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What benefits are available if you die before retirement?

If you die while you have an eligible spouse, your spouse automatically receives almost all survivor benefits. You can update your beneficiaries using OPTrust’s secure Online Services or by completing a Pension Beneficiaries form.

BENEFITS TO SURVIVORS

The following chart explains who is eligible to receive the survivor benefit if you die before retirement and what the benefit is:

CREDIT UP TO OR BEFORE DEC. 31/86 CREDIT AFTER DEC. 31/86
ELIGIBLE SPOUSE GETS:
immediate 60% pension

(of what you would have received at age 65)
ELIGIBLE SPOUSE GETS:
commuted value
of deceased’s
deferred pension (choice of lump-sum,
immediate or deferred pension)
if no spouse if no spouse
ELIGIBLE CHILDREN GET:
60% immediate pension

(of what you would have received at age 65)
OTHER BENEFICIARIES* GET:
commuted value of deferred pension
(paid as a lump sum)
if no eligible children if no other beneficiaries
OTHER BENEFICIARIES* GET:
any other lump sum refunds

ESTATE GETS:
commuted value of deferred pension

(paid as a lump sum)
if no other beneficiaries  
ESTATE GETS:
any other lump sum refunds

 

* If you want your children to receive this benefit, you must identify them in this category.

Eligible spouse

A spouse is defined as one of two individuals, whether of the same or opposite sex, who:

  • are married to each other
  • OR

  • are living together in a conjugal, common-law or same-sex relationship
    1. for at least three years
    2. OR

    3. have a relationship of some permanence and are the natural or adoptive parents of a child.

If you die before your pension begins, to be eligible, your spouse must:

  • satisfy the definition of spouse
  • AND

  • must not be living separate and apart from you at the time of termination from the Plan (if applicable) and at the time of your death.

Choice for eligible spouse

For the portion of your service until December 31, 1986, your eligible spouse is entitled to an immediate pension equal to 60% of the pension you would have received at age 65. For your service after December 31, 1986, your spouse has three choices:

  • the lump-sum commuted value of your pension
  • a deferred pension, or
  • an immediate pension.

Eligible child

Under the OPSEU Pension Plan, a child is eligible to receive survivor benefits for your service until December 31, 1986, if the child is under the age of 18, or if over 18, the child is in continuous full-time attendance at a secondary school or, immediately following secondary school, is attending a post-secondary institution to a maximum of five years. Survivor benefits are payable to an eligible child only if there is no eligible spouse.

To receive survivor benefits for your service after December 31, 1986, your child must be named as a designated beneficiary. Payments can only be made to a beneficiary if you have no spouse or your spouse had waived his or her right to a survivor pension for this period of service.

Beneficiaries

A beneficiary is the person(s) or organization(s) you identify to receive survivor benefits in case you have no eligible spouse and you die before your pension begins. You may name your children, other relatives, friends or organizations. If you name a minor child to receive this benefit, please refer to the fact sheet Survivor Benefits and Minor Children for information on appointing a trustee or a guardian of property. Any benefits payable will be divided equally among all the named beneficiaries. If you are survived by an eligible spouse, the designated beneficiary is not entitled to any benefits.

IF NO ELIGIBLE SURVIVORS OR BENEFICIARIES

When a member does not have any eligible survivors, that is, there is no eligible spouse, children or other beneficiary, any funds that are payable from the Plan will be paid to the estate.

Funds paid to an eligible spouse, eligible children and beneficiaries cannot be claimed by creditors of the estate. Funds paid to the estate can be claimed by creditors.

WHEN DEATH OCCURS

A termination package is sent to the eligible survivor or former member's estate. This personalized package provides details of any survivor benefits.

Notification of death

If you die while employed, your survivor should contact your employer and your employer will contact OPTrust. OPTrust will then issue a statement outlining the survivor options available.

If you die after your pension has started, your family or other authorized person should notify OPTrust immediately.

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