Dependant benefits

If I die in retirement, what happens to my pension?

Dependants' pensions are payable after you die. The benefits are different for retirements before and after 1 April 2008 and may be affected if you were married after your leaving date.

If you left the scheme before the 1 April 2008 but claim your benefits after this date, the regulations are applied as if you retired on or before 31 March 2008.

For retirements on or after 1 April 2008

If you die after retiring on pension, a widow’s, a widower’s, a civil partner’s or a nominated co-habiting partner’s pension and pensions for eligible children are payable.

  • A widow’s or widower’s pension is equal to 1/160th of your final pay times the total membership your pension is based on unless you marry after retirement in which case it could be less.
  • A civil partner’s or a nominated partner’s pension is equal to 1/160th of your final pay times your membership in the scheme after 5 April 1988.
  • A death grant is payable if less than 10 years pension has been paid and you are under age 75 at the date of death, in which case the balance of 10 years of pension is paid as a lump sum.

If you married after your leaving date

  • For a wife, their pension would be based on any pension built up from 6 April 1978.
  • For a husband, their pension would be based on any pension built up from 6 April 1988 excluding additional membership you purchased or which was granted by your employer.
For retirements with a leaving date on or before 31 March 2008

If you die after retiring on pension, a widow’s, a widower’s, a civil partner’s pension and pensions for eligible children are payable. A lump sum death grant may be payable if you die in the first five years on pension.

A widow will receive a short-term pension for the three months after her husband's death, or six months if one or more eligible dependent children are in her care.

This will be equal to the pension that her husband was receiving, or would have received had it not been reduced as a result of early retirement or had it not been paid as a lump sum due to exceptional ill health.

  • After that she will receive a long-term pension generally equal to half her short-term pension.
  • A widower or civil partner will receive a short and long-term pension in the same way as a widow. However, the pension will be based on their wife's total membership after March 1972 only or civil partner’s total membership after April 1988 only.
  • A lump sum death grant is payable if you are under 75 at the date of death, in which case it is five times the annual pension less the pension already paid

If you married after your leaving date

  • For a wife, their pension would be based on any pension built up from 6 April 1978.
  • For a husband, their pension would be based on any pension built up from 6 April 1988 excluding additional membership you purchased or which was granted by your employer.
  • For a civil partner, their pension would be based on any pension built up from 6 April 1988.
Children's pensions

Children’s pensions are payable for so long as your children remain eligible after your death. An eligible child is, at the date of your death:

  • under 17 years old and are wholly or mainly dependent on you
  • over 17 years old but are under the age of 23 years old, dependent on you and in full time education or undertaking vocational training (although a dependent child who commences full-time education or vocational training after the date of your death may still be treated as an eligible child up to age 23)
  • in some cases, a dependent child of any age who is disabled

In all cases an eligible child must be born before or within a year of your death.

Please note, that a child pension may be reduced if your child is receiving pay whilst in full time training for a trade, profession or vocation.

How long are dependants' pensions payable for
  • A widow’s/widower’s/civil partner’s pension is payable for life
  • A child’s pension is payable to age the age of 18. If the child is then in full time education/vocational training it is payable until that child leaves the education, completes training or attains age 23
  • A pension payable to a child who is disabled within the meaning of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 is normally payable for life
Death Grant lump sum

A death grant may be paid if you die after retiring and are in receipt of your pension:

  • if you left the scheme after 31 March 2008, are under age 75 and have been receiving your pension for less than 10 years
  • if you left the scheme between 1 April 1997 and 31 March 2008, are under age 75 and have been receiving your pension for less than five years
  • if you left the scheme before 1 April 1997 and your pension came into payment some time later, it is possible that a death grant will be payable

However, you can use a Death grant expression of wish form to express your wish for any death grant to be paid to a person, persons or organisation (such as a charity).

The main advantage in expressing a wish is that the payment can be made directly to your chosen beneficiary, without forming part of your estate (i.e. it does not count for inheritance tax purposes).

For these tax advantages to apply, the County Council must retain absolute discretion as to the distribution of the death grant. For this reason, although the County Council will have the greatest regard to your wishes, it is not legally bound by them.

The expression of wish form only applies to the death grant lump sum; it does not affect the payment of any pension for any dependants on your death.

Forms