Monday, 25 March 2019

An update on this lifetime

Some of you have asked if I have heard anything about the survivor's pension I had applied for, 27 years after the death of my then husband.

(And for the record, it *has* been a strange mix of emotions, completing the application and reliving, albeit distantly, that time in my life.)

Last week, I received a letter stating that starting January of this year, I would be receiving $365 per month... for the rest of my life. I was taken aback at the amount! We had been married for just under 2 years and I assumed it would be just a few dollars, but I guess that his Canada Pension Plan credits from the time he started working have been applied to this pension.

At a time when I am getting closer to retirement, this is very welcome! Once I am done my career, I will have a pension and coupled with my own CPP pension, my work pension and the Old Age Security pension the federal government supplies, this small addition will definitely make things a bit more comfortable. I certainly can't complain!

And because it is retroactive to January (sure wish is was retroactive to 1992) I will be getting a lump sum payment of 2 months' pension added on to this month's amount. I have a piece of artwork from a certain Ms. Blackthorn in the UK that is in need of framing, and I will now be able to get it done sooner than anticipated. A welcome bonus!

Friday, 1 March 2019

Several lifetimes ago

Some of you may know I have been married more than once. And some of you may know that one of those men I married took his own life. That was way back in 1992. It was a horrific situation to be a widow at the age of 34 after less than 2 years of marriage. But life carries on, and many things have transpired in my sphere of existence since then.

Imagine my surprise when, in mid January, I received a letter from the federal government telling me that I could now apply for the Canada Pension Plan survivor's pension benefit. They changed the rules. Way back in '92, you had to be age 35, or have kids, to be eligible to apply for it. Neither of those conditions applied to me, so my application had been denied.

So now, I had the forms to reapply. But I needed some information that I no longer possessed. Like his social insurance number and actual birthdate. I knew his birthday was in November of the same year as mine, but couldn't remember the exact date. And I had no idea what his SIN was. So I went online to the government's website and found out I could actually request this info for the whopping fee of $5! I received the requested information earlier this week.

Today, I went to the Service Canada office to get photocopies of our marriage certificate and his death certificate certified as true copies (they do it for free). The lovely agent who looked after me checked on her computer to find a time line for processing my application (~6 weeks) and then saved me the postage by taking the application and saying she would submit it through their direct channels.

I am quite certain that less than 2 years of marriage will results in about 10 cents a month, but hey... you never know!