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The surviving spouse's pension under the Québec pension plan

Eligibility

The surviving spouse's pension under the Québec pension Plan ensures a basic income to the surviving spouse of a person who has sufficiently contributed to the Plan pursuant to the Act respecting the Québec Pension Plan.

A person is eligible for a surviving spouse's pension under the Québec Pension Plan if:

  • we recognize him or her as the surviving spouse of the deceased contributor AND
  • the deceased contributed sufficiently to the Québec Pension Plan.

Married, in a civil union, legally separated or in a de facto (common law) union

  • If the deceased was married or in a civil union, the surviving spouse's pension will be paid to the spouse unless they were legally separated.
  • If the death occurs in the first year of marriage or civil union, certain rules apply.
  • If the deceased person was not married or was legally separated, the pension is paid to his or her de facto (common law) spouse.
Note that...

A spouse will continue to receive his or her surviving spouse's pension even if he or she later remarries or enters into a civil union.

Recognition of de facto (common law) spouses

  • A de facto (common law) spouse may qualify as a surviving spouse if he or she lived with the deceased person for at least 3 years preceding the death.
  • Only one year of cohabitation is required if a child was born or is to be born of their union, if they adopted a child or if one of the spouses adopted the other one's child.
  • For deaths occurring on or after 4 April 1985, same-sex spouses can also apply for a surviving spouse's pension.
Note that...

A de facto (common law) spouse is not entitled to a surviving spouse's pension if the deceased was married to or in a civil union with another person.

Amount and payments

The surviving spouse's pension is payable for life, as of the month following the death. It is paid on the last working day of each month. The surviving spouse's pension can be paid for a maximum retroactive period of 12 months, unless an extension is granted for special circumstances.

The amount of your surviving spouse's pension under the Québec Pension Plan varies according to the following factors:

  • the contributions under your spouse's name under the Québec Pension Plan and the Canada Pension Plan;
  • the deceased's retirement pension supplement, if he or she was receiving one;
  • your age;
  • whether you support dependent children of the deceased person;
  • whether you were deemed to be disabled by Retraite Québec;
  • whether you are already receiving a retirement or a disability pension under the Québec Pension Plan or the Canada Pension Plan, if applicable.

The following table shows the maximum monthly amounts. They are valid until 31 December 2020.

Monthly payments
Your age Your situation Maximum amount of the surviving spouse's pension
under 45without any dependent children$571.48
under 45with one or more dependent children$911.55
under 45disabled, with or without dependent children$947.70
between 45 and 64all situations$947.70
65 or overyou do not receive a retirement pension$706.65

Payment terms

Maximum retirement pension

As of age 65, if you are receiving the maximum retirement pension payable under the Québec Pension Plan payment of your surviving spouse's pension will end.

Combined pension

In addition to the surviving spouse's pension, you can receive a retirement pension or a disability pension. In such a case, we pay both pensions in a single monthly payment. This is known as a combined pension, and it is subject to a maximum amount determined by law. That amount is not necessarily equal to the sum of both pensions. As a result, the amount of your surviving spouse's pension could be reduced.

Moreover, if an additional amount for disability is added to your retirement pension, it is taken into account in the calculation of the combined pension amount. As a result, your surviving spouse's pension could be further reduced.

If you were receiving an indemnity from the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) and our agency were to deem you to be disabled for the same disability, the amount of your surviving spouse's pension could be reduced.

Important

Make sure you file your application for a surviving spouse's pension as soon as possible. Payments can be made retroactively for a maximum of 12 months.

Filing an application for a surviving spouse's pension

Three benefits, one application!

  • Death benefit
  • Surviving spouse's pension
  • Orphan's pension
 

What are the first steps to take in the event of death?

Following the death of a family member, it is important to notify Retraite Québec as soon as possible. Consult our Action to take in the event of death section for further information.

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