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Eligibility for survivors' benefits

Did the deceased contribute sufficiently to the Québec Pension Plan?

We take into account all the contributions made by the deceased before and after he or she began receiving a retirement pension under the Québec Pension Plan. A person's death gives entitlement to survivors' benefits if he or she contributed to the Plan:

  • for 10 years OR
  • for at least a third of his or her contributory period and for a minimum of 3 years

    Consider, for example, the case of a person who died at age 29. His or her contributory period is 12 years and corresponds to the period during which the person was between ages 18 and 29. The death will give entitlement to survivors' benefits if the deceased had contributed for at least a third of his or her contributory period, that is, 4 years (12 years x 1/3 = 4 years).

Deceased persons who had a severe impairment during their contributory period can give entitlement to survivors' benefits even if they did not accumulate enough years of contribution. However, the following 3 conditions apply:

  • The deceased must have contributed for a quarter of his or her contributory period, for a minimum of 3 years.
  • The deceased must have received an Amount for a Severe and Prolonged Impairment in Mental or Physical Functions This link will open in a new window. (or an equivalent deduction).
  • The deceased must not have been receiving a retirement pension or a disability pension under the Québec Pension Plan or the Canada Pension Plan.
Note that...

If the deceased did not contribute for the required number of years, a death benefit can still be paid if he or she:

  • made contributions of at least $500 to the Québec Pension Plan or the Canada Pension Plan;
  • did not receive a retirement pension or a disability pension under the Québec Pension Plan or the Canada Pension Plan.

The amount of the death benefit is equal to the contributions made, up to a maximum of $2500.

What is the contributory period?

Whether or not a person works, the contributory period begins in the month following his or her 18th birthday, or on 1 January 1966 (date on which the Québec Pension Plan came into effect) if he or she turned 18 before that date.

The contributory period used to calculate a person's benefits ends at the end of the first of the following months:

  • the month preceding the one in which payment of a retirement pension under the Québec Pension Plan begins
  • the month of the person's 70th birthday
  • the month of the person's death.

It is possible that certain months will not be taken into account when calculating the contributory period, which could give the contributor's family entitlement to a benefit or even increase the amount if they are:

  • months during which the contributor received a disability pension under the Québec Pension Plan or the Canada Pension Plan or an unreduced income replacement indemnity from the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST)
  • as of 1966 (the year in which the Québec Pension Plan came into effect), any months during which the contributor received, in his or her name, family benefits paid by the Québec government or the Canadian government for a child under 7.

Other eligible contributions

  • If the deceased contributed to the Canada Pension Plan, we take those contributions into account when determining entitlement to benefits and calculating the amount of the pension.
  • If the deceased contributed to a pension plan of a country with which Québec has a social security agreement, those years of contribution can be added to his or her participation in the Québec Pension Plan or in the Canada Pension Plan, possibly granting eligibility for survivors' benefits.

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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