adjustment in 2022 for post-2009 service
  • The inflation protection that some retirees receive on a portion of their pension is conditional on the plan's ability to provide it.

    Pension credit earned before 2010 is fully protected against inflation, while pension credit earned after 2009 includes conditional, or variable, inflation protection.

  • No, inflation protection doesn’t get banked. On a regular basis we check our financial health to ensure we can pay pensions for your lifetime and beyond. Some years will be better than others. Our plan sponsors, Ontario Teachers Federation and the Ontario government, adjust inflation protection in times of funding surpluses and shortfalls. Changes in inflation protection levels can only be made when valuation reports are filed with the regulators.

    The sponsors have also used surpluses to “boost” pensions for retirees who may have had a year where they received an adjustment less than 100% of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to the level they would've been at had full inflation protection been provided. In a nutshell, income tax laws prohibit us from repaying you the difference, but with the boost your next cost-of-living increase is calculated on a higher base pension.

  • If you retire from teaching in 2021, your adjustment will be prorated. You'll receive the adjustment for the time you were on pension in 2021.

  • Many pensioners wonder why their annual adjustment seldom matches the rate of inflation reported in the media. Sometimes it'll be higher and sometimes it'll be lower. That's because the media compares the CPI for the current month to the same month a year earlier. We compare the average monthly CPI for the 12-month period ending in September to the 12-month average a year earlier, effectively smoothing the adjustment from year to year.

  • Increases are capped at 8%. If inflation is greater than 8%, the excess amount is carried forward to a year in which inflation is less than 8%.

  • The same type of limit applies for pension adjustments in the case of "negative" inflation (or deflation) as with positive inflation.

    If inflation is less than 0%, pensions remain at their current levels and the percentage below zero is carried forward to a year in which inflation is positive.

  • Sign in to your account to see how much your pension has changed over the years as a result of annual inflation adjustments.

Your tax questions

General tax questions

  • The tax we deduct varies, based on government requirements and the information you provided, either at retirement or after. When calculating your deductions, we assume that your Ontario Teachers' pension is your only source of income and that you qualify for the Basic Personal Exemption, unless you tell us otherwise (by submitting a TD1). Government tax tables can change as often as every six months. If a change affects your pension, we'll notify you.

    You can review or increase the amount of tax deducted from your pension by signing in to your account.

  • Your T4A slip will come in the same envelope as your January deposit advice slip. You can also get a duplicate online through the Document Centre or ask for a copy by phone, letter or e-mail.

  • Re-employment income is taxable income. Your employer will remit tax on your behalf and you'll receive a T4 slip which you must claim.

 

Changing the amount of tax deducted from your pension

  • You can increase the tax deducted from your pension, to reduce the amount owing at filing time.

    You can make this change on your own by signing in to your account.

  • If you receive a large refund, we may be deducting too much tax. We can reduce the amount deducted if you qualify to claim additional, eligible tax credits. Eligible tax credits could apply if you become disabled, turn age 65, support certain dependents or go back to school.

    To claim the tax credits, complete the federal TD1 and the TD1 from your province of residence.

    You also can ask the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for permission to reduce the income tax withheld from your pension for deductions and tax credits that can't be claimed on the TD1. Such deductions could include large charitable donations, support payments required under a divorce or separation agreement, child care expenses, and allowable RRSP contributions (perhaps carried forward from your working years).

    To request a reduction, complete Request to Reduce Tax Deductions at Source (Form T1213). If CRA approves your request, provide us with a copy of its written authorization to deduct less tax.

Monthly pension statement

  • If you subscribe to a health insurance plan through the RTOERO (Johnson's) or Ontario Teachers' Insurance Plan (OTIP), premiums are often adjusted in December or January for these plans (premiums are deducted each month). If you have any questions about your insurance premiums, please contact the respective organization directly:

  • The statement, which you received in January, does reflect the inflation increase for 2020 (or the prorated amount if you retired in 2019). However, your after-tax pension may have decreased as a result of the deduction of annual RTOERO membership dues, higher taxes or other deductions.

  • If you're a member of the RTOERO, your fees are deducted once a year from your pension, in January.

Splitting pension income

  • You can allocate up to one-half of your pension income to your spouse for tax purposes. For more information, see Filing your income taxes.

  • The optimal split in pension requires tax software or some old-fashioned trial and error, and a 50% split isn't always the best solution. Visit the Canada Revenue Agency's website to see if you qualify. If you do, consult a tax professional to find the optimal split for you and your spouse

  • No. We're often asked to reduce the amount of tax withheld at source. Unfortunately, government legislation doesn't allow us to do this. We're required to deduct tax based on 100% of your monthly pension payment.

Ontario Health Premium

  • The Ontario Health Premium is a provincial tax that we're required to deduct from pensions paid to Ontario residents. We'll only deduct this tax if your pension is more than $20,000 per year. The premium is included in your total tax deductions in box 22 of your T4A. While you're required to calculate the premium and enter the amount on your tax return, rest assured the tax isn't deducted twice.

    For more information about the premium, visit the Ontario Ministry of Finance's website or call 1-866-668-8297. For income tax information, visit the Canada Revenue Agency's website or call 1-800-959-8281.

  • No, the Ontario Health Premium can't be deducted as a medical expense.