How the Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit Can Help Fund a Funeral

How the Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit Can Help Fund a Funeral
Learn how the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) death benefit can help pay for a funeral of an eligible Canadian worker to their survivors.
4 minute read

Daniela Fortino

How the Canada Pension Plan death benefit can help fund a funeral

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Death Benefit is a federally mandated service that provides survivors with financial support after a family member has died. What some people don’t know is that the benefit includes a one-time payment of $2500 that can be used to help pay for a funeral.

Here is how it works. Under the program, there are three types of CPP financial support payments available to families after the death of a loved one:

  • A one-time payment to the estate on behalf of the deceased.
  • A monthly pension payable to the legal spouse or common-law partner of the deceased contributor.
  • A pension payable to a dependent child under 18 or a child under 25 attending a recognized school or university.

Can I us funds from the Canada Pension Plan to pay for a funeral?

The one-time payment of $2,500 that is made to a surviving spouse or children can be used to pay for a person’s funeral.

Who qualifies for the CPP death benefit?

To qualify for the CPP death benefit, the deceased person must have made contributions to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for at least 10 years or one-third of the calendar years in their contributory period for the base CPP, and no less than three calendar years.

If the deceased person worked in another country and paid benefits there for a period of time, there may be a social security agreement in place between the Canadian government and the country so that CPP benefits are available in this case.

Note that if a person contributed to both the CPP and the Quebec Pension Plan, contributions made under both plans are combined when a death benefit is calculated.

When and who can apply for the CPP death benefit?

The CPP says that a survivor should apply for the CPP death benefit as soon as possible after the contributor’s death. However, it must be within 60 days of the death. If an estate exists, the executor named in the deceased person’s will or the administrator named by a court to administer the estate is responsible for applying for the CPP death benefit.

If no estate exists or if the executor has not applied for the CPP death benefit, then the following people can apply in this order:

  1. The person or institution that pays for the funeral expenses of the deceased person.
  2. The surviving spouse or common-law partner of the deceased.
  3. The next-of-kin of the deceased person.

How to apply for a CPP death benefit

There are several ways to apply for a CPP death benefit.

Apply online as follows:

  1. Log into your My Service Canada Account (MSCA) and complete the online CPP Death Benefit form. To access your MSCA, you can log in to an existing account or register with a GCKey, a financial institution/bank, or by using your provincial digital ID (if you live in Alberta or British Columbia).
  2. Mail certified true copies of required documents or drop them off at a Service Canada Office. Note: Due to COVID restrictions, Canadians are urged not to visit Service Canada Centres unless absolutely necessary.
  3. Ensure you have indicated the deceased Social Insurance Number and your own on all documents before sending them to Service Canada.

Apply with a paper application as follows:

  1. Complete the application for a Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit
  2. Include certified true copies of the required documentation.
  3. Mail certified true copies of required documents or drop them off at a Service Canada Office.
  4. Ensure you have indicated the deceased Social Insurance Number and your own on all documents before sending them to Service Canada.

What to do after applying for a CPP death benefit

It will take approximately 6 to 12 weeks after Service Canada has received the completed application for you to get the death benefit payment.

You can view the status of an application on your My Service Canada Account (MSCA). If more than 12 weeks have passed since Service Canada received the documentation and you are unsure of your status, you can also contact the Canadian Pension plan by phone.

To access your account information, you will need to provide your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and other personal information.

CPP representatives can be contacted as follows:

  • Canada and the United States toll-free: 1-800-277-9914.
  • Canada and the United States TTY: 1-800-255-4786
  • The Hours of operation for both these numbers are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm local time, Monday through Friday.
  • Outside Canada and the United States: 1-613-957-1954 (Call collect)
  • The hours of operation are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Eastern time, Monday through Friday.

More information about wait times and service options can be found on this webpage:.

What to do if you disagree with a decision made about the CPP death benefit

If you disagree with the decision made about your eligibility or the amount received from the benefit, you can request a reconsideration.

This review must be requested within 90 days of receiving the decision letter. The review application will be processed by Service Canada staff that were not involved in making the original decision about your CPP application.

There are three ways to request consideration. These are as follows:

  1. Submit your request online using the MSCA.
  2. Complete and submit the Request for Reconsideration of a Canada Pension Plan Decision Form (ISP-1238).
  3. Submit a written request to review the decision. The request can be submitted by mail to the return address on the decision letter or in-person to a Service Canada Office. To do this, you must include:
  4. Your name
  5. your address
  6. your telephone number
  7. your social insurance number or client identification number
  8. a detailed explanation of why you disagree with the decision
  9. any new information that could affect the decision
  10. your signature and the date

If you disagree with the new decision, you can appeal to the Social Security Tribunal.

Questions about Canada Pension Plan?

Have a question? Contact the Canada Pension Plan at 1-800-277-9914 (US and Canada toll free). You can also see the CPP contact page for other options to answer your questions.

Need to arrange a funeral?

We can help you arrange a funeral for a loved one and provide further assistance about benefits that can help fund the arrangements. Click here to make an arrangement or email our experts with your questions to support@eirene.ca.

See also Canadian government funeral financial assistance and this article on additional funeral funding ideas.