The CPP post-retirement benefit – deciding whether to continue contributing

September 18, 2022by Akmin

Transitioning into retirement is a complex process, one which involves decisions around finances (present and future) as well as one’s way of life. While it was once typical for an individual to work full time until retiring (usually at age 65), the word “retirement” no longer has a single meaning – in fact, it’s now the case that almost every individual’s retirement plans look at little different than anyone else’s. Some will take a traditional retirement of moving from a full-time job into not working at all, while others may stay working full-time past the traditional retirement age of 65. Still others will leave full-time employment, but continue to work part-time, either out of financial need or simply from a desire to stay active and engaged in the work force.

The flexible nature of retirement plans is reflected in changes made over the past decade to Canada’s government-run retirement income programs, particularly the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). It’s possible to begin receiving CPP benefits as early as age 60 and as late as age 70, with the amount of benefit increasing with each month that receipt of benefits is deferred. Many Canadians now choose to begin receiving their CPP benefits while continuing to participate in the work force, part-time or full-time.

At one time, beginning to receive CPP retirement benefits meant that, even for those who chose to remain in the work force, no further CPP contributions were allowed. In 2012 that changed, with the introduction of the CPP Post-Retirement Benefit. The availability of that benefit means that those who are aged 65 to 70 and continue to work while receiving CPP retirement benefits must decide whether or not to continue making CPP contributions. Such individuals who make the choice to continue to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan will see an increase in the amount of CPP retirement benefit they receive each month for the remainder of their lives. That increase is the CPP post-retirement benefit or PRB.

The rules governing the availability of the PRB differ, depending on the age of the taxpayer. In a nutshell, an individual who has chosen to begin receiving the CPP retirement benefit but who continues to work will be subject to the following rules:

  • Individuals who are 60 to 65 years of age and continue to work are required to continue making CPP contributions.
  • Individuals who are 65 to 70 years of age and continue to work can choose not to make CPP contributions. To stop contributing, such an individual must fill out form A copy of that form must be given to the individual’s employer and the original sent to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). An individual who has more than one employer must make the same choice (to continue to contribute or to cease contributions) for all employers and must provide a copy of the CPT30 form to each employer.

A decision to stop contributing can be changed, and contributions resumed, but only one such change can be made per calendar year. To make that change, the individual must complete section D of CRA form, give one copy of the form to their employer(s), and send the original to the CRA

  • Individuals who are over the age of 70 and are still working cannot contribute to the CPP.

Overall, the effect of the rules is that CPP retirement benefit recipients who are still working and who are under aged 65, as well as those who are between 65 and 70 and choose not to opt out, will continue to make contributions to the CPP system and will continue therefore to earn new credits under that system. As a result, the amount of CPP retirement benefits which they are entitled to will increase with each successive year’s contributions.

Where an individual makes CPP contributions while working and receiving CPP retirement benefits, the amount of any CPP post-retirement benefit earned will automatically be calculated by the federal government (no application is required), and the individual will be advised of any increase in their monthly CPP retirement benefit each year. The PRB will be paid to that individual automatically the year after the contributions are made, effective January 1 of that second year. Since the federal government doesn’t have all of the information needed to make such calculations until T4s and T4 summaries are filed by the employer by the end of February, the first PRB payment is usually made in a lump sum amount in the month of April. That lump sum amount represents the PRB payable from January to April. Thereafter, the PRB is paid monthly and combined with the individual’s usual CPP retirement benefit in a single payment.

While the rules governing the PRB can seem complex (and certainly the actuarial calculations are), the individual doesn’t have to concern him or herself with those technical details. For CPP retirement benefit recipients who are under age 65 or over 70, there is no decision to be made. For the former, CPP contributions will be automatically deducted from their paycheques and for the latter, no such contributions are allowed.

Individuals in the middle group – aged 65 to 70 – will need to make a decision about whether it makes sense, in their individual circumstances, to continue making contributions to the CPP.

While every situation is different, there are some general rules of thumb which will be useful in determining whether or not to continue making contributions to the CPP. Generally speaking, continuing to contribute makes the most sense for individuals whose current CPP retirement pension is significantly less than the maximum allowable benefit (which is, for 2022, $1,253.59 per month), as making such contributions will mean an increase in the individual’s CPP retirement benefit each month for the rest of his or her life. Conversely, for individuals who are already receiving the maximum CPP retirement benefit, or even close to it, there is likely little or no benefit to be derived from continuing to contribute (especially for those who are self-employed and must therefore pay both the employer and employee contribution amounts).

More information on the PRB generally is available on the CRA website at

The information presented is only of a general nature, may omit many details and special rules, is current only as of its published date, and accordingly cannot be regarded as legal or tax advice. Please contact our office for more information on this subject and how it pertains to your specific tax or financial situation.