Survivor Benefits – Are you eligible?

27 June 2022
This article was published before the transition to the new Plan Administrator, Canada Life. If you have any questions, contact the PSHCP Member Contact Centre at 1-855-415-4414 (toll-free anywhere in North America) or 1-431-489-4064 (call collect if you are outside North America).

In the event that a Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) member passes away, PSHCP coverage is not automatically transferred to their dependants.

A surviving spouse, or eligible children, may apply for coverage under the PSHCP. Children, including full-time students who are between 21 and 25 years of age, and are enrolled in full-time post-secondary studies, may apply as members if they are the only survivor, or they can be listed as a dependant on the application of the surviving spouse.

There are a few steps that should be thoroughly followed in order to apply for survivor coverage under the PSHCP. Eligible survivors must:

  • Send the members’ death certificate to the Government of Canada Pension Centre. The centre is open Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm (local time). Toll free in Canada: 1-800-561-7930. Outside Canada and the United States: 506-533-5800 (collect calls accepted) Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (Atlantic Time).
  • Complete the Pensioner Application Form, which they can obtain from the Compensation Advisor responsible for the file of the deceased plan member, or from the Pension Centre appropriate to their employer, or at Applicants must also choose the appropriate level of coverage (single/family and hospital) before sending the form.
  • If approved for PSHCP coverage as a survivor, they must complete positive enrolment. This process can be done online on the Sun Life Member Services website. To request a paper positive enrolment form, they must call the Sun Life Call Centre, which is open Monday to Friday, 6:30 am to 8:00 pm (EST). Toll free anywhere in North America: 1-888-757-7427. In the National Capital Region: 613-247-5100.

If the application is submitted within 60 days of the member’s death and the survivor’s eligibility is confirmed, coverage will begin the first day of the month following the month the application is received. If the application is not received within 60 days, there will be a three-month waiting period. Coverage then continues for as long as the survivor remains entitled to an ongoing public service pension benefit or child allowance and the required contributions are paid.

If the deceased member was living outside of Canada at the time of death, eligible survivors may continue Comprehensive coverage for up to six months. Survivors may also obtain Supplementary coverage on their return to Canada, once their provincial or territorial health care coverage is reinstated.

Good to know. Even if the deceased member was not a member of the PSHCP, eligible survivors can apply for the PSHCP in their own right.