If you have an eligible spouse on your retirement date, your spouse will be entitled to a surviving spousal pension when you die equal to 60 percent of the lifetime pension you were receiving before your death. This is referred to as a Joint and Survivor 60 Percent Pension.
If your death occurs before you are age 65 and you were receiving a bridge benefit, your eligible spouse will also receive 60 percent of your monthly bridge benefit until you would have attained age 65.
Your spouse is the person, at the date of your retirement:
- To whom you are legally married; or
- If you are not married, the person with whom you are living as spouses at the relevant time and who has been continuously living with you as your spouse for at least one year prior to the relevant time.
Your eligible spouse is determined at the time of your retirement. A person who becomes your spouse after you retire is not entitled to a surviving spousal pension.
Adjustment to Lifetime Pension at Retirement
If you have an eligible spouse on your retirement date, the lifetime pension you earned after June 30, 2015, will be reduced when you retire to provide the surviving spousal pension for this period. The amount of the reduction to your lifetime pension will depend on your age and your spouse’s age on your retirement date, and a number of actuarial assumptions that are used to determine the value or cost of this benefit.
There is no adjustment to the lifetime pension you earned before July 1, 2015, to provide the surviving spousal pension for that period.
Spouse May Waive Entitlement
Your spouse may waive entitlement to any surviving spousal pension by signing and returning a Spouse’s Waiver of 60 Percent Post-Retirement Survivor Benefits form to the STRP, no more than 90 days prior to your retirement date. In this event, your lifetime pension earned after June 30, 2015, will not be adjusted and will be paid for your life only. Waiver forms are available from the STRP.
By filing a waiver form with the STRP, your spouse is waiving entitlement to the total surviving spousal pension available, not just the portion attributable to the benefits you earned after June 30, 2015.
Dependent Children and Dependent Parents
In respect of any benefits earned to June 30, 2015, survivor benefits may be available for dependent children or dependent parents following your death. Contact the STRP for more information.
Minimum Survivor Benefits
If the pension payments made to you, and your eligible spouse and dependants, if applicable, total less than your teacher contribution account balance on your retirement date, the difference will be refunded to the last recipient’s beneficiary.