All About Estates

Canada Pension Plan Survivor Benefits

It’s no surprise that when one spouse dies there may be a sharp decline in household income suggesting some time is spent planning for the change.  A recent article ( shed light on the CPP survivor benefit that is both interesting and worthy of note.

A survivor for purposes of the CPP death benefit includes a common law spouse.  A common law spouse’s claim takes precedence over the claim of a legally married spouse.  To be considered a common law spouse the pair has to have lived together in a conjugal relationship for at least one year.

Deathbed marriages may not trigger a survivor benefit if the deceased’s life expectancy at the time of marriage is less than one year.

When a widow/widower remarries and suffers the misfortune of losing a second spouse, the survivor is entitled to the larger of the two survivor benefits and not the aggregate.  If the couple had been sharing the CPP benefits before the death occurred the survivor’s entitlement post death is their retirement pension before splitting plus a survivor benefit.

Don’t delay in making the CPP survivor benefit claims as any retroactive payments will only go back for twelve months.

Take the time now to plan for the eventual – thanks for reading.

About Derek de Gannes
Derek A. de Gannes: Director, Domestic & International Tax of RSM Canada. RSM Canada is committed to the highest level of integrity, quality and professionalism and provides clients with solutions in the area of Audit, Tax and Transaction Services. Email:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *