Death after retirement

If you die after you’ve retired from NHS (Scotland) and started taking benefits from your NHS (Scotland) Superannuation Scheme, your surviving dependents still qualify for valuable benefits. Their exact entitlement will depend on which section (or sections) holds your benefits.

Important notes

Lump sum payments

If you die within five years of retirement, a tax-free balancing lump sum, known as a ‘deficiency payment’, will normally be payable to a surviving spouse, civil partner or nominated partner or to someone else you’ve nominated using the Death Grant Nomination Form. The method of calculating the lump sum is detailed in each section below.

Lump sums may be subject to Inheritance Tax if they’re not paid to your spouse, civil partner or qualifying partner. If no beneficiary is nominated and you do not have a spouse, registered civil partner or qualifying partner, the lump sum is paid to your estate.

A lump sum death benefit must be paid within two years of a member’s death being notified to SPPA or it’s subject to a tax charge in line with HMRC instructions.

Children’s pensions

To qualify for a child’s pension in any of the NHS sections or schemes, a dependent child must be born within 12 months of the date the member leaves pensionable employment.

1995 Section

Lump sum deficiency payment

Any deficiency payment is calculated as the lesser of:

  • 5 x the member’s annual pension less any pension already paid; or
  • 2 x actual pensionable pay at time of death less any retirement lump sum originally received.

Short-term survivor pensions

If no child allowance is payable, an initial short-term survivor’s pension will be payable for a period of three months at a rate equivalent to your pension at your date of death. If a child’s allowance is payable, the short-term pension will be due for a period of six months.

Long-term survivor pensions

After the initial period, adult survivor’s pensions are paid for life. Children's pensions are normally payable to dependent children until the age of 17 unless the child remains in full-time education. Children who are permanently disabled at the time of the member’s death may be entitled to receive a pension for life if approved by our medical advisers. Survivor pensions are paid at the following rates:

Surviving widow: 50% of your pension before commutation or any reduction for early payment. (Commutation is giving up an amount of pension payable in retirement in exchange for a lump sum.)

Widower/Civil Partner/Nominated Partner: 50% of your pension before commutation based on your membership from 6th April 1988 only. Any female service before this date will not be taken into account.

Single dependent child: 25% of the originating pension.

More than one eligible child: 50% of the originating pension shared equally between the children.

If there’s no surviving spouse, the children’s pension is payable at a rate of 33.33% of the member’s pension if there is one child, or an equal share of 66.66% if there are two or more dependent children.

Full details of the child eligibility criteria for member service before 1 April 2008 details can be found in Notes for Guidance of the Application for Award of Dependant's Allowance (AW9).

2008 Section

Lump sum deficiency payment

Any deficiency payment is calculated as the lesser of:

  • 5 x the member’s annual pension less any pension already paid; or
  • 2 x actual reckonable pay at time of death less any retirement lump sum originally received.

Short-term survivor pensions

If no child allowance is payable, an initial short-term survivor’s pension will be payable for a period of three months at a rate equivalent to your pension at your date of death. If a child’s allowance is payable, the short-term pension will be due for a period of six months.

Long-term survivor pensions

After the initial period, adult survivor’s pensions are paid for life. A pension will normally be payable to a dependent child until the age of 23. Children who are permanently disabled at the time of the member’s death may be entitled to receive a pension for life if approved by our medical advisers. Survivor pensions are paid at the following rates:

Surviving spouse/civil partner/nominated partner: 37.5% of your pension before commutation or any reduction for early payment. (Commutation is giving up an amount of pension payable in retirement in exchange for a lump sum.)

Single dependent child: 18.75% of your pension.

More than one eligible child: 37.5% of your pension shared equally between your children.

2015 Scheme

Lump sum deficiency payment

Any deficiency payment is calculated as the lesser of:

  • 5 x the member’s annual pension less any pension already paid; or the best of either:
  • 2 x best full scheme year revalued pensionable earnings; or
  • 2 x last 365 days’ actual remuneration.

Short-term survivor pensions

If no child allowance is payable, an initial short-term survivor’s pension will be payable for a period of three months at a rate equivalent to your pension at your date of death. If a child’s allowance is payable, the short-term pension will be due for a period of six months.

Long-term survivor pensions

After the initial period, adult survivor’s pensions are paid for life. A pension will normally be payable to a dependent child until the age of 23. Children who are permanently disabled at the time of the member’s death may be entitled to receive a pension for life if approved by our medical advisers. Survivor pensions are paid at the following rates:

Surviving spouse/civil partner/nominated partner: 33.75% of your pension before commutation or any reduction for early payment. (Commutation is giving up an amount of pension payable in retirement in exchange for a lump sum.)

Single dependent child: 16.875% of the originating pension.

More than one eligible child: 33.75% of the originating pension shared equally between the children. If there is no surviving spouse, the children’s pension will be payable at a rate of 22.5% for one child or 45% shared equally if there are two or more dependent children.

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