LAPP People in Your Life banner

Your Spouse or Partner

Your pension partner is how the Plan rules refer to someone you're married to or in a spouse-like relationship with. A pension partner, often referred to as your spouse or partner throughout this site, has special rights when it comes to your pension.

The sections below talk about who can be a pension partner, as well as why it is important to keep LAPP updated if your relationship status changes.

Your Spouse or Partner's Rights Before You Retire

Your spouse or partner receives special protection by law and is automatically your only beneficiary if you pass away before you start your pension. For instance, LAPP will offer a lifetime pension to your spouse or partner if you pass away after you become vested.

Your spouse or partner can waive the right to any survivor benefit if you die before starting your pension. The waiver can be completed or revoked by your spouse or partner at any time, making them the sole designated beneficiary once again.

Watch the Fast Track video

Your Spouse or Partner's Rights After You Retire

When you retire and start your pension, the law requires you to choose a pension option that will pay a lifetime benefit to your spouse or partner if you are the first one to pass away.

There is a Pension Partner Waiver that can be signed at retirement by your spouse or partner to give up the right to that benefit. This can be done in order to allow you to select a Single Lifetime pension option, with or without a guaranteed period. If your spouse or partner signs a Pension Partner Waiver on or after March 1, 2021, and you choose a Single Lifetime pension option with a guaranteed period, your spouse or partner is automatically the sole designated beneficiary of the guaranteed period. Your spouse or partner can also complete a Death Benefit Waiver giving up the right to be the sole beneficiary of the guaranteed period and you can name any beneficiary of the guaranteed period.

Note: If your spouse or partner completed a waiver prior to March 1, 2021, you could select a single lifetime pension option and are able to designate any beneficiary of the guaranteed period.

Who Qualifies as a Pension Partner
  • If You Are Married
    • Your spouse is automatically your pension partner, unless you've been living separate and apart for three or more years.
  • Not Married, but Live Together in a Spouse-Like or Common-Law Relationship
    • Someone you're living with in a spouse-like relationship, sometimes called a common-law relationship, can be your pension partner once you've been living together for three years in a row. This period can be shortened if you have a child, either by birth or adoption, of that relationship.

If you have any questions about your personal situation, you can contact us.

The Difference Between a Spouse or Partner and a Beneficiary

Your spouse or partner is first in line to receive any payment from the Plan should you pass away. If you pass away without a spouse or partner, or if the pension partner death benefits have been waived, your beneficiary(ies) can receive your death benefit.

Beneficiaries cannot, however, get lifetime pension payments. Those rights only apply to your pension partner. For more on beneficiary death benefits, visit our Pension Options page.

When You Should Tell Us About Your Spouse or Partner

Telling us about your spouse or partner is very important when you are first joining LAPP. If you do not have one at that point, it is important to update us if this changes. Also, tell us immediately if you divorce, separate, or re-marry while you are a member, including during retirement.

Definition of Pension Partner

A pension partner is a person who, at the relevant time, is:

1) someone to whom you are married and from whom you have not been living separate and apart for three or more consecutive years; or

2) if no such person exists, someone with whom you have been living in a common-law type relationship:

a) for a continuous period of no less than three years, or
b) of some permanence, if there is a child of the relationship by birth or adoption.

Relationship Breakdown

If you are experiencing a relationship breakdown, your pension benefit may have to be divided between you and your spouse. If you and your partner separate, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can provide you with the necessary paperwork to update your pension partner information. Completing a Pre-Retirement Death Benefit Waiver does not prevent your pension partner from seeking a division of your pension.

I would like more information about relationship breakdown.

Card titled Your Pension is Secure

In This Section

Learn how the LAPP pension fund is professionally managed to provide you with a secure retirement income.


Card Titled Your Lapp Library

In This Section

Try out the LAPP Pension Estimator and access printable forms, member newsletters, annual reports, investment information and more.


Card Titled Your Secure Pension Profile

In This Section

Your Pension Profile allows you to view your information, send documents, and request assistance and more via Secure Messages!