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As survivors of a public service plan member, you and your eligible children may be entitled to survivor benefits and child allowances under the public service pension plan and may have coverage under the group insurance plans. The following information is intended to provide you with an understanding of your benefits.

Note: In the event of a plan member's death, the Government of Canada Pension Centre (Pension Centre) should be notified immediately. If the plan member was still employed, the compensation advisor should be contacted for information on other possible pay-related benefits that may be payable.

You may want to know…

What do you do if you are the survivor of a deceased member of the public service pension plan?

You must immediately notify the Government of Canada Pension Centre. You will be informed whether benefits are payable under the public service pension plan and the Supplementary Death Benefit and how to apply for these benefits, if applicable. You will also have the opportunity to obtain medical and dental coverage if you are eligible.

Following a plan member's death, who is entitled to benefits and what are the benefits?

The survivor of a deceased member may apply for Survivor Benefits under the public service pension plan. If the member has a surviving legal spouse (from whom he had separated), and he also has a common-law partner, the survivor benefit could be split between the two surviving spouses based on the length of time each one lived with the member.

Eligible children may be entitled to a Child Allowance under the public service pension plan. The allowance for children who are 18 years of age or older but under age 25 and who are full-time students is paid directly to the students. This allowance is payable in addition to the benefits payable to the survivor.

If there is no survivor or eligible child, the public service pension plan provides for a Minimum Benefit payable to the beneficiary designated under the Supplementary Death Benefit or, in the absence of such a beneficiary, to the deceased member's estate.

If the member was covered by the Public Service Management Insurance Plan (PSMIP), the designated beneficiary under the PSMIP will receive, in a lump sum, any applicable life insurance and accidental death or dismemberment insurance amounts payable.

If the public service pension plan member's death occurred while on duty, the survivor or eligible children may be entitled to benefits under the following programs or plans:

  • The Public Service Income Benefit Plan for Survivors of Employees Slain on Duty provides an income guarantee to the spouse and children of employees whose death, in the performance of their duties (or because of it), was caused by an act of violence unlawfully committed by one or more persons.
  • The High Risk Travel Compensation Program provides eligible survivors of public service employees on official travel status with compensation for private life insurance benefits not paid because death occurred in a high-risk area.
  • The Flying Accidents Compensation Regulations provide for the payment of compensation to dependants of the deceased employee where the death is a direct result of a non-scheduled flight taken by the employee in the course of duty. In the case of a civil aviation inspector, compensation is paid where the death is a direct result of any flight taken for the purpose of conducting a flight test or monitoring commercial air operations on that flight.

Are there instances where the surviving spouse is not entitled to the survivor benefit under the public service pension plan?

Yes. You are not entitled to the Survivor Benefits if:

  • at the time of the plan member's death you were divorced from the plan member;
  • the plan member's death occurred in the first year of marriage unless it is proven that, at the time of the marriage, it was reasonable to assume that the plan member could have lived at least one year;
  • you married after the plan member retired and the plan member did not opt to provide you with a survivor benefit; or
  • you are found criminally responsible for the death of the plan member.

Are there instances where the children are not entitled to the child allowance under the public service pension plan?

Yes. Children are not entitled to the Child Allowance in the following cases:

  • They were born, were adopted or became the plan member's stepchildren after the member retired.
  • They were born or adopted or became the plan member's stepchildren within the plan member's first year of the marriage and the plan member died within that year. In that case, the children would only be entitled to the child allowance if it is proven that, at the time of the marriage, it was reasonable to assume that the plan member could have lived at least one year.

Are there any additional death benefits that will be paid out?

If the member was covered by the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB), the beneficiary designated on the form entitled Naming or Substitution of a Beneficiary (PWGSC 2196) - and – not in the Will – is entitled to the Survivor Benefits payable under that plan.

The Supplementary Death Benefit provides a form of decreasing term life insurance. The basic benefit is equal to twice the plan member's annual salary upon retirement and it decreases by 10% annually starting at age 66 to a minimum of $10,000. The benefit is paid to the designated beneficiary and is calculated as follows:

Annual Salary
x
2
Rounded up to the nearest $1,000.

Under the public service pension plan, there is a minimum benefit guarantee should there be no more survivors or children eligible to receive a pension. For more information, please refer to Minimum Benefit.

Is the Supplementary Death Benefit beneficiary also entitled to public service pension plan benefits?

If there is no survivor eligible for a survivor benefit nor any child entitled to a Child Allowance, the beneficiary designated under the Supplementary Death Benefit Plan may receive the Minimum Benefit under the public service pension plan. The minimum benefit is a lump sum representing the pension which would have been paid to the plan member for a guaranteed period of five years less any amount that has already been received.

Who will receive the benefits, which are normally paid to the beneficiary, if the plan member did not designate a beneficiary under the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB)?

If no beneficiary was designated, the benefits normally payable to that beneficiary will be paid to the deceased member's estate.

What documents are you required to provide when submitting a claim for public service pension plan benefits?

If you are the… You need to provide…
Legal spouse (legally married to the plan member)
  • Marriage certificate
  • Death certificate
Common-law partner
  • Sworn statement
  • Other reasonable evidence establishing the conjugal nature and duration of the relationship (for example, documents related to a mortgage, a lease, a joint bank account, etc.)
  • Death certificate
Eligible child under age 18
  • Birth certificate
  • Adoption papers or proof of guardianship
  • Death certificate
Eligible child 18 years of age or older but under 25
  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of full-time attendance at school or at another educational institution since the age of 18 or since the date of the member's death, whichever is later
  • Death certificate

Where do you send the documents required to submit a claim for public service pension plan benefits?

You must send the required documents to the Government of Canada Pension Centre.

How is the survivor benefit paid?

The Survivor Benefits are paid in monthly installments for life.

The benefit is deposited in your bank account on the third last banking day of the month.

How is the child allowance paid?

In most cases, the Child Allowance for children under age 18 is paid to the survivor on behalf of the children. If the child does not live with the survivor or if the survivor's death occurs while the child is still eligible for the child allowance, the payment is made on behalf of the child to the person who has custody of the child.

The allowance for children who are 18 years of age or older but under age 25 and who are full-time students is paid directly to the students.

Are the survivor benefit and child allowance protected from inflation?

Yes. The amount of these benefits ensures Protection from Inflation of the cost of living on January 1st of every year.

If you have granted someone a general Power of Attorney, can that person manage your pension affairs?

If you wish for another person to manage some of your pension affairs, an original, notarized, or a certified true copy of the general Power Of Attorney (POA) document bearing the original signature of the lawyer, notary, commissioner of oaths or justice of the peace must be sent to the Government of Canada Pension Centre. The person you name can then request address changes, direct deposit and choose a benefit on your behalf. However, a POA does not provide that person with the authority to change the recipient of a pension benefit or to change a beneficiary under the Supplementary Death Benefit Plan.

In order to protect our plan members, the Pension Centre cannot accept photocopies, faxes or scans of legal documents. Original POA documents will be returned to you by mail.

If you simply wish to allow someone to make enquiries and receive information about your pension matters, but not make decisions on your behalf, you can provide the Pension Centre with a written consent to that effect.

When do survivor benefits end?

Payment of the Survivor Benefits cease on the survivor's death.

The Child Allowance is paid to each child as long as he or she remains entitled to it.

Is your survivor benefit affected by the coordination of benefits with the CPP/QPP?

Survivors' benefits are not subject to an adjustment at age 65 due to the Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension Plan Coordination. Survivor benefits are normally equal to half of the plan member's pension entitlement, that is, half of the plan member's pension calculated before any adjustments. As a survivor, you can receive benefits under the CPP / QPP and also receive a full survivor benefit under the public service pension plan. Visit the Canada Pension Plan Web site or Survivor Benefits section of the Quebec Pension Plan Web site for more information regarding entitlements under these plans.

Are you eligible for the public service group insurance plans and when does coverage take effect?

If you are eligible for coverage under the Public Service Health Care Plan and the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan, the Pension Centre will provide you with information on how you can join.

Participation in these plans is optional.

In general, the survivor of a deceased plan member who is entitled to a survivor benefit under the public service pension plan and their eligible family members, are eligible for coverage under the Public Service Health Care Plan and the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan.

If there is no surviving spouse, eligible children (including full-time students) who are entitled to a child allowance are generally eligible for coverage under both health and dental plans.

If the deceased member had family coverage under the Public Service Health Care Plan, coverage will be continuous if the survivor applies within 60 days of the member's death.

If the deceased member was not covered by the Public Service Health Care Plan or did not have family coverage, such coverage can be obtained but it will not take effect until three months after the application is received.

If you apply for the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan within 60 days of your entitlement to a survivor benefit, your coverage will begin on the effective date of your pension entitlement. Otherwise, your coverage will take effect on the first day of the second month following the date on which the Pension Centre receives your application.

You can be covered by the Public Service Health Care Plan and the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan even if you do not reside in Canada. For more information, please contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre.

Important note for residents of Quebec

If you are a Quebec resident, you are automatically covered by law under the prescription drug insurance plan of the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) once you reach the age of 65.

In July 2001, the Superior Court of Quebec determined that the province of Quebec cannot exclude federal employees from RAMQ and that federal employees could have coverage under both RAMQ and the Public Service Health Care Plan.

For further information on coverage under the RAMQ plan or to find out how to cancel your enrolment in this plan, please refer to the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) (www) site.

Does the Public Service Health Care Plan continue to cover the same expenses as those covered before the plan member's death?

Coverage under the Public Service Health Care Plan is the same as when the member was alive.

Does the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan continue to cover the same expenses as those covered before the plan member's death?

If the member was still employed at the time of his or her death, the Pensioners' Dental Services plan that covered you as a dependant is different from the Pensioners' Dental Services plan available to you as the member's survivors. Consequently, the expenses covered, the percentages and the reimbursement maximums may be different.

If the member was retired and covered by the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan, the coverage remains the same.

When does coverage under the public service group insurance benefit plans cease?

A person receiving a survivor benefit remains covered by the Public Service Health Care Plan and the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan as long as he or she pays the required contribution and continues to receive a Public Service Superannuation Act (PSSA) pension.

Children (including a full-time student) receiving a child allowance remain covered by the Public Service Health Care Plan and the Pensioners' Dental Services Plan as long as they are eligible children and the required contribution is paid.

When the survivor dies, Pensioners' Dental Services Plan coverage ends for all family members.

How can you receive pension documents electronically?

You can receive the Statements of Remuneration for your pension, Direct Deposit statements, and the Annual Pensioners’ Statement online through epost - Canada Post's secure online delivery service.

To subscribe to this paperless alternative, you must first create an epost account and then subscribe to receive your pension documents. To do so:

  1. Visit the epost Web site and create a new user account by completing all required information needed to activate your mailbox.
  2. Once registered, choose « Get Started » to set up your epost Mailbox and subscriptions.
  3. Choose the « Add a New Bill or Statement », located on the right navigation bar. To receive your pension documents into your epost mailbox you must add « Public Service Pension Plan (PSSA) » as a « Mailer » (mailers are the companies or organizations in which you wish to have your documents sent through epost).
  4. Locate or search using any of the words in « Public Service Pension Plan (PSSA) », select it and click « Next ».
  5. Follow the instructions to validate your identity (you will need to have a Direct Deposit Statement from January 2013 or later on hand to enter your pension number and Payee Account Key). Once you have added « Public Service Pension Plan (PSSA) » as a Mailer, all of your pension documents will arrive in your epost Mailbox at their normal delivery time. By choosing epost, the existing paper mail you currently receive will only be delivered in electronic format.

Note: To subscribe to epost and receive your pension documents online, you must enter a Canadian or United States of America mailing address, receive your pension payments by Direct Deposit and have your most recent Direct Deposit statement on hand. The statement provides you with your pension number and Payee Account Key, which are both needed to confirm your identity. If there are multiple survivors within the family and you are the parent or guardian, you can add their mailings to your epost account by repeating the "add a New Bill or Statement" process using the information from the direct deposit statements for each survivor.

Should you change your mind after you've registered for epost, you can revert back to receiving your documents by mail.

For more information and to register, visit the epost Web site.