The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Death Benefit is a federally mandated service that provides survivors with financial support after a family member has died. What some people don’t know is that the benefit includes a one-time payment of $2500 that can be used to help pay for a funeral.
Here is how it works. Under the program, there are three types of CPP financial support payments available to families after the death of a loved one:
The one-time payment of $2,500 that is made to a surviving spouse or children can be used to pay for a person’s funeral.
To qualify for the CPP death benefit, the deceased person must have made contributions to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for at least 10 years or one-third of the calendar years in their contributory period for the base CPP, and no less than three calendar years.
If the deceased person worked in another country and paid benefits there for a period of time, there may be a social security agreement in place between the Canadian government and the country so that CPP benefits are available in this case.
Note that if a person contributed to both the CPP and the Quebec Pension Plan, contributions made under both plans are combined when a death benefit is calculated.
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The CPP says that a survivor should apply for the CPP death benefit as soon as possible after the contributor’s death. However, it must be within 60 days of the death. If an estate exists, the executor named in the deceased person’s will or the administrator named by a court to administer the estate is responsible for applying for the CPP death benefit.
If no estate exists or if the executor has not applied for the CPP death benefit, then the following people can apply in this order:
How to apply for a CPP death benefit
There are several ways to apply for a CPP death benefit.
Apply online as follows:
Apply with a paper application as follows:
It will take approximately 6 to 12 weeks after Service Canada has received the completed application for you to get the death benefit payment.
You can view the status of an application on your My Service Canada Account (MSCA). If more than 12 weeks have passed since Service Canada received the documentation and you are unsure of your status, you can also contact the Canadian Pension plan by phone.
To access your account information, you will need to provide your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and other personal information.
CPP representatives can be contacted as follows:
More information about wait times and service options can be found on this webpage:.
If you disagree with the decision made about your eligibility or the amount received from the benefit, you can request a reconsideration.
This review must be requested within 90 days of receiving the decision letter. The review application will be processed by Service Canada staff that were not involved in making the original decision about your CPP application.
There are three ways to request consideration. These are as follows:
If you disagree with the new decision, you can appeal to the Social Security Tribunal.
Have a question? Contact the Canada Pension Plan at 1-800-277-9914 (US and Canada toll free). You can also see the CPP contact page for other options to answer your questions.
We can help you arrange a funeral for a loved one and provide further assistance about benefits that can help fund the arrangements. Click here to make an arrangement or email our experts with your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See also Canadian government funeral financial assistance and this article on additional funeral funding ideas.