Guide for plan members

Public Service Pension Plan is committed to helping you make the most of your pension. This guide is a provincial requirement. Please use the links at right to explore the topics most relevant to you.


Inflation adjustments


Your monthly pension payment may increase as a result of an annual inflation adjustment. This adjustment may be added to your pension to help it keep pace with increases in the cost of living over time.

Inflation adjustments are not guaranteed. They are based on:

  • Changes in the Canadian consumer price index (CPI) over a 12-month period from November to October
  • The funds available in the inflation adjustment account of BC's Public Service Pension Plan
Both active members   and employers contribute to the inflation adjustment account. Part of the employers' contributions helps pay for retirement group health benefits. The remaining employer contributions are deposited to the account and, together with active member contributions and investment returns, pay for inflation adjustments.
 

Each year, the Public Service Pension Board of Trustees reviews any changes in CPI and the available funds in the inflation adjustment account. If the board grants an inflation adjustment, it will take effect in January.

Once an inflation adjustment is granted, it becomes part of your basic lifetime pension. The inflation adjustment is also applied to the bridge benefit   and the temporary annuity   portion of your pension, if applicable.
 

See the most-recent winter issue of Pension Life to find out if an inflation adjustment will be applied and, if so, its percentage. You can check your January pension statement to find out how this inflation adjustment will affect your monthly pension payment for the coming year.


Retirement health coverage and you


When you retire, any extended health care and dental coverage you were receiving through your employer will stop. However, you can apply for extended health care and dental coverage when you apply for your pension.

This optional coverage is provided through the plan’s insurance carrier, Green Shield Canada, and gives you access to competitive group rates. With extended health care coverage, you may also be eligible for subsidized monthly premiums based on your years of pensionable service.

Your spouse and/or eligible dependants can also be covered under the extended health care and dental plans.

If you do not enrol when you apply for your pension, you cannot enrol later on unless you've had continuous coverage in a different extended health care and/or dental plan since your retirement date.

You may also be eligible for subsidized group life insurance coverage. For more information, contact your employer or BC Public Service Agency's Benefits Service Centre at 1-877-277-0772.

Extended health care

This supplemental plan extends your medical coverage beyond that provided by the Medical Services Plan of BC and other provincial health plans. It covers the cost of prescription drugs, vision care, hearing aids, medical aids and supplies, as well as some services.

There are monthly premiums, yearly deductibles and lifetime limits associated with the extended health care plan.

The Public Service Pension Plan subsidizes the cost of monthly premiums based on your years of service. The subsidy is not guaranteed and can be changed or eliminated at any time. The plan does not subsidize the cost of monthly premiums for your spouse and/or eligible dependant(s).

Dental care

If you enrol in the dental plan, you are eligible to be reimbursed for costs associated with preventive and restorative dental services. There are two dental plans to choose from, with different premiums, deductibles and eligible services for each.

The Public Service Pension Plan does not subsidize the cost of the dental plan’s monthly premiums.

How premiums are paid

You must pay monthly premiums to receive extended health care and dental coverage. Premiums are deducted from your pension payment. If your pension is not large enough, you can arrange to pay Green Shield Canada directly through pre-authorized debit.

These benefits are not guaranteed

The extended health care and dental coverage offered by the Public Service Pension Plan is not guaranteed, and coverage may change – your coverage, premiums and deductibles may increase, decrease or be eliminated.


Returning to work after retirement


You may decide to return to work after you have retired and are receiving a pension from BC's Public Service Pension Plan. If this is the case, you will continue to receive your pension.

If you start working for an employer participating in the plan, inform your employer that you are a retired plan member. This will ensure that your employer does not re-enrol you in the plan and deduct pension contributions from your pay.

If your new employer does not participate in the Public Service Pension Plan, you may be eligible to contribute to your new employer’s pension plan, if it has one. Talk to your new employer for details.

Returning to work for a plan employer within 30 days of your pension effective date

You are not considered retired if you return to work for an employer participating in the plan and all the following applies:

  • You retired from your job and applied for your pension
  • You are within 30 days of your pension effective date
  • Your new position requires you to participate in the plan

In this case, you are not eligible to receive your pension and must resume contributing to the plan. You will not qualify for group extended health care (EHC) or dental coverage for retired members through the plan, although you may be eligible for these benefits through your employer.

When you retire, you will need to reapply for your pension and any EHC or dental coverage.


Death and your pension


When you die, your pension can provide financial support for your family and other people or organizations important to you. BC's Public Service Pension Plan may pay a death benefit (a monthly amount or lump-sum payment) to your spouse or other beneficiaries you've named.

The amount of the death benefit depends on:

  • Your age at death
  • If you die before you retire
  • Who you named as beneficiary

Shortened life expectancy

If you are an active member   of the plan and have a shortened life expectancy,   you may be able to access your pension benefit early. Contact the plan for more information.
 

If you die before you retire

If you die before you retire and have pension contributions on deposit with the plan, your beneficiary(ies) will be paid a death benefit.
 

Your spouse is automatically your beneficiary unless they've given up their right to a pre-retirement death benefit. This means, if you die before you retire and:

  • Before your earliest retirement age (under 55 for most members or 50 for those working in designated public safety occupations), your spouse is eligible for one of the following:
    • an immediate monthly pension, payable for their lifetime
    • a lump-sum payment equal to the greater value of your contributions with interest or the commuted value   of your pension benefit
  • After your earliest retirement age, your spouse is only eligible to receive an immediate monthly pension, payable for their lifetime

If you do not have a spouse or your spouse has given up their beneficiary right to the pre-retirement death benefit, your named beneficiaries will receive a death benefit equal to the greater of:

  • Your contributions with interest
  • The commuted value of your pension benefit

If you do not have a spouse and have not named a beneficiary through the plan or in your will, the pre-retirement death benefit is paid to your estate.

If you die after you retire

Depending on the pension option you chose when you retired, your pension may be paid to your beneficiary(ies)   as a monthly pension for a set period (or their lifetime) or as a lump-sum payment.
 

For example, if you chose:

  • A single life pension with a guarantee period, and you die before that period expires – your monthly pension will continue to be paid to your beneficiary(ies) until the end of the guarantee period, or they may choose to receive a lump-sum payment
  • A 100% joint life pension, and you die before your spouse – your monthly pension will continue to be paid to your spouse for their lifetime
  • A joint life pension with a guarantee period, and you die before that period expires – your monthly pension will be paid to your spouse until the end of the guarantee period, after which the joint life percentage will be paid to your spouse for their lifetime

If your beneficiary is an organization, any remaining monthly pension payments will be paid to the organization as a lump sum.

Your spouse and dependent children may be eligible for extended health care and dental coverage through the plan. Certain conditions apply, and coverage is not guaranteed.

If you are age 65 or younger when you die, a group life insurance benefit may be available to your beneficiaries if you chose this option when you retired. Contact the Benefits Service Centre toll-free at 1-877-277-0772 for information.

Paying death benefits to a former spouse

If you and your former spouse had a complete, signed separation agreement or registered court order outlining how to divide your pension, we will follow those terms when paying any death benefits.


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