Dependant benefits

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

Dependants' pensions may be payable after you die. The benefits are different for retirements before and after 1 April 2008.

Your retirement letter showed a partner's pension which was relevant to your circumstances at the time. However, if you entered into a relationship after your leaving date, the benefits payable to your new spouse/partner may be difference. Please let us know if you marry or enter into a civil partnership.

Dependants' pensions are not always based on all your scheme membership. For example:

  • if you entered into a relationship after you left employment,
  • if you purchased additional pension without survivor's benefits,
  • in some cases, where service was awarded in respect of either an ill health enhancement or Compensatory Added Years.

The regulations for dependant's pensions are those which applied when you left the LGPS, rather than when you claim your pension.

For retirements with a leaving date on or after 1 April 2008

If you die after retiring on pension, a pension will be payable to your:

  • spouse/civil partner
  • eligible co-habiting partner
  • eligible children.

A spouses pension is normally 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 an eligible partner's pension is equal to 1/160th of your final pay times your membership in the scheme after 5 April 1988 (unless you have previously paid extra contributions to include all your membership).

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 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, but not additional membership you purchased, or which was granted by your employer.
For retirements with a leaving date before 1 April 2008

If you die after retiring on pension, a pension may be payable to your:

  • spouse/civil partner,
  • eligible children.

A lump sum death grant may be payable if you die in the first five years of receiving a 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 of civil partner will receive a short and long-term pension in the same way as a widow. However:

  • for a widower whose wife left the scheme before 1 April 1998, the pension will be based on their wife's total membership from 6 April 1988,
  • for a widower or civil partner whose wife/civil partner left the scheme after 31 March 1988, the pension will be based on their wife's total membership after March 1972 only or civil partner's total membership from 6 April 1988 only.

A death grant lump sum can only be paid 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.
Eligible child

 An eligible child is:

  • a natural child born within 12 months of the member's death, or
  • an adopted child born before or on the date of the member's death, or
  • a step-child or a child accepted by the deceased member as a member of the family who was dependent on the member at the date of death.

A child sponsored by the member through a registered charity is not eligible.

In addition, eligible children must also meet the following conditions:

  • be under age 18, or
  • be aged 18 or over and under 23 and in full-time education or vocational training, or
  • be unable to engage in gainful employment (*) because of physical or mental impairment and either:
    • has not reached the age of 23, or
    • the impairment is, in the opinion of an independent registered medical practitioner, likely to be permanent and the child was dependent on you at the date of your death because of that mental or physical impairment.

(*) Gainful employment means paid employment for not less than 30 hours in each week for a period of not less than 12 months.

How long are dependants' pensions payable?
  • A spouse's/civil partner's pension is payable for life.
  • Children's pensions are payable for as long as your children remain eligible after your death. Please note, that a child's pension may be reduced if your child is receiving pay whilst in full time training for a trade, profession or vocation.
  • A pension payable to a disabled child who is eligible 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 1998 and 31 March 2008, are under age 75 and have been receiving your pension for less than 5 years,
  • if you are under age 75, left the scheme before 1 April 1998 and your pension came into payment at a later date, it is possible that a death grant will be payable.

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 (so it does not count for inheritance tax purposes).

For these tax advantages to apply, your pension fund must retain absolute discretion as to the distribution of the death grant. For this reason, although your pension provider 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