CPP Survivor Benefits

Published May 3, 2024
 Retirement-age couple enjoying the outdoors

What is CPP?

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) pension is designed to provide a modest stream of income to Canadian retirees. For those who qualify, a CPP retirement pension is paid for life.

What happens to your Canada Pension Plan benefits at death?

There are three types of CPP benefits that are relevant at death: 

  • CPP Death Benefit
  • CPP Survivor's Pension 
  • CPP Children's Benefit

Let’s take a closer look at each, the amounts you could potentially receive, how the benefits are calculated, and how to apply.

CPP Death Benefit

The CPP death benefit is a one-time payment made to your estate (or other eligible individual) upon death. The CPP death benefit is a single lump-sum payment of $2,500. To qualify, you must have made CPP contributions for at least 10 years or one-third of the calendar years in your contributory period for the base CPP. In most cases, the CPP death benefit is included in your estate and taxed accordingly. For the application process, if you have a will, your executor must apply within the first 60 days after death. If there was no will, others specified individuals may apply.

CPP Survivor’s Pension

The CPP Survivor’s Pension is a monthly payment paid to the legal spouse or common-law partner of a deceased CPP contributor. To qualify, your legally married spouse or common law partner must have been a CPP contributor. The amount of CPP Survivor’s Pension payable to a surviving spouse or common law partner depends on your age how much your deceased spouse or partner has paid in CPP contributions. Note that the combined CPP retirement benefit and survivor benefit is restricted to the maximum CPP retirement pension amount, which is $1,364.60 per month at age 65 in 2024.

CPP Children’s Benefit

The CPP Children’s Benefit is a regular monthly payment to the dependent child or children of a deceased CPP contributor. To qualify, the child must be under age 18, or under age 25 and attending (full-time) a recognized school or university. At age 25, the benefit is no longer payable. The child must also be either the natural or legally adopted child of the deceased CPP contributor. The CPP Children’s Benefit is a monthly flat rate amount of $294.12 (2024), adjusted annually.

How to apply

Applicants can apply online by signing into the My Service Canada Account and completing the appropriate online CPP application form, or with a paper application by completing either an Application for a CPP Death Benefit or the CPP Survivor’s Pension and Children’s Benefits application form.