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 Municipal Pension Plan may pay a death benefit – a monthly amount or lump-sum payment, depending on the situation – to your spouse or other beneficiaries you have named.
Any amount paid would depend on:
- Your age at death
- If you die before you have retired
- Whom you have named as your beneficiary
Shortened life expectancy
If you are an active member >of the plan and have a shortened life expectancy, you may be able to access your pension benefit before you die. Please contact the plan for more information.
If you die before you retire
If you die before you retire and have pension contributions on deposit with the plan, your beneficiary(ies) will be paid a death benefit.
Your spouse is automatically your beneficiary unless they have given up their beneficiary right to a pre-retirement death benefit. This means that if you die before you retire:
- Before your earliest retirement age (under 55 for most members or 50 for police officers and firefighters), your spouse is eligible for either:
- an immediate monthly pension, payable for their lifetime
- a lump-sum payment equal to the commuted value of your pension
- After your earliest retirement age, 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 beneficiary right to the pre-retirement death benefit, your named beneficiaries are eligible for a lump-sum payment of 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 selected when you retired, your pension may be paid to your beneficiary(ies) 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(ies) until the end of the guarantee period, or they may choose to receive a lump-sum payment
- A joint life 100 per cent pension and you die at any time, your monthly pension will continue to be paid to your spouse until they die
- 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 will be paid to your spouse until they die
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 health and dental coverage through the plan. Certain conditions apply and coverage is not guaranteed.
Paying death benefits to former spouses
If you and your former spouse had a complete, signed separation agreement or registered court order where you agreed to divide your pension, we will follow those terms when paying any death benefits.