Income from a defined contribution plan
A defined contribution pension plan does not usually "pay a pension". Generally the amount credited to the member is transferred to a life income fund (LIF) from which income can be drawn or to an insurer for the purchase of a life annuity. In the case of an annuity, the member can begin receiving payments immediately or at a latter date, as desired.
Transfers are subject to certain conditions.
Payment of a pension by the pension plan
A member can apply to the plan administrator for payment of a pension based on the amount credited to the member's account, the choices and options available depend mainly on the member's age, conjugal status and financial situation. Those factors may affect the amount of the pension.
The pension plan must provide various types of pensions (early pension, deferred pension, etc.) depending on a member's age and the normal retirement age under the plan.
The plan provides various forms of pensions (60% joint and survivor pension, pension with a 10-year guarantee, etc..). Some of these forms provide protection for the member's surviving spouse, others may take increases in the cost of living into account, etc.