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How the Canada Pension Plan works for individuals

The Canada Pension Plan is a retirement pension that can be accessed by those who have paid into it for a long enough time. Normally, you can access this benefit when you reach 65 years of age. If you've worked less because of having children or other circumstances, you may be able to get a stipend that increases the amount of your benefit overall.

You can take the retirement benefit early as a reduced benefit; for that, you can access retirement at 60. This is particularly beneficial for those who are injured or who need to retire sooner due to job reductions or other concerns.

There are a few things to consider before you take your retirement pension. First, your age will affect how much you can receive each month. Second, you'll want to think about how much you paid into the plan and how long you've been making payments. Consider the effect retiring will have on your personal savings accounts and investments, and make sure you're aware of the kind of retirement you want. Retirement planning is more common today than ever before, and it can help you make sure you are financially stable as an aging adult.

One you are ready to retire, you need to make sure you're eligible for the pension. You must apply for the pension, because it doesn't start automatically when you reach 65.

To be legally entitled to the plan, you need to be one month past your 59th birthday, paid into the plan at least once and work in Canada. Once you apply, your benefits may start within the year, so make sure you want them to begin.

Source: Government of Canada, "Canada Pension Plan - Eligibility," accessed May 12, 2016

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