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Part One: You asked. We answered. Most common retirement questions

March 13, 2014

This is the first instalment of a three-part series to help you navigate through your retirement planning. In this first article, we answer your most common retirement questions. Be sure to check out part two, which broke down key retirement steps with a timeline and part three, which highlight some of the important decisions you need to make when it comes to choosing your survivor benefit options.

Thinking about retiring in June? If so, the application process is now open.

Even if you're not quite ready to retire this year, read on to learn the answers to questions our Pension Benefits Specialists frequently get asked.

Question: When can I retire with an unreduced pension?

Answer: You become eligible for an unreduced pension when you reach your 85 factor OR when you reach age 65. But you don't have to retire at this time. If you choose to continue to work beyond the 85 factor or age 65, you will continue to earn credit in the plan and increase your benefit. Keep in mind, you must begin collecting your pension by December of the year in which you turn age 71.

We encourage you to test out a few retirement scenarios to learn which path is right for you. You can do so using our Pension Calculator located in our secure member website, under the ‘My Retirement' section. Our Pension Benefits Specialists are also available by telephone at 416-226-2700 or 1-800-668-0105.

Question: I reach my 85 factor this September. What would the impact be to my pension if I retire this June?

Answer: For some, it's better to retire in June than to wait and retire at their 85 factor a few months later. By doing this, you will take a reduction to your pension. However, you will gain extra months of pension income in July, August and September.

Log into iAccess Web and use the ‘Pension Calculator' under the ‘My Retirement' section to help you chart the right path to retirement. 

Question: I am a 10-month employee working until June 30 but I get paid over a 12-month period until August 31. Do I have to wait until then to retire?

Answer: You do not have to wait until August to apply for your pension. If you choose to retire in June, you will continue to receive your salary throughout those last two months -- it will have no effect on your pension. But remember, you must submit your resignation letter before June 30, and ensure your June 30 resignation date is also stated in your letter.

Question: Do I have to resign from my job befire I apply for my pension?

Answer: No, you can apply for your pension before you resign. However, make sure you give your employer a resignation letter before your resignation date. If you are worried about us informing your employer about your resignation before you officially resign, don't be. Unless you are receiving long-term income protection (LTIP) benefits, or if you are currently on a leave, we will not contact your employer.

It's important to note we cannot backdate a resignation date. To ensure you don't miss any pension payments, make sure you give your employer a resignation letter before your resignation date. And remember, the resignation date on your pension application must be the same date you include in your resignation letter.

Question: How do I apply for my pension?

Answer: Gone are the days of going through a pension kit and mailing your pension application to us. You can now apply for your pension online at iAccess Web up to four months before your pension start date. For example, if you are retiring in June, you can apply as early as March 1st. Log into iAccess Web and click on ‘Apply Now' within the ‘My Retirement' section. You can also speak to one of our Pension Benefits Specialists who can provide information regarding the impact of retiring at different times.

Question: What kind of personal documents do I need to send you before I retire?

Answer: To process your pension application, we require documents to confirm such things as your age, marital status and whether you are receiving a CPP disability pension. These may include your birth certificate, marriage certificate, or CPP Notice of Entitlement.

It sometimes takes weeks to locate or replace missing documents, especially if issued by another country. To ensure you aren't scrambling at the last minute, we recommend you begin to upload your required documents well in advance of your retirement

To begin uploading these documents, log into iAccess Web and click ‘Required Documents' under ‘Document Centre' within the ‘My Home' section. There, you can upload your documents, view what documents you've already uploaded, and learn what's still outstanding. For information on retrieving missing documents or for a list of acceptable alternative documents, see Required Documents.