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Now that you are married or have reached common-law status, your new partner may be eligible for coverage under your pension and group insurance plans. The following information is intended to outline the plans under which your spouse may be covered.

You may want to know…

Is your new spouse or common–law partner covered under your insurance benefits plans?
Yes. Your new spouse or common–law partner may be covered under your various insurance benefit plans. For a summary of the types of coverage that are available, the time limits for enrolling new dependants and any steps that you must follow, refer to the following:

  • The Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) provides optional health care coverage for members of the Public Service Health Care Plan and their eligible dependants. You may apply to cover the following:
    • a person to whom you are legally married; or
    • a person with whom you have lived for a continuous period of at least one year and with whom you have publicly represented yourselves as a couple, i.e. a common–law partner.

    If your PSHCP coverage type is already Family because you have dependant children covered under the plan, an amendment application is not required. In the event you have Single coverage, however, an amendment application will be required. Amending your coverage type can be accomplished by completing and submitting either an electronic application using the secure online Public Service Health Care Plan Web Application on the Compensation Web Applications (CWA) or, if you do not have access to CWA, you can complete and submit a paper application form (www) to your designated compensation advisor.

  • The Public Service Dental Care Plan (PSDCP) provides members of the Public Service Dental Care Plan and their eligible spouse or common–law partner with coverage for specific dental services and supplies that are not covered under a provincial health and dental care plan.
  • The Public Service Management Insurance Plan (PSMIP) provides members with group life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, dependants' insurance and long-term disability insurance. Members are generally those who are employed in managerial or confidential positions.

As a plan member, you can apply for Dependants' Insurance (life and accidental death and dismemberment coverage) for the person to whom you are legally married or for the person with whom you have lived for a continuous period of at least one year and with whom you continue to live in a conjugal relationship. To designate a beneficiary under the PSMIP, you must complete and submit the Public Service Management Insurance Plan form.

What types of protection does your pension plan offer for your spouse or common-law partner?
Your pension plan offers several types of Survivor Benefits for your surviving spouse or common-law partner. For instance, your spouse or common-law partner may be entitled to an immediate allowance in the event of your death, whether you are employed or retired at the time. The survivor benefit is usually equal to half of your basic pension.

Should you provide information about your marital status or common-law relationship to the Government of Canada Pension Centre?
The Government of Canada Pension Centre recommends that you provide this information soon after your marital status changes or you enter a relationship of a conjugal nature. In the event of your death, the Pension Centre needs to know who your survivors are. When the Pension Centre has current information about your marital status or common-law relationship on hand, it can provide benefits to your survivor(s) more quickly. Additional information can be found under the Who is Entitled to Survivor Benefits section on the Treasury Board of Canada Web site.

Plan members who wish to provide information about their common-law relationship, may do so by completing the Statutory Declaration form and forwarding it to the Government of Canada Pension Centre.

Who is able to claim survivor benefits?
Survivor Benefits are payable to a spouse or common-law partner with whom you have lived in a relationship of a conjugal nature for at least one year, as long as that relationship began prior to your retirement from the public service.

Who is able to claim survivor benefits if you have both a legal spouse and a common-law partner?
At the time of death, if you have both a legal spouse and an eligible survivor with whom you have lived in a relationship of a conjugal nature, the survivor's benefit will be apportioned between them. Each survivor's share of the benefit will be based on the length of your cohabitation. Additional information may be found by consulting the Government of Canada Pension Centre.

If you get married after you retire, would your new spouse receive a survivor pension?
If you get married after you retire, your surviving spouse would not usually receive a Survivor Benefits. However, you can choose to provide a benefit to your spouse by reducing your own pension to cover the cost of this additional benefit. You can choose this option within one year from the date of your marriage, or from the date your pension begins, whichever is later. For more information please consult the Government of Canada Pension Centre.

Is there a minimum benefit guaranteed under the public service pension plan?
Under the pension plan, there is a guarantee of a minimum of five times your annual unreduced pension paid to your designated beneficiary under the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB). If you do not name a beneficiary under the SDB Plan, then the benefit will be paid to your estate. For more information, refer to minimum benefit.

How does your marriage or common-law status affect the Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB)?
The Supplementary Death Benefit (SDB) provides a form of decreasing term life insurance protection, which is designed to cover members of the pension plan. Coverage begins when you become a member of the pension plan.

If you wish to name your new spouse or common–law partner as a beneficiary, you must complete a Naming or Substitution of a Beneficiary form.

Should you inform the Government of Canada Pension Centre if the person you've named as the beneficiary of your Supplementary Death Benefit moves?
Yes, you should notify the Government of Canada Pension Centre when your beneficiary moves. In the event of your death, if the Pension Centre has a current address for your beneficiary, the benefit can be paid more quickly.
When you contact the Pension Centre, please have the following:

  • Pension number or Personal Record Identifier (PRI);
  • Name of beneficiary;
  • Your beneficiary's new address.