Retirement planning: How much will your CPP benefits be?

Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) benefits can play a key role in your retirement planning. If you've been wondering how much your pension is going to be, and when you'll be eligible to start receiving benefits, this article will help you understand the basics.

How are my CPP deductions calculated?

All Canadians over 18 years of age who work outside of Quebec are required to contribute 5.25% (up from 5.1% in 2019) of their pensionable earnings of up to $58,700 per year (less the basic CPP exemption amount of $3,500). This works out to $2,898.00 a year, an amount that's matched by your employer. If you're self-employed, you're both the employer and employee so your maximum contribution is set at 10.5% (up from 10.2% in 2019), or $5,796.00.

How long do I have to contribute to CPP?

You're required to make CPP contributions every year you work from age 18 to 65. After that, if you choose, you can continue to contribute until you're 70. Choosing to continue contributing for these five additional years will allow you to earn a partial replacement of earnings in retirement, a disability benefit, a survivor benefit for your spouse or dependent children, and a death benefit.

How much will my benefits work out to?

The amount you'll receive from CPP when you retire will depend on three things:

  1. How many years you've contributed
  2. How much money you've earned during that time
  3. The age you’ll start receiving your CPP pension

The CPP chart below shows current monthly averages for retirement pensions, post-retirement benefits, and survivor, disability and death benefit amounts.

Type of CPP pension or benefit Average monthly amount for 2020   Maximum monthly amount for 2020  
Retirement pension at age 65 $710.41   $1,175.83  
Post-retirement benefit at age 65 $13.37   $29.40  
Disability benefit $1,023.20   $1,387.66  
Post-retirement disability benefit $505.79   $505.79  
Survivor's pension — younger than 65 $456.48   $638.28  
Survivor's pension — 65 and older $311.94   $705.50  
Children of disabled CPP contributor $255.03   $255.03  
Children of deceased CPP contributor $255.03   $255.03  
Death benefit lump-sum $2,496.37   $2,500.00  


While your full retirement pension is available at age 65, you can still claim a partial pension if you're between the ages of 60 and 65, or you can delay your pension payments until you turn 70 in order to receive a higher amount.

If you claim your pension early your payments will be reduced by 7.2% per year or 0.6% per month up to maximum 36%. Conversely, deferring your payments until after you turn 65 will increase your payments by 8.4% each year or 0.7% per month to a maximum of 42%.

Who qualifies for post-retirement benefits?

The post-retirement benefit is available if you work while receiving your CPP retirement pension, are under the age of 70, and continue to contribute to CPP. Your additional CPP contributions will go towards the post-retirement benefit, which will increase your retirement income.

What about disability and death benefits?

As a CPP contributor, disability benefits are available if you become disabled and can't work on a regular basis (a benefit may also be payable to your children). When you die, survivor benefits may be paid to your estate, surviving spouse or common-law partner, and your children. The CPP death benefit provides a one-time payment to (or on behalf of) the estate of a deceased contributor.

Why do CPP benefit amounts fluctuate?

CPP pension benefits are adjusted to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) each January. That's why the CPP maximum monthly pension has grown dramatically from $19.97 when it was first introduced in 1967, to today's maximum monthly pension of $1,175.83.

If you'd like to know more about your projected CPP pension benefits, you can request a CPP pension statement through Service Canada.

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