The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) death benefit is a one-time, lump-sum payment to the estate on behalf of a deceased CPP contributor.
If an estate exists, the executor named in the will or the administrator named by the Court to administer the estate applies for the death benefit. The executor should apply for the benefit within 60 days of the date of death.
If no estate exists or if the executor has not applied for the death benefit, payment may be made to other persons who apply for the benefit in the following order of priority:
- the person or institution that has paid for or that is responsible for paying for the funeral expenses of the deceased;
- the surviving spouse or common-law partner of the deceased; or
- the next-of-kin of the deceased.
For us to pay the death benefit, the deceased must have made contributions to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) in the lesser of:
- one-third of the calendar years in their CPP contributory period, but no less than three calendar years; or
- 10 calendar years.
Learn more about contributions to the CPP.
The international social security agreements that Canada has with other countries may be used to satisfy these requirements. See lived or living outside Canada.
How much could you receive?
The amount of the death benefit depends on how much and for how long the deceased contributed to the CPP. In January 2013, the average death benefit paid was $2,280.52 and the maximum was $2,500. Consult the table of current Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payment amounts.
To calculate the amount of the death benefit, we first calculate the amount that the CPP retirement pension is or would have been if the deceased had been age 65 at the time of death.
The death benefit is equal to six months' worth of this calculated retirement pension up to a maximum of $2,500.
What if the deceased worked or lived in Quebec?
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) operates throughout Canada except in Quebec, where the Régie des rentes du Québec (RRQ) provides similar benefits under the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP). A person may contribute to both the CPP and the QPP, which work together to ensure that all contributors are protected no matter where they live.
To calculate the amount of the benefits, we combine the contributions made under both plans.
Contact the RRQ if at the time of death, one of these conditions also applies:
- the deceased lived outside Canada and the last province of residence was Quebec; or
- the deceased lived in Quebec at the time of death.
To apply, you must complete the Application for a Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit (ISP1200), include certified true copies of the required documentation, and mail it to the closest Service Canada Centre to you. Addresses are provided on the form.
After you've applied
Payment from Service Canada takes approximately 6 to 12 weeks from the date we receive your completed application.
If more than 12 weeks have passed and you have not received payment from Service Canada, please contact us at 1-800-277-9914 (TTY: 1-800-255-4786). Agents are available to assist you from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. local time. (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for Newfoundland and Labrador).
What if I don't understand or don't agree with a decision?
For any decision we make that affects your eligibility or the amount of your Canada Pension Plan benefit, you may ask us for a reconsideration of that decision.
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