Frequently Asked Questions

The analytical results we provide for each of the Pension Plans are displayed in an easy to understand format. They are an important part of the puzzle helping you to decide when to take your pension benefits. These results will be of great interest to your professional advisors. We also provide information on the other factors that will affect your timing decision. Finally, we clearly state the limitations of our analysis indicating when it should not be relied upon.
We provide relevant information and a personal analysis of your participation in the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan and the Old Age Security Pension Plan. At no cost, we provide the expected monthly pension at your desired retirement age and the year thereafter. We also compute the expected financial gain resulting from a one year delay in receiving your pension. This financial gain is shown as a per cent of both the total expected future pension receipts and the annual pension. For a small fee, we provide this analysis for all years up to age 69 clearly displayed with bar charts and a numeric chart. At your option, these results and your inputs can be downloaded for your records.
If you have received one of these pensions for more than six months, it is too late to reverse the decision with respect to that pension. For receipt periods of less than six months, you are permitted to pay back the monies received and reclaim your pension later. If that is your choice, you should contact the Canada Pension Plan (1-800-277-9914) or the Quebec Pension Plan (1-800-463-5185). They can provide advice and assist you in completing the necessary forms. The analysis and information on helpyouretire.ca can then help you in deciding when to start receiving your pension again.
If your health is poor, then it is likely that you will receive pension benefits for a shorter than average period of time. As a result, the numbers in our analysis will not be valid for you. If your health should improve, then you should return to helpyouretire.ca.
If you need cash to pay ongoing bills or have a significant amount of high interest rate debt, then you may have to consider taking your pensions as early as possible. If that is the case, our analysis may be of limited value. If your problems are temporary, you may be able to obtain a bank loan at a reasonable rate. At this time, seeking some professional assistance could be useful. For your cash needs, you can consider first your CPP/QPP pension which is payable as early as age 60. Later, one can consider Old Age Security which is payable starting at age 65. Also, keep in mind that these Plans have retroactive provisions which allow one to go back 11 or 12 months under some circumstances to receive pension monies. However, when you do this you will be locking in lower monthly payments for the rest of your life.
When you leave the site, the only data that is stored is what analyses you actually completed, while all inputs you entered are not stored at all in our database.


  • “Desired Retirement Age” means the age being considered to start taking your retirement benefits. It has nothing to do with whether or not you are continuing to work,
  • “Expected Return” means the average dollar benefit to be expected.
  • “Qualifying Years for Old Age Security” means the number of years you have lived in Canada after your eighteenth birthday. Residence in certain foreign countries may also count towards Qualifying Years. The maximum number of Qualifying Years is forty and the minimum to qualify is ten. Please check with My Service Canada(URL) for details about your qualification.
  • “CPP/QPP Pension Benefits” means only the basic benefit not including any post-retirement or supplementary pension benefits.

What You Need to Know

The CPP and QPP are contributory Plans into which you and your employer contribute. Your pension is paid out from the accumulated funds which have been invested to earn a return. The amount of your pension (payable for life and adjusted for inflation) is related to the total contributions made on your behalf. Maximum benefits are achieved when you have contributed at the maximum rate for 39 years after age 18. Also, CPP and QPP have substantial dependant and spousal benefits as well as a $2,500 death benefit.
Old Age Security Pensions are paid by the Federal government regardless of your work history. This pension (regularly adjusted for inflation) ceases at death. However, there are some survivor benefits. In general, if you have lived in Canada for ten years after age 18 you will qualify for some benefits. Maximum benefits will be realized when you have 40 years of residence after age 18. Residence in some foreign countries may count towards your “Qualifying Years.” If you have lived outside Canada, it is best to check on your “Qualifying Years” with My Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 as the rules are complex.
You can choose to take your CPP/QPP pension at any age between 60 and 70, while Old Age Security pensions can start at any age between 65 and 70. For each year (or part of a year) that you wait to receive benefits, the monthly pension is increased for the remaining years of your life. You need to apply for your CPP/QPP pension with details available on the CPP or QPP websites. Old Age Security will send you an enrollment form before age 65, but the decision on timing is up to you. Complete details can be found on the “Information Sheet for the Old Age Security Pension”.
The CPP and QPP benefits increase by .7% per month (of your age 65 pension) for each month of delay after that age. So, if you wait until age 70, your monthly pension will be 42% higher than your age 65 pension. If you decide to take your pension before age 65, it will be discounted by .6% per month (of your age 65 pension) or at a slightly lesser rate based upon the amount of your monthly pension.
Your pension will increase by .6% per month (of your age 65 pension) for each month of delay after age 65. So, if you delay until age 70, your pension will be 36% higher than your age 65 pension. You may also benefit from additional “Qualifying Years” by waiting.
During the first six months after you begin receiving any of these pensions (CPP/QPP and Old Age Security), you can change your mind and pay back the benefits received. After that, the rules don’t allow for a change. Therefore, it is very important to make the best decision as it will affect you for the rest of your life. If you are within the first six months of receiving any of your pensions, the advanced analytics can be helpful.
The best results are achieved when you consult with us at age 59 or later for CPP/QPP and at age 64 or later for Old Age Security. Thereafter, you should return to helpyouretire.ca each year or when your circumstances change. Keep in mind that the regulations for these Programs can be changed at any time. By returning, your results can be updated thereby taking advantage of improvements to helpyouretire.ca caused by rule changes or new data.
We need your expected monthly pension at age 65, your sex, desired retirement age, and provincial residence. If your monthly age 65 pension is not available, you can provide your current age (over 65) and your current monthly pension entitlement. The monthly pension benefit we refer to is the basic pension not including any enhancements or post-retirement benefits. This information can be obtained for CPP through your Statement of Contributions or for QPP through your Statement of Participation. As it takes time for your tax filings to update this information, you may obtain the most current information by phoning. Call CPP at 1-800-277-9914 or QPP at 1-800-463-5185.
We need to know your desired retirement age, your sex, and “Qualifying Years” at your desired retirement age. We will also ask you about your continued residence in Canada. If you have any uncertainty as to your “Qualifying Years”, you should contact My Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914.
When you apply to My Service Canada for your pension, they will require full documentation of your “Qualifying Years.” When they have received and reviewed your documentation, they will determine your “Qualifying Years” and related pension entitlement. The Old Age Security Program has the final say in that regard. For questions, they can be reached at 1-800-277-9914.
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Quebec Pension Plan and
Canada Pension Plan

How to Provide the Needed Information

The QPP and the CPP have pension sharing Agreements with each other and offer comparable pensions. The pension amount you will receive reflects all contributions made to both Plans. However, you need only apply to the Plan reflecting your last year of residence. That Plan’s rules will then apply to all your benefits.

Cautionary Notes on Our Analyses

Your CPP and QPP pensions can vary depending upon when you retire from working, and whether those earnings rise or fall.  It is best to check with the Canada Pension Plan or the Quebec Pension Plan close to the time you are considering taking your retirement benefits.  They can provide you with your estimated monthly pension benefit at age 65 or at any later age you specify.  Their estimates assume that you continue working as in the past.  Call CPP at 1-800-277-9914 or QPP at 1-800-463-5185.

If you are already receiving or expect to receive a survivor’s pension, our analysis may not be useful.  If you are in poor health, the numbers in our analysis will not be accurate.   In our analysis, we rely upon the information you provide to give you meaningful results.