Death and Your Pension

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It can be difficult to think about what will happen to your loved ones after you pass away. This section explains what they can expect from your pension. We are here to make sure your wishes are met and we are committed to helping the people in your life get what they need during a difficult time.

Death Before Retirement

Not Enough Pensionable Service

If you die before you are vested, your beneficiary (as determined by the priority list below) will receive your contributions with interest, plus the value of any actuarial purchase of pensionable service.

The pension benefit is paid in a priority sequence starting with a:

Entitled to a Pension

If you die after you are vested, your surviving spouse/pension partner will receive a pension equal to the amount he or she would have received if you had elected a Joint Equal pension option with 100% continuing to your spouse/pension partner for life (reduced if necessary to comply with tax rule maximums). This pension is paid from the first of the month following:

  • your death, if your death occurs under contract or within two months of terminating your contract,
  • the date that would have been your 55th birthday if you die while not under contract and after two months of terminating your contract, or
  • the date that would have been the first eligible date of your pension, if you die after age 55 while not under contract.

If you have no spouse/pension partner but you have dependent minor children (under 18 years of age and dependent on you for support on the date of your death), your dependent minor children will receive:

  • double your contributions with interest, plus
  • the value of any actuarial purchases of pensionable service.

If you have no spouse/pension partner nor dependent minor children, your designated beneficiary (or your estate if no named beneficiaries exist or none are living) will receive:

  • your contributions with interest, plus
  • the value of any actuarial purchases of pensionable service.

Death After Retirement

If you die after your pension has started, the death benefit will be determined by the pension option you elected at retirement. Refer to the Steps to Retirement publication for more information.

Single Life Pension (no guarantee period)

This type of pension is intended for the life of the retired member only. The benefit payment ceases with the death of the retired member.

Single Life Pension (with a guarantee period of 5, 10, or 15 years)

This type of pension is intended for the life of the retired member only, but if a specified number of payments have not been made by the retired member’s death (the guarantee period), the payments continue.

​If a retired member receiving an ATRF benefit passes away before the end of the guarantee period, the payment continues to the named beneficiary until all of the guaranteed payments have been made. If the retired member passes away after the end of the guarantee period, the pension ceases.

Joint Life Pension (with a guarantee period of five years)

This type of pension is intended to continue payments to the retired member’s spouse/pension partner when the retired member passes away.

  • If the retired member receiving the ATRF benefit passes away, the payment continues to the spouse/pension partner until the time of his or her death.
  • If both the retired member and his or her spouse/pension partner pass away before the end of the guarantee period, the benefit continues to the named beneficiary to the end of the five-year guarantee period.
  • ATRF must be notified of the death of a spouse/pension partner. In the case of a Joint Reducible pension, the benefit payment has to be recalculated. For more information about Joint Reducible pensions, see Pension Options.

Death of a Pension Partner or Beneficiary

It may seem that reporting the death of a pension partner does not carry the same sense of urgency as reporting the death of a member, however, depending upon the pension option you elected at retirement it is possible that the payment to the plan member will decrease upon the death of a pension partner. Reporting this on a timely basis will ensure that you do not have to deal with paying back any overpayments that may arise.

All retired members should keep their beneficiary designations up to date. If a designated beneficiary passes away (while the retired member is living), a new beneficiary should be named as soon as possible. After a retired member has passed away, his or her beneficiary designation cannot be changed, even by a person with Power of Attorney.

Reporting a Death

It is important that the death of a member and/or pension partner be reported as soon as possible. This will ensure that you and your loved ones will not have to deal with large overpayments that may arise when a death is not reported on a timely basis.

Please refer to our contact page for ways you can reach us.