Getting your money back after splitting CPP

Q: My mother and father were married for 24 years and divorced 16 years ago. At the time of applying to her pension, my mother applied for a pension split with my dad. She received pension splitting for three months prior to her death in Dec. 2016. I am the executor of my mother’s estate. My dad is now asking me to contact the CRA to get the portion of his pension back upon my mother’s death.

Is it possible for my Dad to get his money back? How would we go about doing this? Does he need a tax lawyer? As the executor, am I able to assist in this process? What happens to all the money my dad paid into it—that they allocated to my mom who died three months later?


A: Ann, when a married couple splits their Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits, the surviving spouse cannot receive the balance of the pension of the deceased spouse. The surviving spouse would instead apply for Survivor benefits.

When an individual pension splits with someone to whom they are no longer married the pension split is final—it permanently affects both individuals’ record of earnings upon which the benefits are calculated and it cannot revert back. You can find additional information here.

Since the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does not administer the CPP program, I would suggest contacting Service Canada for additional information.

Cleo Hamel is a senior tax specialist with American Expat Taxes in Calgary


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