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Life & Career Events

Spousal Eligibility

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 you receive 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 cannot 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 is the eligible survivor, your new spouse cannot bump the child from primary eligibility for benefits.

Effective date of the survivor pension for a new spouse

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.