Retired Member Handbook: Page 5 of 6

Protection for loved ones

Your CAAT Plan pension includes a lifetime survivor pension for your spouse after you die.

After you’re gone

image of a coupleThe survivor benefits that may be available to your loved ones after your death depend on your circumstances.

For the purposes of survivor benefits, an eligible “spouse” is defined as the legal or common-law, same or opposite-sex partner of a member, former member or retired member.
If you had an eligible spouse when you retired, he or she will automatically receive a spousal pension for life when you die. The spousal pension is equal to 60% of your CAAT pension amount at the time of your death (or 75% if you selected that option when you retired). The spousal pension does not include the bridge benefit.

Important information for your spouse or beneficiary

Please ensure your spouse or beneficiary is aware they need to immediately inform the CAAT Plan in the event of your death, especially if a survivor benefit is payable. If the Plan continues to pay your pension before being advised of your death, payments made after your death will need to be repaid with interest.

The spousal pension receives inflation protection increases, using your years of service in the Plan. If your spouse dies before you and you remarry, your new spouse would be entitled to a spousal pension when you die. Therefore it’s important to make sure the Plan has accurate and up to date information to avoid unnecessary delays in the payment of spousal benefits upon your death.

Separation or divorce

In Ontario, by law, a pension is considered a “family asset” and can be affected by a breakdown in your marriage or common law relationship. It is important to let us know of any changes to your marital status as soon as possible. This will help avoid delays or interruptions in the payment of benefits to an eligible spouse as a result of a valid claim from an ex-spouse after a retired member passes away.

Change in your marital status?

If your marital status changes during retirement, please let us know as soon as possible by sending us a Change Request form, which you can download from our website, or contact us directly.

If you are not living separate and apart at retirement, your spouse is the “eligible spouse” for the survivor benefit even if there is a breakdown in the relationship after retirement. In this case, when a retired member dies, their ex-spouse will receive 60% of the total pension for life (or 75% if that amount was chosen when the pension started).

If you separate or divorce after retirement, the CAAT Pension Plan will divide the pension benefit, if applicable, according to Ontario pension and family law. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario oversees the process and supplies the forms required for splitting a pension. The Plan will require a copy of any court order or separation agreement that complies with pension law in order to take action if there is a pension split as a result of a marriage breakdown.

Separation or divorce before retirement

If you separated from your spouse prior to retirement, your former spouse has no entitlement to collect survivor benefits from the Plan, unless an entitlement was stipulated in a court order or separation agreement.

Each individual’s situation is different. If you have any questions or concerns about your situation, be sure to contact us.

Other survivors

If you don’t have an eligible spouse but you do have eligible children (under age 18), they will receive the 60% pension amount a spouse would have received, divided equally among them. The benefit is redivided and allocated to the remaining eligible children, if any, as each child stops qualifying (reaches age 18).

Under rare circumstances, your designated beneficiary may receive a payment if you die soon after retirement, and you no longer have an eligible spouse or any eligible children (under age 18). We calculate the total amount of pension that has been paid out to you. We then compare it to a lump sum amount equal to 60 times your original monthly lifetime payment. The difference, if any, will be paid in a lump sum to your beneficiary. This is called the 60 Month Guarantee.

This guarantee would also apply if you die and your eligible spouse receiving the spousal pension passes away, or your child receiving the children’s pension turns 18 or dies. In this case, the Plan will calculate the total amount of pension that has been paid. If that amount is less than 60 times your first monthly pension payment, a payment of the remaining amount will be made to the beneficiary of your spouse or child, or to the youngest child once he or she turns 18.

Next: Staying in touch with your pension plan