Taking the guesswork out of selecting a survivor pension

March 11, 2015

Are you getting set to apply for your pension online? During the process you'll be asked to select a survivor pension level. To make it easier for you, here's what to expect.

The basics:

  • You'll have five levels to choose from: 50%, 60%, 65%, 70% and 75%. We'll show you the corresponding survivor pension for each level, as well as the annual reduction to your pension. Unless you tell us otherwise, the default pension level is 60%. Remember: the reduction to your pension is permanent, even if your spouse passes away before you.
  • If you choose a pension level in the range between 65% and 75%, you will have to pass a medical exam. You can avoid the medical exam by selecting one of these higher levels more than two years before you apply for your pension.
  • If you choose a 50% survivor pension, we'll require a joint waiver signed by both you and your spouse.

Still wondering which level is the best fit for you?

We'll ask you a question to help you find the right percentage. Is your spouse financially dependent on you? You'll have three options to choose from: "yes, completely"; "yes, to a certain extent"; and "no, not at all." Depending on how you answer this question, we'll suggest survivor pension levels for you to consider.

As you select your answer to the question about your spouse's financial dependency, look to the right of the screen for our "Insider Tips". These are additional factors, beyond financial, to guide you through your selection.