When you pass away after retirement, your spouse, children, or designated beneficiaries may qualify for survivor benefits. The amount and type of benefit will depend on the payment options you choose at retirement.
The normal form of pension for a member with a spouse on the date of retirement is a 50% spousal pension.
If your spouse opts not to waive the 60% spousal pension – or you elect the 80% or 100% options under the Plan – your pension will be actuarially reduced and accordingly, your monthly pension payment will be lower. This is because the value of your pension will probably be paid over a longer period covering both you and your spouse’s lifetime.
The table below outlines the forms of spousal pension available to you.
Spousal payment option
Your spouse will receive
50% spousal pension (normal form)
50% of your pension for their lifetime. This option requires a spousal waiver and is the normal form of pension for members with a spouse (resulting in the maximum regular pension payment to you).
60%, 80% or 100% spousal pension
60%, 80% or 100% of your pension for your spouse’s lifetime (results in an actuarially reduced pension for your lifetime).
50%, 60%, 80% or 100% spousal pension with a 10-year guarantee
No matter which spousal pension you choose, if you pass away before 120 monthly payments have been made to you, your surviving spouse is entitled to your full pension payments for the remainder of the 120-month guarantee period, and then reduces to the 50%, 60%, 80% or 100% spousal pension for the remainder of their lifetime.
If your spouse also passes away before the 120 payments have been made, the remaining guaranteed payments will be paid to your spouse’s beneficiary or estate.
If your spouse passes away before you, the remaining guaranteed payments will be paid to your beneficiary or estate.
However, law requires that a 60% spousal pension be provided. If your spouse doesn’t need their full entitlement, they can sign a legal waiver for you to elect a 50% spousal pension instead, which prevents your regular pension from being reduced to provide their additional spousal pension. The waiver must be submitted before your pension begins.
If your spouse is more than 10 years younger than you, your normal form of pension will be actuarially reduced to reflect the likelihood that your spouse will receive more pension payments over a longer period.
Payment options without a spouse
Lifetime pension with
10 -year guarantee
If you pass away before receiving a total of 120 payments, the balance of payments will be made to your beneficiary or estate. This is the normal form of pension for a member without a spouse.
Lifetime pension with
15- year guarantee
If you pass away before receiving a total of 180 monthly payments, the balance of payments will be made to your beneficiary or estate. This option requires an actuarial reduction to reflect the longer guarantee period.
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