August 16, 2018

Can you get survivor benefits from an ex-spouse?

A question arises if you split your pension credits with your ex-spouse and then if that person dies, what happens to the credits? For federal employee pensions, the living spouse is entitled to survivor benefits if you were only legally separated, and so in this case, he would receive 50% of her pension. If you are divorced, you won’t see that money unless you were named by that person’s estate as a beneficiary. If the marriage produced children, then they are likely to receive the credits. Regular pensions are subject to similar rules.

Key Takeaways:

  • Upon a marriage breakdown when you split pension credits with an ex-spouse, those credits and entitlement are literally transferred, and the transfer is generally irrevocable.
  • Children from a marriage are entitled to 20% of an ex-spouse’s pension benefit until age 25. Kids over 25, receive a supplementary death benefit with certain conditions.
  • If an ex-spouse passes away with no will, the assets would be distributed based on the intestacy laws of the province.

“Is it possible to apply to be given back lost, but earned, pension entitlements as neither my ex-wife, (nor any surviving spouse/partner) will now be drawing on these benefits?”

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