I get a lot of questions about CPP benefits. Unfortunately, CPP uses complicated formulas to determine certain benefits and I’m sorry to have to answer “It depends.” Here are some general answers. To get accurate information about your own personal situation, I recommend signing in to My Service Canada Account , or speak to a friendly representative at 1-800-277-9914.

CPP Benefits

I am planning to leave work at age 60, but I don’t want to start collecting CPP until I’m 65. How will that affect the amount of my pension?

Your CPP benefits are calculated based on your contributions and a predefined contributory period which generally ends at the time you start receiving your benefits. A “General Low Earnings Drop Out” provision eliminates your lowest-earning years. At age 65, 17%, or eight years, will be dropped from the calculation.

If you didn’t previously have long periods of low or no income after age 18, your pension amount will not be affected if you wait. However, if you did have several years of low or no income, you may be better off taking CPP earlier, or you may receive a lower benefit amount.

I am considering taking my CPP benefits at age 60. How will this affect the amount of survivor benefit my spouse would receive? I understand that you can never receive more than the maximum CPP amount.

The CPP survivor benefit is capped at the maximum of one full benefit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the survivor will receive the maximum. The survivor amount depends on a variety of factors, such as age at the time of death, what contributions were made to the plan, whether the surviving spouse is already receiving other CPP benefits, and the age of the spouse at the time of the contributor’s death.

Trying to figure out the calculations may make your head explode, so I will refer you to an excellent overview at www.retirehappy.ca/cpp-survivor-benefits.

I was widowed in 2009 and received a survivor’s benefit. I am planning to remarry. Will I lose the benefit after marriage? If my new spouse should die, would I receive additional benefit after being widowed again?

When you remarry you will continue to get your CPP survivor pension. You can only receive a survivor pension from one spouse, however, CPP will pay the larger amount on the subsequent spouse’s death (if that is the case).

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