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Life & Career Events

Common Questions

I'm single and my children are no longer eligible for a survivor pension. Will my estate receive something instead?

If you don't have an eligible spouse when you start your pension, you're automatically entitled to the 10-year guarantee at no cost. If you die before receiving 10 years' worth of pension payments, we'll pay the balance of the 10 years to your estate in one lump sum.

If you die before retirement with no eligible survivors, your contributions plus interest before 1987 are paid to your estate together with a lump-sum payment representing the commuted value of the pension you accumulated from 1987 until your death.

I want my spouse to receive a 75% survivor pension. If I die before I retire, what will she receive?

Options to increase or decrease survivor pensions do not come into effect until your pension begins. If you die before retirement, your spouse will receive a survivor pension equal to 50% of the pension you accumulated before 1987 and the commuted value of the pension you accumulated from 1987 until your death. The commuted value can be taken either as a lump-sum payment or a pension.

I plan to provide my spouse with the automatic 60% survivor pension. If my spouse dies before me, will the reduction to my pension continue?

Yes. Reductions for survivor pensions greater than 50% are permanent, even if your spouse predeceases you.

Will my spouse lose her survivor pension if she has another source of income?

No. Survivor pensions for spouses are provided for life and income from a job, another pension plan or inheritance will not affect the before-tax survivor pension from Ontario Teachers'.

If I marry after I go on pension, will my new spouse be eligible for a survivor pension?

Not automatically. If a former spouse remains eligible, you cannot designate a new spouse for a survivor pension. If you do not have an eligible former spouse, you can apply for a new survivor pension and your pension will be reduced to pay for it.

Can I arrange through my will to have a dependent child's survivor pension go into a trust fund?

No. We are legally obligated to pay survivors directly. If the child is 18 or older, the survivor pension will flow directly to him or her. We deposit payments for a minor with the Accountant of the Ontario Court (General Division) until the child reaches the age of 18, unless someone has become the child's legal guardian.

What does designated beneficiary mean?

A designated beneficiary is the person(s) or organization you have designated to receive benefits only if you die before your pension begins and you do not have an eligible spouse at the time of your death.

Beneficiaries receive a lump-sum payment equal to the commuted value of the pension you accumulated since 1987. Contributions plus interest accumulated before 1987 are refunded to your estate.

A designated beneficiary exists only for pre-retirement death benefits. Post-retirement benefits are paid to your eligible spouse or, if you don't have one, to your dependent children and/or estate.