Steps to Retirement

How to Start Your Pension
So you've decided to retire. Congratulations! If you are wondering what steps to take, you've come to the right place! This page describes what you need to do in order to start receiving your LAPP pension. There is also a printable Retirement Checklist for your convenience.

We are assuming that you have already done a little preparation before coming to this page, such as getting some pension estimates done to help you pick a date to retire. If you have not done so yet, you may want to take a look at the Thinking of Retiring section first.


Confirm Your Personal Details
Visit mypensionplan.ca or contact us to confirm or update your personal information. If anything here is incorrect or out of date, the retirement process may be delayed. Also, some of that information is used to figure out how much pension you will receive. If the information is not correct, the pension estimate will not be correct either.

Confirm such information as:

  • Your address and contact information
  • Date of birth (both yours and your spouse or partner's)
  • Marital status and pension partner information. If you have begun a common-law relationship, became married, separated or divorced, contact us directly

Your address and contact details can be updated online, and date of birth documents can be submitted through the Secure Mailbox; we can assist you with any other needed changes.


Pick a Retirement Date
We are assuming here that you already have some idea of when you want to start your pension. If you haven't, there are some tips and tools for picking a date in the Thinking of Retiring section.

You can start your pension as soon as you turn 55, or as late as the end of the year you turn 71. You do not have to retire on your birthday or a work anniversary.

If you are still contributing to LAPP, talk to your employer's Human Resources or Payroll & Benefits staff about choosing a retirement date. They can let you know how best to deal with things like vacation time you may still have, payroll periods and other factors that could affect the date you end up choosing.

If you are not currently working for a LAPP employer, you can pick whatever date you like (provided it is on or after your 55th birthday!) to start your pension. Please send your Retirement Application to us directly.

Buybacks - If you have been on a leave of absence during the year you retire, or have any gaps in your time working while a member of LAPP, you may be interested in buying the service you missed. You need to apply to purchase these kinds of leaves within 30 days of your last day of work.

If you are already paying for a buyback of service, or plan to make a buyback, you must complete payment in full within 90 days of your termination date (your last paid day of work) or you will only receive the amount of pensionable service you have already paid for.


Complete Retirement Application
Two to three months before the date you want your pension to begin, you will want to complete your Retirement Application. We want you to receive your first payment within 30 days of starting your pension, and getting your application on time helps that to happen!

If you are working for a LAPP employer, fill out a paper Retirement Application form from your employer or our website and give it to your employer. There is a section of the form which your employer needs to complete before it is sent to LAPP.

If you are not working for a LAPP employer when you are planning to retire, fill out a paper Retirement Application form. The form can be sent directly to us (by mail, fax or Secure Mailbox) and you can contact us if you have any questions.

Submit copies of your proof of age, as well as your spouse or partner's proof of age, if you have not already done so. These can be sent through mail, fax or Secure Mailbox.

These are the proof of age documents you can use:

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  • Birth certificate
  • Baptismal papers
  • Adoption papers
  • Canadian registration of birth
  • Canadian passport
  • Canadian citizenship papers
  • Certificate of Indian Status (status card)
  • Canadian driver's licence
  • Alberta identification card

If none of those is available, we accept two of the following:

  • Marriage records
  • School records
  • Military records
  • Foreign passport
  • Age of Majority card
  • Statutory declaration
  • Canadian immigration papers

Contact us if you have any questions about valid date of birth documents.


Choose Your Pension Option
Your pension will be calculated and you will be sent a Retirement Benefit Statement. You will want to review this package carefully because once your benefit begins being paid to you, you cannot change the pension option you have chosen.

Fill out the forms noted in the package and provide any documents that are requested. You may wish to contact an accountant to consider the tax implications of your LAPP pension income.

If you need help understanding your Retirement Benefit Statement, you can contact us. You can also register for a one-on-one information session through mypensionplan.ca.


What Else Do I Need?
Consider setting up direct deposit of your pension to your Canadian bank account. To do this, submit a Request for Direct Deposit form or void cheque through the Secure Mailbox on mypensionplan.ca, or by mail or fax to us.


What If I Change My Mind?
Unforeseen things can happen and plans for one's life can change. If you decide to change the date of your retirement, the pension option you chose, or even to stop the retirement process at any point after you have submitted your Retirement Application form, contact us immediately, before payment commences. You will also want to make your employer aware of this change, if you are still contributing to LAPP.

Once your benefit starts being paid to you, you cannot change your pension option, nor can you stop receiving your pension. You can go back to work, even for a LAPP employer, but you cannot contribute to your LAPP pension anymore.


Timeline

  • Three months before retirement: Fill out retirement package
  • We send you a Retirement Benefit Statement
  • Return completed forms (sooner is better, because you can't be paid before they are received!)
  • So long as you have gotten all your documentation to us before your retirement date, you can expect your first pension payment approximately 30 days afterwards.
  • Your pension is regularly paid on the second last business day of the month (except December, when payment is made before December 25)
  • Retirement Checklist