Frequently Asked Questions

Death Benefits

If I die after retirement and I don’t have a spouse, is anything payable?

Your pension will be paid to you for as long as you live. When you retire, you’ll be given a choice of guarantee periods to add to your lifetime pension. The options are:

  • Pension for member’s life but guaranteed for five years in any event
  • Pension for member’s life but guaranteed for ten years in any event
  • Pension for member’s life but guaranteed for fifteen years in any event.

If, for example, you choose a ten-year guarantee and you receive your pension every month for 65 months and then you die, your beneficiary (or estate if you have not named a beneficiary) will continue to receive a monthly pension in the same amount for the following 55 months.

When you elect an optional form, there will be an actuarial adjustment taking into account the option you choose. The amount of the adjustment will vary depending on a number of factors, including your age, your spouse’s age if applicable, and the optional form.

The adjustment factor will also differ for the three parts of your benefit.

How does my benefit work if I die after retirement?

The answer to this question depends on the type of benefit you selected at retirement.

At the present time we ask that you refer to the Plan rules on the types of benefits or contact the Fund office for more information.

Why would I (or my spouse) want to waive the right to a joint and survivor pension?

There could be a number of reasons for doing this — for example, if the non-member spouse is significantly older than the member, then replacing the spousal benefit with a different guarantee could be beneficial, or if the member has children from a prior marriage and wants them to benefit in the event of the member’s death prior to the expiration of the chosen guarantee period. Every situation is different, and the answers to these questions are not always simple. If you are thinking of waiving the spousal benefit, we recommend you seek independent legal and/or financial advice.

What happens if I acquire a spouse after I retire?

The plan pays a spousal benefit only to the person who was your spouse on the date your pension began. If you did not have a spouse on that date, then the benefit payable after you die, if any, will be based on the guarantee described in question 14 below.

What happens if I die before I retire?

The pre-retirement death benefit is equal to the commuted value of your accrued pension benefit at the date of your death. Different options apply depending on whether you have a spouse at your date of death. Please check the Plan Summary, for more information about what happens if you die before you retire. Also, please read the first paragraph in the next question to learn more about the definition of spouse.