CPP and OAS Survivor Benefits: What They Are, How Much You Can Get, and How to Apply

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Key Takeaway Box

  • Survivor benefits are payments that you may receive if your spouse, parent or common-law partner dies and they contributed to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the Old Age Security (OAS) program.
  • The CPP survivor benefits include the death benefit, the survivor’s pension and the children’s benefit. The OAS survivor benefits include the Allowance for the Survivor and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
  • The amount and eligibility of the survivor benefits depend on various factors, such as your age, income, marital status and the deceased’s contributions to the CPP or OAS.
  • To apply for the survivor benefits, you need to submit the required forms and documents to Service Canada. You can also use My Service Canada Account (MSCA) to access and manage your benefits online.

Introduction

If your spouse, parent or common-law partner dies, you may qualify for survivor benefits under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the Old Age Security (OAS) program. These benefits are designed to provide financial support to the surviving family members of the deceased. In this article, we will explain what are the survivor benefits under CPP and OAS, how much you can receive, who is eligible and how to apply. We will also provide some tips and resources to help you navigate the process of claiming your survivor benefits.

What are the survivor benefits under CPP and OAS?

The CPP and OAS are two of the most important pillars of Canada’s public retirement income system. The CPP provides a monthly benefit to individuals who have contributed to the plan during their working years, while the OAS is a basic income that is available to almost all Canadians aged 65 and over.

Both the CPP and OAS offer survivor benefits to the eligible family members of the deceased contributor. The survivor benefits are different from the regular retirement benefits that the deceased may have received or been entitled to receive. The survivor benefits are also separate from the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB), which is a one-time payment that is paid to the beneficiary of a public service plan member³.

The CPP survivor benefits include the following:

  • Death benefit: a one-time, lump-sum payment of up to $2,500 that is paid to the estate of the deceased or to the person who paid for the funeral expenses.
  • Survivor’s pension: a monthly payment that is paid to the legal spouse or common-law partner of the deceased. The amount depends on the age of the survivor, the amount of the deceased’s CPP retirement pension and whether the survivor is receiving other CPP benefits.
  • Children’s benefit: a monthly payment that is paid to the dependent children of the deceased who are under 18 or between 18 and 25 and attending school full-time.

The OAS survivor benefits include the following:

  • Allowance for the Survivor: a monthly payment that is paid to the low-income spouse or common-law partner of the deceased who is between 60 and 64 years old and meets the residency requirements.
  • Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS): a monthly payment that is paid to the low-income spouse or common-law partner of the deceased who is 65 years or older and receives the OAS pension.

How much can you receive from the survivor benefits?

The amount of the survivor benefits that you can receive depends on various factors, such as your age, income, marital status and the deceased’s contributions to the CPP or OAS. The following table provides some examples of the maximum monthly amounts of the survivor benefits as of January 2024⁶⁷:

BenefitMaximum monthly amount
CPP death benefit$2,500
CPP survivor’s pension (under 65)$638.28
CPP survivor’s pension (65 or older)$722.25
CPP children’s benefit$255.03
OAS Allowance for the Survivor$1,436.76
OAS GIS for single survivor$919.12

Note that these amounts are the maximum possible and may be reduced or eliminated based on your income, other CPP benefits or other factors. You can use the Canadian Retirement Income Calculator to estimate your CPP and OAS benefits, including the survivor benefits.

Who is eligible for the survivor benefits?

To qualify for the survivor benefits, you must meet certain eligibility criteria that vary depending on the type of benefit. Generally, you must have a relationship with the deceased that is recognized by the CPP or OAS, and the deceased must have made sufficient contributions to the CPP or OAS. The following table summarizes some of the main eligibility criteria for the survivor benefits⁴⁵:

BenefitEligibility criteria
CPP death benefit– The deceased must have made contributions to the CPP in one of the following:
– the year of death
– at least 3 of the last 6 years
– at least 10 years
– at least 25% of their contributory period
– The benefit is paid to the estate of the deceased or to the person who paid for the funeral expenses
CPP survivor’s pension– The survivor must be the legal spouse or common-law partner of the deceased
– A common-law partner is a person of either sex who lived with the deceased in a conjugal relationship for at least one year before the death
– The relationship must have started before the deceased left the public service and continued until the death
– If the survivor is under 65, they must not be receiving a CPP disability or retirement pension
– If the survivor is 65 or older, they must not be receiving a full CPP retirement pension
CPP children’s benefit– The child must be the natural or adopted child of the deceased or the child of the deceased’s spouse or common-law partner
– The child must be under 18 or between 18 and 25 and attending school full-time
– The child must be dependent on the deceased or the survivor
OAS Allowance for the Survivor– The survivor must be the legal spouse or common-law partner of the deceased
– The survivor must be between 60 and 64 years old
– The survivor must have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after turning 18
– The survivor must have a low income (less than $25,152 in 2024)
OAS GIS for single survivor– The survivor must be the legal spouse or common-law partner of the deceased
– The survivor must be 65 years or older
– The survivor must receive the OAS pension
– The survivor must have a low income (less than $18,648 in 2024)

How to apply for the survivor benefits?

To apply for the survivor benefits, you need to submit the required forms and documents to Service Canada. You can find the application forms and instructions on the Service Canada website. You can also use My Service Canada Account (MSCA) to access and manage your benefits online. You will need to provide information such as your personal details, the deceased’s details, your income, your banking information and your marital status. You may also need to provide proof of death, such as a death certificate, a funeral director’s statement or a coroner’s report.

You should apply for the survivor benefits as soon as possible after the death of the contributor. The benefits are not retroactive and will only start from the month after the death. If you delay your application, you may lose some benefits that you are entitled to. The processing time for the survivor benefits may vary depending on the type of benefit and the complexity of your situation. You can check the status of your application online through MSCA or by contacting Service Canada.

Tips and resources for claiming your survivor benefits

Claiming your survivor benefits can be a complex and stressful process, especially during a difficult time of grief and loss. Here are some tips and resources to help you with your survivor benefits:

  • Contact Service Canada as soon as possible after the death of the contributor to notify them and to get information on the survivor benefits that you may be eligible for. You can call them at 1-800-277-9914 (TTY: 1-800-255-4786) or visit a Service Canada Centre near you.
  • Gather all the necessary forms and documents that you need to apply for the survivor benefits. You can find a checklist of the documents on the Service Canada website. Make sure you fill out the forms accurately and completely and sign them where required. Keep copies of everything you send to Service Canada for your records.
  • Review your income tax situation and plan ahead for any changes that may affect your taxes. The survivor benefits are taxable income and may increase your tax liability. You may also be eligible for some tax credits and deductions, such as the pension income amount, the age amount, the disability amount and the medical expenses. You can use the [Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website] to find more information on taxes and benefits for seniors and survivors.
  • Seek professional advice if you have any questions or concerns about your survivor benefits or your financial situation. You can consult a lawyer, an accountant, a financial planner or a social worker who can help you with your legal financial, tax or personal issues. These professionals can provide you with expert advice and guidance that is tailored to your specific situation and needs. You can find a list of qualified and reputable professionals in your area on the [HustleHub website].

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Conclusion

Survivor benefits are payments that you may receive if your spouse, parent or common-law partner dies and they contributed to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the Old Age Security (OAS) program. These benefits can help you cope with the financial impact of losing a loved one and provide some income security for your future. However, claiming your survivor benefits can be a complicated and daunting process, especially during a time of grief and loss. That’s why we at HustleHub are here to help you with your survivor benefits and other financial matters. We are a platform for online entrepreneurs who want to achieve their goals and dreams.

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Source: (1) Old Age Security – Canada.ca. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/old-age-security.html. (2) Pension benefits and services in My Service Canada Account. https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/my-account/cpp-oas.html.

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