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.


When you can retire


The age at which you apply for your pension will affect the amount of your lifetime monthly pension payment.

The normal retirement age for most members of BC’s Public Service Pension Plan is 65 and the earliest retirement age is 55. However, if you work in a designated public safety occupation, your normal retirement age is 60 and your earliest retirement age is 50. Different retirement rules apply to BC Ambulance Service employees in CUPE Local 873.

As required by the Income Tax Act, you must begin receiving your pension no later than the end of the year in which you turn 71, even if you are still working.

If you are an inactive member,   you may apply for your pension as early as:
 
  • Age 50 if you worked in a designated public safety occupation
  • Age 55 for all other plan members
If you are retiring before your normal retirement age, your age at retirement and years of contributory service   will determine if you are eligible for an unreduced pension   .
 

Qualifying for an unreduced pension

Although you can apply for your pension as early as age 55 (50 for members working in designated public safety occupations), your pension will be reduced if you stop working for a plan employer before you turn 60 (55) and do not meet certain criteria.

For pensionable service earned on and after April 1, 2018, you will qualify for an unreduced pension if, at the date of your retirement, you are:

  • 55 (50) or older, with 35 years of contributory service
  • 60 (55) or older, with two or more years of contributory service
  • 65 (60) or older, with any amount of contributory service

For pensionable service earned before April 1, 2018, you will qualify for an unreduced pension if, at the date of your retirement, you are:

  • 55 (50) or older, and your age plus years of contributory service equals 85 or more
  • 60 (55) or older, with two or more years of contributory service
  • 65 (60) or older, with any amount of contributory service

Contributory service earned on and after April 1, 2018, will count toward the rule of 85 for service earned before April 1, 2018.

Receiving a reduced pension

For pensionable service earned on and after April 1, 2018, you will receive a reduced pension if, at the date of your retirement, you are:

  • Over 55 but under 60 (over 50 but under 55 for members working in designated public safety occupations), with fewer than 35 years of contributory service
  • Over 60 but under 65 (over 55 but under 60), with fewer than two years of contributory service

For pensionable service earned before April 1, 2018, you will receive a reduced pension if, at the date of your retirement, you are:

  • Over 55 but under 60 (over 50 but under 55), and your age plus years of contributory service is less than 85
  • Over 60 but under 65 (over 55 but under 60), with fewer than two years of contributory service

To learn more about how the changes may affect your pension see the Member scenarios.

 

Page last updated: April 27, 2018


How we calculate your pension


Your pension is based on the number of years you contributed to the plan and the average of your five highest years of salary (not necessarily the last five years).

With a single life pension,   you can choose a lifetime monthly pension payment with a guarantee period of 5, 10 or 15 years. The following formulas are used to calculate your pension based on a single life pension guaranteed for 10 years:
 

Retiring before the normal retirement age

If you retire before October 1, 2019, we calculate your pension using the following formulas:

  • #1 for pensionable service earned before April 1, 2018
  • #3 for pensionable service earned on and after April 1, 2018

If you retire on or after October 1, 2019, we calculate your pension using the following formulas:

  • #1 for pensionable service earned before April 1, 2006
  • #2 for pensionable service earned between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2018, inclusive
  • #3 for pensionable service earned on and after April 1, 2018

Formula #1 – includes the bridge benefit

Basic lifetime pension formula with bridge benefit

Formula #2 –  includes the bridge benefit 

basic lifetime pension formula for pensionable service April 1, 2006 to March 31, 2018

Formula #3 – no bridge benefit 

basic lifetime pension calculation, no bridge benefit post April 1, 2018

Retiring at or after the normal retirement age

If you retire before October 1, 2019, we calculate your pension using the following formulas:

  • #4 for pensionable service earned before April 1, 2018
  • #3 for pensionable service earned on and after April 1, 2018

If you retire on or after October 1, 2019, we calculate your pension using the following formulas:

  • #4 for pensionable service earned before April 1, 2006
  • #5 for pensionable service earned between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2018, inclusive
  • #3 for pensionable service earned on and after April 1, 2018

Formula #4

Basic lifetime pension formula

Formula #5 

basic lifetime pension formula April 1, 2006 to March 31, 2018

Factors that affect your monthly pension payment

These basic pension formulas are based on a single life pension option. The actual monthly pension payment you receive will depend on several other factors, including:

  • Your age when you retire, which may result in a reduced pension
  • The pension option you choose
  • The premiums you pay for health coverage through the group benefit plan
  • Any legally required deductions, such as income tax
After you retire, your monthly pension payment may increase if there is an annual inflation adjustment. This adjustment may be added to your pension and, if applicable, your bridge benefit and the temporary annuity portion of your pension, to help them 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 and the funds available in the inflation adjustment account of BC’s Public Service Pension Plan.

Once an inflation adjustment has been granted, it becomes part of your lifetime pension for all subsequent years.

 

Page last updated: April 27, 2018


Calculating your reduced pension

If you decide to retire early and do not meet the criteria for an unreduced pension (as noted below), your pension will be reduced. For pensionable service before April 1, 2018, the bridge benefit will also be proportionately reduced.

The reduction amount is based on a combination of your:

  • Age when you leave your job
  • Contributory service  
  • Age when you start receiving your pension

Reductions are pro-rated by month for partial years.

For pensionable service earned on and after April 1, 2018

The rule of 85 (unreduced early retirement if your age plus years of contributory service equals at least 85) applies to service earned before April 1, 2018, and all your years of contributory service (before, on and after April 1, 2018) will be used to calculate your eligibility. 

6.2 per cent reduction

Your pension will be reduced by 6.2 per cent for each year you are under age 60, if you have two or more years of contributory service.

Your pension will be reduced by 6.2 per cent for each year you are under age 65, if you have fewer than two years of contributory service.

For pensionable service earned before April 1, 2018

3.0 per cent reduction

Your pension will be reduced by 3.0 per cent for each year that the sum of your age plus years of contributory service is less than 85 if you meet the following age and service criteria:

  • You are at least age 50 (45 for members working in designated public safety occupations) when you leave your job
  • You have at least 10 years of contributory service

Your pension will be reduced by 3.0 per cent for each year that:

  • You are under age 60 (55)
  • The sum of your age plus years of contributory service is less than 85

5.0 per cent reduction

If you do not meet the age and service criteria for a 3.0 per cent reduction, your pension will be reduced by 5.0 per cent for each year that:

  • You are under age 60 (55)
  • The sum of your age plus years of contributory service is less than 85

If you are 55 (50) and have less than two years of service, your pension will be reduced by five per cent for each year you are under age 65 (60).

Public safety employees

If you are a full-time ambulance paramedic who is a member of CUPE Local 873, different retirement rules apply.

Plan changes effective April 1, 2018, do not apply to this group; however, similar changes will apply in future.

Changes effective October 1, 2019, will apply to this group. See Board Communique: March 16, 2018 for more information.

If you work in both a public safety role and a general public service role either at the same time or at different times, your reduction will be calculated separately for each role and applied to a single pension. Your normal retirement age will continue to be based on your employee group at retirement.

If you left your employer before September 30, 2015, contact the plan as different rules may apply.

 

Page last updated: April 27, 2018


Naming beneficiaries


Your pension is a secure lifetime source of income after you retire. In addition to the financial security it provides you, your pension may also provide financial care for your beneficiaries after your death. Your beneficiaries   can be family members, friends, charities or organizations that are important to you.
 

If you die before you retire, BC's Public Service Pension Plan will pay a death benefit to your beneficiary(ies).

If you die after you retire, the plan may pay a death benefit to your beneficiary(ies) based on the pension option you chose when you retired.

The beneficiary(ies) you name while you are working are entitled to a portion of your pension if you die before retirement. When you apply for your pension, you can name the same beneficiary(ies) or different ones.

It’s a good idea to talk with an estate planner, lawyer or financial adviser to determine the best choice for you when it comes to naming beneficiaries.

There are two default beneficiaries: your spouse and your estate.

Your spouse

Your spouse is automatically your beneficiary when you die. Your spouse is the person you are married to or have been in a common-law relationship with for a continuous period of more than two years.

Your spouse can choose to give up their right to the death benefit they would normally receive when you die by signing a waiver.

If you do not have a spouse, or if your spouse has given up their right to a death benefit, you can name other people, charities or organizations as your beneficiaries.

You can also name a trust as your beneficiary. This is helpful if your beneficiary is a minor at the time of your death or is not able to manage their own finances.

You can also name one or more alternate beneficiaries for each beneficiary. This means that if a beneficiary dies before you, the alternate beneficiary(ies) will receive the death benefit when you die. 

Your estate

If you do not have a spouse and have not named a beneficiary, your estate is automatically your beneficiary when you die. Your executor will be responsible for distributing the death benefit. If you do not have a legal will, someone must apply to the courts to administer your estate.

You can also name your estate as your beneficiary. The death benefit will then be paid to your estate and distributed according to the instructions in your will.

Sign in to My Account to view your current beneficiary information.

If you are a member of more than one pension plan administered by BC Pension Corporation, you need to submit a separate beneficiary nomination form for each plan.


Preparing for retirement


About a year before you plan to stop working, it’s a good idea to begin preparing for retirement – gathering together some of the documents you’ll need when you apply for your pension and taking the time to decide which pension option is best for you.

One year before you retire

□ Sign in to My Account and use the personalized pension estimator to explore your pension options

□ Consider who you want to name as the primary beneficiary for your pension; if you are married or in a common-law relationship, your spouse is automatically your primary beneficiary

□ Consider who you want to name as alternate beneficiary(ies)

□ If you are separated from a former spouse and they have a claim to a portion of your pension, submit your complete, signed separation agreement or registered court order to the plan so we know how to divide your pension benefit

□ Apply to transfer your service from another pension plan, if applicable

□ Apply to buy service for an approved leave, if applicable

□ Talk with an independent financial adviser to determine which pension option is best for you and your situation

□ Submit documents to BC's Public Service Pension Plan to confirm your age and identity and, if applicable, your spouse’s age and identity

□ If you have changed your name, submit documents to the plan to show proof of your new legal name

□ If you have not yet informed the plan that you are married or in a common-law relationship, update your personal information in My Account

□ Contact Service Canada for information about your eligibility and the application process for Canada Pension Plan and old age security benefits

90 days before your pension effective date

The earliest you can submit your pension application is 90 days before your pension effective date (the date you will start receiving your pension). We encourage you to apply for your pension as soon as you are eligible to do so, and no later than 30 days before your pension effective date.

Sign in to My Account to apply for your pension online.


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