Understanding Canada Pension Plan or CPP
To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Canadapersonalfinancewebsite.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to A Dawn Journal. This article originally published on the above website on July 2, 2010
One of the most important things in your retirement, if you live in Canada, is your Canada Pension Plan. This is what will provide you with much needed money to go with your savings after you have retired, but there are some important things to know about it. Many assume that the payments just happen, regardless of when they take their retirement, but there is much more to the Canada Pension Plan than that.
First of all, your Canada Pension Plan is a monthly benefit that is paid to you, when you have contributed to it through your working life. It is designed to provide you with one-quarter of the earnings you have received, to a maximum amount and as of 2010 that amount is $934.17.
In order to qualify for the Canada Pension Plan, you need to have made at least one valid payment through work, usually based on at least one year’s of work. You also need to be at least 65 years old, unless you meet the earnings and contributions requirements and then you can start receiving it between the ages of 60 and 64. If you decide to take your pension between the age of 60 and 64, then your pension payment will be reduced by .5 percent for each month before you turn 65. The maximum your payment can be reduced is 30 percent though.
One thing many people do not realize is that the pension plan does not kick in automatically at the age of 65; you need to apply for it. That being said, if you are receiving a CPP disability benefit, then that will automatically change over to the Canada Pension Plan payments when you turn 65.
If you do not start your pension plan until you are past the age of 65, you actually increase how much you get and many people do not realize that is the case. If you are between the age of 66 and 70 and you start your payments, you will get .5 percent more each month after the age of 65, and before the age of 70, to a maximum amount of 30 percent. If you start your pension after the age of 70, you receive the same pension amount you would have at the age of 70.
Sometimes people change their minds after they start the pension and decide to cancel it. Under the law, you are allowed to do this up to six months after the pension starts. You need to request a cancellation in writing and, most importantly, you have to pay back all the benefits you received to that point. In addition, you must pay any CPP contributions that you would have during that period of time you collected a pension.
These are just some of the important things to know when you are dealing with a Canada Pension Plan. Knowing these can ensure you get the most out of your pension when you do decide to take it.