What happens to CPP after the death of a spouse?

This is not as simple as it seems. In 2017 the life expectancy for the total Canadian population is projected to be 79 years for men and 83 years for women, so there may be many years you’re living alone on that income. Some of the situations are as follows:

  • Depending on the age of the surviving spouse:
Canada Pension Plan Survivor Benefits
If the survivor is: Then the survivor’s pension is:
age 65 or more 60% of the contributor’s retirement pension if the surviving spouse or common-law partner is not receiving other CPP benefits
under age 65 a flat rate portion – this year that rate is $193.66 a month.


37.5% of the contributor’s retirement pension, if the surviving spouse or common-law partner is not receiving other CPP benefits
  • If the partner dies before applying for CPP, the CPP benefit is calculated based on what they have contributed so far in their working life, whether they’re 25 or 65. The survivor’s benefit is calculated based on that number — 60 percent if the survivor is 65 or over, 37.5 percent if they are under age 65.
  • If the family has children 18 or under, there is a monthly portion per child, currently $250.27 a month per child. Children aged 18 to 25 can also get this support if they are enrolled in post-secondary school, though they’ll have to prove their enrolment to the government each year.
  • if a couple is separated, it depends on whether the deceased spouse is living common-law with another person. If they are still legally married, the surviving spouse could get a share of the benefits, but if the deceased spouse was living with someone else, his or her common-law partner would get the benefits.

What ever your situation is, you will need to contact Service Canada to determine your survivor benefits.

The surviving spouse is 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).