You must apply and take a reduction to your pension – the reduction can be significant. In addition, there must not be a previous spouse eligible for a survivor pension. A former spouse may also be entitled to a portion of your survivor benefit if specified in a court order or separation agreement with which we can comply.
Whether a previous spouse is eligible for a pension can vary according to your marital status (including common law) depending on when:
- You retire (your last day of employment in education)
- Your pension starts (the due date of the first installment of your pension)
The following rules apply:
- If you have an eligible spouse when we make your first pension payment and you later separate and establish a new spousal relationship, your former spouse remains eligible for a survivor pension unless you and your former spouse waive the survivor pension as part of your settlement agreement. You can't provide a survivor pension for your new spouse unless your former spouse is deceased or you and your former spouse have waived the survivor pension as part of your settlement agreement.
- If you have a dependent child who's the eligible survivor, your new spouse can't bump the child from primary eligibility for benefits.
If all eligibility criteria are met, the designation is effective six months after you apply. If you die within the six-month period before the direction takes effect, your application is void.
For members who last taught prior to June 1, 1995, the survivor option election for a new spouse is effective on the date we receive the election notice.
Example of cost
Your pension will be permanently reduced to pay for your spouse's survivor pension and will be in addition to any reduction previously made for a former spouse. The reduction remains in effect even if your spouse dies before you.
From the following actuarial tables, you can see how providing a survivor pension to your new spouse can affect your pension. To calculate approximately how much a survivor pension costs, multiply your pension by the percentage indicated by cross-referencing your spouse's age to the survivor pension option.
If you’re a 65-year-old pensioner and would like to provide your 70-year-old spouse with a survivor pension of 60% of your pension, you would receive 95.82% of your current pension. If your annual pension is $25,000, it would be reduced to $23,955 to provide your spouse with an annual survivor pension of $15,000.