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How the Canada Pension Plan can work for you

When you retire, you can access the Canada Pension Plan if you've made at least one contribution that was deducted from your paycheck. This plan is in place to make sure everyone who contributed has a chance to receive an income after retirement. It can supplement your part-time income or be your entire retirement income depending on how your plan works out.

How much will you receive if you've paid into the plan?

How much you'll receive is based on how much you've contributed to the plan and for how long. The age you retire also impacts your payments, so you may want to talk to your lawyer about the age that is best for you. There are advantages and disadvantages to retiring at 60, for instance, instead of 70, but it's up to you to decide if taking less money is worth retiring earlier.

When is the earliest you can claim benefits from the plan?

The earliest you are legally allowed to retire and receive a pension is age 60. If you want to retire earlier, you can, but you will not receive a pension until you apply and qualify after the age of 60.

Can you calculate how much you'll get through these benefits?

One way to calculate how much you may receive is to look at the Canadian Retirement Income Calculator. You can also request a kit to do so online. On Service Canada, you can also access your CPP Statement of Contributions, so you can see how much you've contributed over time, which can help you and your lawyer decide if now is the time to apply.

Source: Government of Canada, "The Canada Pension Plan and Your Retirement," accessed July 06, 2016

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