Waiving spousal rights

Your spouse is automatically the beneficiary of your pension. Learn what's involved if your spouse wants to give up their right to receive a pension benefit when you die.

Your spouse has a legal right to receive a death benefit when you die. The payment to your spouse depends on when you die:

  • If you die before you retire, your spouse will be paid a death benefit. The benefit may be either a lump-sum payment or an immediate monthly pension, depending on your age at death.
  • If you die after you retire, your spouse may continue to receive a portion of your pension benefit. The pension option you chose at retirement determines what they receive.

Your spouse can choose to give up their right to your pension benefit by signing a waiver. They can either give up their right to your pension benefit completely, or they can choose to reduce the amount of your pension benefit they will receive when you die. If they give up all their rights to your pension, they’re waiving their rights as a primary and alternate beneficiary. This means you can then name someone else as a beneficiary to receive your pension benefit.

If your spouse wants to waive their rights, they need to fill out the correct form:

  • Form 4 to waive their right to a death benefit before you retire
  • Form 2 to waive their rights to your pension after you retire (must be submitted when you apply for your pension)

Once your pension starts, your spouse cannot give up or reduce their right to your pension benefit. Read more about this in Change your pension option.