Death and your pension
After you die, your spouse, other beneficiaries and/or your estate may be paid their portion of your pension benefit.
When you die, your pension can provide financial support for your family and other people or organizations important to you. BC's College Pension Plan may pay a death benefit (a monthly amount or lump-sum payment) to your spouse or other beneficiaries you've named.
The amount of the death benefit depends on the following factors:
- Your age at death
- If you die before you retire
- Who you named as beneficiary
Shortened life expectancyIf you are an active member of the plan and have a shortened life expectancy, you may be able to access your pension benefit early. Contact the plan for more information.
If you die before you retire
If you die before you retire and have pension contributions in the plan, your beneficiary (or beneficiaries) will be paid a death benefit.Your spouse is automatically your beneficiary unless they waived their right to a pre-retirement death benefit. If you die before you retire and your spouse is your beneficiary, your age determines your spouse's options:
- If you die before the earliest retirement age of 55, your spouse is eligible for one of the following:
- an immediate monthly pension, payable for their lifetime
- a lump-sum payment equal to the greater value of your contributions with interest or the commuted value of your pension benefit
- If you die after age 55, your spouse is only eligible to receive an immediate monthly pension, payable for their lifetime
If you do not have a spouse or your spouse has given up their right to a pre-retirement death benefit, your named beneficiary (or beneficiaries) will receive a death benefit equal to the greater of:
- Your contributions with interest
- The commuted value of your pension benefit
If you do not have a spouse and have not named a beneficiary through the plan or in your will, the pre-retirement death benefit is paid to your estate.
If you die after you retire
Depending on the pension option you chose when you retired, your pension may be paid to your beneficiary (or beneficiaries) as a monthly pension for a set period (or their lifetime) or as a lump-sum payment.
For example, if you chose:
- A single life pension with a guarantee period, and you die before that period expires – your monthly pension will continue to be paid to your beneficiary (or beneficiaries) until the end of the guarantee period, or they may choose to receive a lump-sum payment
- A joint life pension with a guarantee period, and you die before that period expires – your monthly pension will be paid to your spouse until the end of the guarantee period, after which the joint life percentage you selected (either 60% or 100%) will be paid to your spouse for their lifetime
If your beneficiary is an organization, any remaining monthly pension payments will be paid to the organization as a lump sum.
Your spouse and dependent children may be eligible for extended health care and dental coverage through the plan after your death. Certain conditions apply, and coverage is not guaranteed.
Paying death benefits to a former spouse
If you and your former spouse had a complete, signed separation agreement or registered court order outlining how to divide your pension, we will follow those terms when paying any death benefits.