How do I apply for CPP retirement benefits?

5. Get a decision

After Service Canada reviews your application for  retirement benefits, you’ll get a decision.

If you applied online, you usually get a letter within 2 weeks. If you applied by mail or by delivering your application to a Service Canada office, you usually get a letter within 4 months.

The letter tells you whether you’re eligible for CPP retirement benefits, and, if you are, when you’ll start getting them and how much you’ll get.

If you don’t get a letter within these time lines, contact the CPP.

If Service Canada says you’re eligible

If Service Canada decides that you’re eligible for CPP retirement benefits, you’ll start getting payments, based on what age you applied, for the rest of your life.

Your monthly payment increases each January if the cost of living goes up. But it won’t decrease if the average cost of living in Canada goes down.

You can choose to have your monthly payments go directly into your bank account. Or, you can have a cheque mailed to you near the end of each month.

Your CPP retirement pension is taxable . This means that you have to include it as income on your income tax return and you may have to pay taxes on it.

You can either:

  • ask for the income tax to be taken directly off your CPP payments, or
  • pay the tax, if you owe any, when you file your income tax return.

If Service Canada says you’re not eligible

If you disagree with the decision you get from Service Canada, there are steps you can take.

For example, you might not agree with Service Canada if they say you’re not eligible for CPP retirement benefits. Or you might not agree with the amount that they say you can get.

The first step is to ask Service Canada to review their decision. This is called a request for reconsideration. You must do this within 90 days of getting the decision in writing.

Read more in I don’t agree with a decision about my CPP retirement pension. What can I do?

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