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Survivors' Benefits Under Public Sector Pension Plans

Following the death of a public sector pension plan member or beneficiary, the plan provides for the payment of a benefit, which is paid by default to the surviving spouse, unless he or she has waived the benefit. If the deceased did not have a recognized spouse, benefits could be paid to the heirs.

Important

Eligibility for spousal benefits is based on the applicable conjugal status: married, in a civil union or de facto (common law) union.

The benefits that can be paid to the recognized spouse vary depending on the pension plan and the benefits accrued by the member or beneficiary at the time of his or her death.

The different types of benefits payable in the event of death

The spouse or heirs' eligibility for death benefits depends on various factors, such as the deceased's age and years of service at the time of his or her death.

The member was under age 55 and was not eligible for an immediate pension.

If, at the time of his or her death, the member was under age 55 and had accrued less than two years of service, the surviving spouse will receive the total amount of his or her contributions to the pension plan, plus any accrued interest. If the member did not have a spouse, the amount will be paid to his or her heirs.

If, at the time of his or her death, the member was under age 55 and had accrued two years of service or more, and was not eligible for an immediate pension, the surviving spouse will receive the greater of the following two amounts:

  • the actuarial value of the deferred pension OR
  • the total amount of the deceased's contributions to his or her pension plan, plus any accrued interest.

If the member did not have a spouse, the amount will be paid to his or her heirs.

The member was age 55 or older and was eligible for an immediate pension
  • Member with a spouse

    If, at the time of his or her death, the person was entitled to an immediate pension, but had not yet retired, the spouse will be eligible for a surviving spouse's pension (payable for life) corresponding to 50% of the retirement pension that the deceased would have received.

    Note that the retirement pension paid under the public‑sector pension plan (RREGOP or PPMP) to which the deceased contributed is integrated with the Québec Pension Plan, as of the month following his or her death. Given that the retirement pension amount is used to calculate the surviving spouse's pension, integration with the Québec Pension Plan must be taken into account when calculating the surviving spouse's pension amount.

    For more information on integration with the Québec Pension Plan, you can consult the following brochure:

    Integration of your public sector pension plan with the Québec Pension Plan (QPP) This link will open in a new window.

  • Member without a spouse

    If, at the time of his or her death, the member was entitled to an immediate pension, but had not yet retired, the heirs will receive the total amount of the deceased's contributions to his or her pension plan, plus any accrued interest.

Deceased with a spouse

If a member dies after retirement, the spouse is entitled to a surviving spouse's pension for the rest of his or her life. It corresponds to 50% or 60% of the deceased's retirement pension, in accordance with the choice he or she made when applying for a retirement pension.

Note that, if the deceased was under age 65, his or her retirement pension paid under a public‑sector pension plan (RREGOP or PPMP) is integrated with the Québec Pension Plan as of the month following his or her death. Given that the retirement pension amount is used to calculate the surviving spouse's pension, integration with the Québec Pension Plan must be taken into account when calculating the surviving spouse's pension amount.

For more information on integration with the Québec Pension Plan, you can consult the following brochure:

Integration of your public sector pension plan with the Québec Pension Plan (QPP) This link will open in a new window.

Deceased without a spouse

If the deceased did not have a spouse, the benefits accrued under his or her public‑sector pension plan are included in his or her estate. The amount of the benefit is calculated as follows:

the total amount of contributions the deceased paid under his or her pension plan

+ any accrued interest

− the pension payments he or she had already received.

We will send any remaining amounts to the liquidator of the estate.

All amounts payable are taxable, except for the life insurance benefit and any amounts transferred to an RRSP..

Note that...

The RREGOP and the PPMP do not provide for an orphan's pension, even if the deceased had children.

Over 1300 employers of the public, parapublic and municipal sectors are subject to public‑sector pension plans, and each plan contains specific conditions.

For more information, consult our publication concerning the deceased's pension plan.

Applying for survivors' benefits

To apply for survivors' benefits, you must complete the following form and send it to Retraite Québec:

Application for Survivors' Benefits Under a Public Sector Pension Plan This link will open in a new window.(RSP 081A)

Important

You must send us the following proof, depending on whether the death occurred in or outside Québec.

Death in Québec Death outside Québec

A copy of one of the following  documents:

  • a death certificate
  • an act of death
  • a certificate of civil status
  • an attestation of civil status
  • a declaratory judgment of death

A copy of one of the following documents:

  • a semi‑authentic death certificate issued by the Directeur de l'état civil
  • a certified true copy of the act of death issued by the country or province where the death occurred, translated in French or English

Note that you must send a clear and legible copy of the proof. If necessary, we may require the original or a certified copy.

Note that if the deceased's spouse sends us the act of death, he or she does not have to enclose his or her certificate of marriage or of civil union, because the required information is on the copy of the act of death.

If the person applying for survivors' benefits was the deceased's de facto (common law) spouse or spouse in a civil union, he or she must also complete and enclose the following form with his or her Application for Survivors' Benefits Under a Public Sector Pension Plan (RSP 081A):

Declaration of the de facto Spouse or Spouse in a Civil Union This link will open in a new window.(RSP-423A)

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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