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Here you will find answers to the 10 most commonly asked questions related to pension and benefits topics.

Pension plan

  1. Is your pension fully indexed to reflect the cost of living?
  2. Upon your death, what are the benefits payable to your survivors?
  3. If you marry after retirement, will your spouse automatically receive a survivor benefit in the event of your death?
  4. What happens to your public service pension when you reach age 65?
  5. Who do you contact if you have questions about your pension and group insurance benefits?

Insurance benefits

  1. How do you apply for group insurance benefit coverage?
  2. How do you submit an insurance benefit claim?
  3. Are you covered under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) if you need medical or hospital services while travelling outside your home province or outside of Canada?
  4. What online services are available to retired plan members? How do you register for them?
  5. Where can you obtain information about the status of your health and dental claim?

Pension plan

1. Is your pension fully indexed to reflect the cost of living?

Yes, your pension is indexed to take into account increases in the cost of living. Your pension will be adjusted every January 1, based on increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). View the Indexation (Cost of living pension increases) document for more details.

For information on how the indexing rate is calculated and to find this year’s rate, see the Indexing Explanation.

2. Upon your death, what are the benefits payable to your survivors?

Your surviving spouse or common-law partner may be entitled to survivor benefits when you pass away. Your children under age 25 may be entitled to a child’s allowance or to a student’s allowance.

Your survivor and children may be eligible to apply for coverage under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) and the Pensioners’ Dental Services Plan (PDSP).

For more information, you may also consult the Retired Member When Death Occurs life event and the Survivor/Dependant Becoming a Survivor life event.

3. If you marry after retirement, will your spouse automatically receive a survivor benefit in the event of your death?

If you marry after retirement, your spouse does not automatically receive a pension. However, you may choose to provide your spouse with a benefit at the time of your death by having your own pension reduced. This choice has to be made and sent to the Pension Centre within one year from the date of your marriage or one year from the date your pension commences, whichever is later.

If you enter into a common-law relationship after retirement, your common-law partner does not automatically receive a survivor’s pension. However, if you were in a common-law relationship before you married and that relationship started before retirement, your surviving partner may be eligible to receive regular survivor benefits, provided your relationship continued for at least one year before your death.

Consult the Retired Member Getting Married or Reaching Common-law Status life event or the Treasury Board of Canada Web site for more Survivor Benefits information.

In addition, further explanation regarding the establishment of an entitlement to a spousal survivor benefit is available in the Pension Entitlement Information Package General Information - Two or More Years of Pensionable Service under Survivor Benefits.

4. What happens to your public service pension when you reach age 65?

Contributions and benefits under the public service pension plan are coordinated with those under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP). As a result, the public service pension plan provides for the payment of a lifetime pension and a temporary bridge benefit amount. When you reach age 65 or if you start receiving CPP or QPP disability benefits before age 65, the bridge benefit portion of your public service pension stops.

The bridge benefit is intended to supplement your retirement income until you are entitled to receive an unreduced CPP or QPP pension. This is why the bridge benefit ends at age 65 or when you start receiving CPP or QPP disability benefits.

To obtain more information, consult the At age 65 section of the Your Pension at a Glance and the Coordination of Benefits with the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans (CPP and QPP) section of the Benefits for Retired Members booklet.

5. Who do you contact if you have questions about your pension and group insurance benefits?

As a retired plan member, if you have any questions about your pension or group insurance benefits, you may contact the Public Service Pension Centre.

Insurance benefits

1. How do you apply for group insurance benefit coverage?

The Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP):
If you are a newly retired member and are not changing your level of coverage, you simply complete the PWGSC-TPSGC 1422 - Deductions From Annuity or Annual Allowance form.

If you were a member of the PSHCP as an active member, you will maintain the same Certificate Number and you will not need to complete positive enrolment with the plan administrator again unless there was a break in your coverage during your employment and you were not actually participating in the plan when you retired.

For all other situations:

  1. Complete a paper application form, Public Service Health Care Plan – Pensioner Application Form (www) (Help for PDF file) and send it to the Government of Canada Pension Centre (Pension Centre).
  2. Complete your positive enrolment with Sun Life if you hadn’t already done so as an active employee. This is required before you can claim the reimbursement of eligible medical claims incurred by you or your eligible family members. Positive enrolment entails providing information to the insurer about yourself, your spouse/common-law partner and each eligible child, including full name, address, gender and age, and whether you or any of your dependants have coverage under another group health care plan.

Please note that eligible “survivors” have to complete the positive enrolment even if they were covered as a dependant before.

To complete positive enrolment online, please consult the Sun Life Web site. To request a paper positive enrolment form, contact Sun Life at 613-247-5100 for residents of the National Capital Region or 1-888-757-7427 (toll free in North America).

The Pensioners' Dental Services Plan (PDSP)

  1. Request from the Government of Canada Pension Centre the “Pensioners’ Dental Services Plan (PDSP) Form - April 1, 2006”.
  2. Complete and sign the form and return it to the Pension Centre.

2. How do you submit an insurance benefit claim?

The procedure for submitting claims under:

The Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP)

  • When purchasing eligible prescription drugs and certain medical supplies at the pharmacy, you should present your PSHCP benefit card. If your card is accepted, you will only have to pay your share of the cost and won’t need to submit a claim. If you have any problems with your benefit card, contact Sun Life at 613-247-5100 for residents of the National Capital Region or 1-888-757-7427 (toll free in North America).
  • For other types of eligible health care expenses (including prescription drugs purchased without your benefit card), complete a PSHCP Claim Form (www) (PDF 423KB) (Help for PDF file) and mail it to the address indicated on the form along with your original receipts.

The Pensioners’ Dental Services Plan (PDSP)

  • Your dentist can submit the claim electronically to Sun Life. In this case, it is your responsibility to authorize your dentist to submit the claim on your behalf and to ensure that your dentist has your current information including your plan and certificate number.
  • If your dentist does not submit the claim electronically on your behalf ask your dentist to complete his/her section of the PDSP Claim Form, then complete your section and:
  • If you wish to have a form sent to you, contact Sun Life at 1-888-757-7427 Toll-Free, or 613-247-5100.

Note: It is your responsibility to keep a copy of your claims, including bills, receipts and declarations, for your records.

3. Are you covered under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) if you need medical or hospital services while travelling outside your home province or outside of Canada?

The PSHCP covers participants and their eligible dependants for up to $500,000 (Canadian) each in eligible medical expenses incurred as a result of an emergency while travelling.

Eligible expenses mean the reasonable and customary charges in excess of the amount payable by a provincial or territorial health insurance plan, if they are required for emergency treatment of an injury or disease which occurs within 40 days from the date of departure from the province or territory of residence.

The PSHCP also provides a toll free number which gives members 24 hour access to a world-wide assistance network. The numbers can be found on the back of your PSHCP benefit card. Remember to always travel with your PSHCP benefit card.

4. What online services are available to retired plan members? How do you register for them?

Members of the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) and the Pensioners’ Dental Services Plan (PDSP) can access via the internet their personal accounts, including claims information for themselves and their dependants.

The online services available include the ability to:

  • obtain coverage information;
  • download and print personalized claim forms;
  • download and print the PSHCP benefit card;
  • view the status of claims and print details of past claims;
  • determine eligibility for the next vision care claim (PSHCP);
  • determine eligibility for the next oral exam (PDSP);
  • update positive enrolment information (PSHCP);
  • sign up for direct deposit and paperless Explanation of Benefits (i.e. claim statement);
  • view and elect for paperless PSHCP Bulletins and PDSP Communiqués with email notification.

An Access ID and password is necessary to enter each of the Web sites. These can be obtained by registering online at the following Web sites:

Please note that even though both plans are administered by Sun Life, a member must register for these services under each plan separately.

5. Where can you obtain information about the status of your health and dental claim?

For information about:

Health care claims under the Public Service Health Care Plan

  • Consult Sun Life Member Services (www) on the Sun Life Web site and use your Access ID and password to log in; or
  • Call Sun Life with your certificate number on hand:
    • For residents of the National Capital Region: 613-247-5100
    • Elsewhere: 1-888-757-7427 (toll free in North America)

Dental care claims under the Pensioners’ Dental Services Plan

  • Consult Pensioners’ Dental Services Plan My Sun Life Web site (www) on the Sun Life Web site and use your Access ID and password to log in; or
  • Call Sun Life with your certificate number on hand:
    • For residents of the National Capital Region: 613-247-5100
    • Elsewhere: 1-888-757-7427 (toll free in North America)