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Death of a plan member

A death benefit can be paid following the death of a person who contributed to a supplemental pension plan. In most cases, the benefit is payable to the member's spouse. However, he or she may renounce the amounts to which they are entitled following the death of the plan member.

Important

See the definition of spouse to find out which conjugal statuses are recognized under various supplemental pension plans.

Statement of benefits and person to contact

The plan administrator has 60 days following the date on which he or she was informed of the death to issue a statement of benefits to the person who is entitled to the death benefit. The statement provides information concerning the death benefit.

For more information concerning payment of the death benefit, contact the deceased member's plan administrator. The contact information of a resource person can be found on the statement. Otherwise, our Pension Plans supervised by Retraite Québec tool can provide you with the name and address of the pension plan administrator's representative.

Amount of the death benefit and terms of payment

The member dies before his or her retirement

The amount of the death benefit must be equal to the amounts credited to the member's account (member contributions, employer contributions, and additional voluntary contributions, including interest). However, the plan is not required to include the employer contributions paid before 1 January 1990, with interest.

The death benefit is paid in a lump sum. However, if the benefit is payable to the surviving spouse, the plan may provide that it be paid in the form of a pension. If he or she renounces the death benefit or if the deceased member did not have a spouse, it will be paid to the designated beneficiary or to the deceased member's heirs.

The member dies during his or her retirement

If the member died while he or she was receiving a pension under the plan, the surviving spouse is entitled to a pension for life, which is called a joint and survivor pension and must be equal to at least 60% of the pension that the deceased member was receiving, unless the surviving spouse had agreed to receive a smaller amount. To qualify for the pension, a person must have been the deceased member's spouse when the member retired or, if the plan so provides, when the member died.

If the surviving spouse renounced his or her entitlement, the amounts payable following the death of the member will depend on the normal pension provided for under the plan and the options that the member had  chosen.

Death of the member's spouse

If the member's spouse dies before the member, the member's pension will not be increased. However, if the member had opted for a joint and survivor's pension reduced upon first death, the member's pension will be reduced.

The member dies before his or her retirement

The amount of the death benefit is at least equal to the value of the benefits that the member had accrued under the pension plan since 1 January 1990.

For credited service under the plan before 1 January 1990, the amount of the death benefit must be at least equal to the member contributions, additional voluntary contributions (if any) plus accrued interest up to the date on which the benefit is paid. The plan is not required to include the employer contributions.

The death benefit is paid in a lump sum. However, if the benefit is payable to the surviving spouse, the plan may provide that it be paid in the form of a pension. If he or she renounces the death benefit or if the deceased member did not have a spouse, it will be paid to the designated beneficiary or to the deceased member's heirs.

The member dies during his or her retirement

If the member died while he or she was receiving a pension under the plan, the surviving spouse is entitled to a pension for life, which is called a joint and survivor pension and must be equal to at least 60% of the pension that the deceased member was receiving, unless the surviving spouse had agreed to receive a smaller amount. To qualify for the pension, a person must have been the deceased member's spouse when the member retired or, if the plan so provides, when the member died.

If the surviving spouse renounced his or her entitlement to a joint and survivor pension, or if the deceased member did not have a spouse, the amounts payable following the death of the member will depend on the normal pension provided for under the plan and the options that the member had chosen.

Death of the member's spouse

If the member's spouse dies before the member, the member's pension will not be increased. However, if the member had opted for a joint and survivor's pension reduced upon first death, the member's pension will be reduced.

The deceased member's spouse will receive the total of the amounts credited to the locked-in and not locked-in accounts. If the spouse had renounced the death benefit, the amounts will be paid to the designated beneficiary or to the deceased member's heirs.

The amounts are payable in a lump sum. Where tax rules allow, it can be to your advantage to transfer the amounts directly to a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or to a registered retirement income fund (RRIF). For more information on this subject consult the Canada Revenue Agency website or call them at 1 800 959‑7383.

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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