Death benefits for deferred members

If you’ve left your section of the NHS pension scheme with a minimum of two years’ qualifying service your survivors will be entitled to benefits when you die. These benefits will depend on when you die relative to when you left your NHS employment. Benefits include:

Lump sum payments

These are normally payable to a surviving spouse, civil partner or qualifying partner or to someone you’ve nominated using the Death Grant Nomination Form. The lump sum may be subject to Inheritance Tax if it’s not paid to your spouse, civil partner or qualifying partner. If no beneficiary is nominated and you don’t have a spouse, civil partner or qualifying partner, the lump sum is paid to your estate.

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

Children’s pensions

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

Long-term survivor pensions

These are paid for life to a surviving spouse, civil partner or qualifying partner.

1995 Section

Lump sum payment

A surviving spouse will be entitled to a lump sum payment equal to 3x the value of the non-commuted annual pension that would have been payable had this been claimed.

Long-term survivor pension

If your death is within 12 months of leaving the scheme with benefits preserved, your dependent survivors can claim:

Widow: a long term pension equal to 50% of the notional upper-tier ill health pension that would have been payable at the date of retirement.

Widowers, nominated partners or civil partners: a long term pension equal to 50% of your preserved notional upper-tier ill health pension based on pensionable service from 6 April 1988 only. Any female service before this date will not be taken into account.

Children: an allowance may be payable at a rate equivalent to 25% of the notional upper tier ill health pension payable per child, or 50% of the pension shared equally if there are two or more dependent children.

If there is no surviving spouse, one child is entitled to 33.33% of the notional upper tier pension payable, or 66.66% shared equally if there are two or more dependent children

If your death is 12 months or more after leaving scheme with benefits preserved, your dependent survivors can claim:

Widow: a long term pension equal to 50% of your preserved pension (no enhancement is payable).

Widowers, nominated partners or civil partners: a long term pension equal to 50% of your pension with no enhancement payable and based on pensionable service from 6 April 1988 only. Any female service before this date will not be taken into account.

Children: an allowance may be payable at a rate equivalent to 25% of the preserved pension per child, or 50% of the pension shared equally if there are two or more dependent children. No enhancement is payable.

If there is no surviving spouse, one child is entitled to 33.33% of the preserved pension, or 66.66% shared equally if there are two or more children.

Children's pensions are normally payable to dependent children until the age of 17 unless the child remains in full-time education. However, if the child is incapable of earning a living through permanent physical or mental infirmity from which he or she was suffering at the time the member died, the child’s pension may continue to be paid indefinitely if this has been approved by our medical advisor.

Full details of the child eligibility criteria for member service before 1 April 2008 can be found here.

2008 Section

Lump sum payment

Surviving spouse will be entitled to a lump sum payment equal to 2.25x the value of the non-commuted annual pension that would have been payable had this been claimed.

Long-term survivor pension

If your death is within 12 months of leaving the scheme with benefits preserved, your dependent survivors can claim:

Spouse/civil partner/nominated partner: a long term pension equal to 37.5% of the notional upper-tier ill health pension that would have been payable at the date of leaving NHS employment.

Children: an allowance may be payable at a rate equivalent to a 18.75% of the notional upper tier ill health pension payable per child, or 37.5% of the pension shared equally if there are two or more dependent children.

If there is no surviving spouse, one child is entitled to a 25% of the notional upper tier pension payable, or 50% shared equally if there are two or more dependent children.

If your death is 12 months or more after leaving scheme with benefits preserved, your dependent survivors can claim:

Widow: a long term pension equal to 50% of your preserved pension (no enhancement is payable).

Widowers, nominated partners or civil partners: a long term pension equal to 37.5% of your pension with no enhancement payable.

Children: an allowance may be payable at a rate equivalent to a 18.75% of the preserved pension per child, or 37.5% of the pension shared equally if there are two or more dependent children.No enhancement is payable.

If there is no surviving spouse, one child is entitled to 25% of the preserved pension, or 50% shared equally if there are two or more dependent children.

Children’s pensions are normally only payable to dependent children under the age of 23. However, if the child is incapable of earning a living through permanent physical or mental infirmity from which he or she was suffering at the time the member died, the child’s pension may continue to be paid indefinitely if this has been approved by our medical advisor.

2015 scheme

Lump sum payment

Surviving spouse will be entitled to a lump sum payment equal to 2.025x the value of the non-commuted annual pension that would have been payable had this been claimed.

Long-term survivor pension

If your death is within 12 months of leaving the scheme with benefits preserved, your dependent survivors can claim:

Spouse/civil partner/nominated partner: a long term pension equal to 33.75% of the notional upper-tier ill health pension that would have been payable at the date of leaving NHS employment.

Children: an allowance may be payable at a rate equivalent to a 16.875% of the notional upper tier ill health pension payable per child, or 33.75% of the pension shared equally if there are two or more dependent children.

If there is no surviving spouse, one child is entitled to a 22.5% of the notional upper tier pension payable, or 45% shared equally if there are two or more dependent children.

If your death is 12 months or more after leaving scheme with benefits preserved, your dependent survivors can claim:

Spouse/civil partner/nominated partner: a long term pension equal to 33.75% of your preserved pension (no enhancement is payable).

Children: an allowance may be payable at a rate equivalent to a 16.875% of the preserved pension per child, or 33.75% of the pension shared equally if there are two or more dependent children. No enhancement is payable.

If there is no surviving spouse, one child is entitled to 22.5% of the preserved pension, or 45% shared equally if there are two or more dependent children.

Children’s pensions are normally only payable to dependent children under the age of 23. However, if the child is incapable of earning a living through permanent physical or mental infirmity from which he or she was suffering at the time the member died, the child’s pension may continue to be paid indefinitely if this has been approved by our medical advisor.

Death of a recent leaver with less than 2 years’ qualifying membership

If a member dies within 12 months of leaving the scheme but has not accrued enough pensionable membership or had a refund of scheme contributions, no survivor’s pension is payable, however a surviving spouse or qualifying partner may receive a lump sum.

Death of a recent leaver with more than 2 years’ qualifying membership

If a member dies within 12 months of leaving the scheme and has more than 2 years’ service, there will be no short term survivor’s pension payable, however a surviving spouse or qualifying partner may be eligible to receive a long-term partner’s pension and a one-off lump sum.

Marriage after leaving NHS employment – all sections

For members who marry after retirement the benefits payable will be no different to those outlined above unless you are a male who was previously a member of the NHS 1995 section and has pensionable service before 6 April 1978. In this case, the potential widow’s pension will only be based on service after this date.

The only exception to this is if you have remarried the same person you were married to before leaving pensionable NHS service. In this rare situation benefits will be based on all your pensionable service.

Contact us

It’s important to notify SPPA of a member’s death as soon as possible both to begin a claim for survivor benefits and to avoid overpaying any pension that’s already being paid. Please provide the following details when you contact SPPA following the death of a scheme member:

  • Member Name
  • Pension reference numbers (Payroll ref. / Superannuation / National Insurance number)
  • Date of Death
  • Details of any surviving spouse or partner and any dependent children
  • Name and address of solicitor or executor handling estate.

We’ll ask for a photocopy of the full death certificate for our records which can be posted or emailed to us.

For scheme members who die in service, the employing authority’s HR department will contact any surviving family to arrange completion of the application form to claim any death benefits payable.

Following the death of a pensioner or a deferred member, once we’re informed of their death, we’ll close their record to prevent any further payments being made. Once our final processes have been completed, our Payroll team will advise the solicitor or executor about any payments due to the estate or recoverable overpayment.

If there’s a surviving spouse or other dependants, we’ll issue the form required for us to calculate any death benefits payable. Additional documents which should be provided along with this form include:

  • Marriage / Civil Partnership Certificate
  • Spouse / Dependent children’s birth certificates
  • Member’s full death certificate (if it hasn’t already been sent to us).

Contact details

Scottish Public Pensions Agency

7 Tweedside Park

Tweedbank

Galashiels

TD1 3TE

Telephone: 01896 893000

 

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