Survivor benefits

The Defined Benefit Pension Plan benefits that your survivors receive when you die depend on a variety of factors, including whether you have started receiving your pension and your marital status.

When you die, survivor benefits from the pension plan are based on whether you have begun receiving your pension, your marital status, and the payment option you selected at retirement.

If you die before you begin receiving your retirement pension

If you die before beginning to receive your retirement pension, your eligible survivor receives a survivor’s pension based on your accrued pension credits.

Normally, the survivor’s pension is paid to your spouse. If you die before you begin receiving your pension benefit and if, at the time of your death, you had been married for at least one year, your spouse receives the greater of

  • the benefit that would have been paid to your spouse under joint and survivor option l, if you had retired immediately before your death; or
  • 50 percent of the pension credits earned up to the date of your death (the normal survivor’s pension benefit).

If you die before you begin receiving your pension benefit and you are not married, a benefit equal to 50 percent of the pension credits you have earned up to the date of your death may be paid to another eligible survivor. See the Survivor’s pensions for eligible dependents chart, which describes eligible survivors, the order of priority, and how long benefits are paid. If the first eligible survivor dies, the 50 percent survivor’s pension is extended to the second eligible survivor. If more than one person is eligible for this benefit (for example, more than one dependent child), the survivor’s pension is divided equally among the members of the class.

​Survivor’s pensions for eligible dependents ​
Order for classes of survivors ​How long benefits last
​The survivor’s pension is divided equally among the members of the class. ​

Class 1

Your spouse (provided you were married either before you first received any pension or disability benefits, or at least one year before your death)

For life

Class 2

Single, dependent children under age 21 (provided they were dependent on you for support for 12 months before and on the date of your death)

Until age 21 or marriage, if earlier

Single, permanently disabled dependent children age 21 or over (provided they were dependent on you for support for 12 months before and on the date of your death)

Until no longer permanently disabled

Class 3

Your dependent parents

For life

​Class 4

Your single, dependent siblings under age 21 (provided they were dependent on you for support for 12 months before and on the date of your death)

Until age 21 or marriage, if earlier

Single, permanently disabled dependent siblings age 21 or over (provided they were dependent on you for support for 12 months before and on the date of your death)

Until no longer permanently disabled

If you die after you begin receiving your retirement pension

If you die after beginning to receive your pension benefit, the plan pays a survivor’s pension to your spouse or eligible dependent(s), depending on the option you selected at retirement. If you did not select one of the joint and survivor benefit options, your eligible survivor receives 50 percent of your accrued pension credits at your death. If more than one person is eligible for the benefit (for example, if you have more than one dependent child), the benefit is divided equally among them.