What death benefits are available for your survivors after retirement?
Changes in your spousal relationship
If your spouse dies before you do
In cases where your spouse dies before you, there is no change in the pension you are receiving. Please notify the OPTrust if this happens so we can adjust our records accordingly. As noted above if you chose an increased survivor pension, you will continue to receive a reduced pension despite the fact that your spouse died before you.
If you have a new spouse before your pension begins
If you did not have a spouse when you ended your membership in the Plan, but you have a spouse when your pension begins, your current spouse at retirement is legally entitled to a 60% survivor pension unless it is waived by you and your spouse.
Because you did not have this spouse at the time of termination, in order to provide the survivor benefit, your pension will be reduced actuarially to pay the full cost of the 60% survivor pension. If you both waive this benefit, your spouse will not receive survivor benefits and your pension will not be reduced. In these circumstances, we urge both you and your spouse to get independent legal advice before deciding to waive the survivor benefits.
If you have a new spouse after retirement
When a pensioner marries or starts a common-law relationship after retirement (after your pension starts) the new spouse is not automatically eligible for survivor benefits. Under the OPSEU Pension Plan, for the new spouse to be eligible to receive survivor benefits, the person must have been your spouse when you terminated from the Plan and when your pension began. However, if you do marry after retirement or acquire a common-law spouse you may request that a survivor pension be established for your new spouse. To fund the survivor benefit, your pension is actuarially reduced. If your spouse dies before you, the actuarial adjustment to your pension will continue.
To set up survivor benefits for a new spouse, send us a request for information, a copy of the marriage certificate and your spouse’s birth certificate. If your spousal relationship is common-law, call OPTrust and we will send you a package outlining the information we need.
To set up a survivor pension for a new spouse the following conditions must be met:
- If you already have an eligible spouse who is entitled to a survivor pension, you cannot set up a survivor pension for a post-retirement spouse
- Your application to set up a survivor pension must be delivered to OPTrust within 90 days of whichever occurs first, either:
- the date of your marriage, or
- the date on which your common-law criteria are satisfied
- If there is an eligible child from your former spousal relationship, the child will receive a survivor pension until the child no longer meets the definition of “eligible .” To set up your new spouse, you must deliver the application to OPTrust within 90 days from the date that the child is no longer eligible to receive a survivor pension.
- If your application is delivered after the time limits noted in the points above, you must prove you are in good health.
When we receive your spousal documentation, we will send you an election form showing the cost for providing a 50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70% or 75% survivor pension.
Your new spouse may be eligible for coverage under your insured benefits (if you are receiving them) and if you do not have a former spouse who is covered by your insured benefits. To start the coverage, please send a written request to OPTrust.
If your spousal relationship ends
If your spousal relationship ends, your spouse may become entitled to a portion of your pension accrued during your spousal relationship as part of the equalization process under the Family Law Act. If you enter into a domestic contract or are a party to a court order requiring a split of your pension you must file a certified copy with OPTrust. This document must clearly identify how the pension is to be split.
Pension law will not permit more than 50% of your pension earned during the marriage to be paid to your former spouse for the equalization of family property. If you had an eligible spouse at the time you first began to receive your pension, your ex-spouse is entitled to receive a full survivor pension after your death (unless he or she waived it before your pension began). The end of the spousal relationship after retirement does not affect the ex-spouse’s eligibility for a survivor pension under the Plan.
If your spousal relationship ends after you retire and start receiving your pension payments, your former eligible spouse will be able to receive the pension benefit payments from the date stated in the order or contract as long as the date is in the future. Pension payments to a former spouse cannot be backdated.
If you have no eligible survivors when you die
When a pensioner does not have any eligible survivors, that is, there is no eligible spouse, children or payment recipient, any residual balance payable from the Plan will be paid to the estate of the pensioner.
Remarriage of surviving spouse
If your surviving spouse remarries after your death, your surviving spouse continues to receive survivor benefits from OPTrust. However, if your surviving spouse remarries, that new spouse is not eligible for insured benefits or survivor benefits. If your surviving spouse dies, any further benefits go to any of your eligible children. If there are no eligible children, any residual payment is payable to any payment recipient you have designated or to your estate, not to your spouse’s estate.