Death in service benefits for actively employed members

If you die while still working for NHS (Scotland) and paying into the NHS (Scotland) Superannuation Scheme, your surviving dependents can claim valuable benefits. Their exact entitlement will depend on which section (or sections) holds your benefits.

Important note for bank staff in all sections

Bank Staff are regarded as being in pensionable employment if they’re at work and paying into the scheme.

So, for example, if you’re contracted to work 9am to 5pm Monday until Wednesday you would only be covered for ‘death in service’ benefits from 9am Monday until 5pm Wednesday.

If, for example, you died on Thursday, regardless of whether you’d be returning to work on the following Monday, you wouldn’t be considered as being in pensionable employment on that day and wouldn’t be eligible for death in service benefits.

Where death in service benefits do apply, they are calculated according to the rules governing the section that holds your membership.

1995 Section

Lump sum payment

There’s no minimum qualifying period for a lump sum to be payable to your spouse, registered civil partner or qualifying partner if you die in service. Additionally, members who have service after 1 April 2008 can nominate someone else to receive this benefit 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.

Full time employees: 2 x your final year’s pensionable pay.

Part-time employees: 2 x your actual earnings.

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

Short-term survivor pensions

An initial survivor pension is paid by your employer for a period of six months from date of death, at a rate equivalent to your monthly pensionable pay/salary that’s in payment at your time of death. A short-term pension of 3 or 6 months may be payable to a child if there’s no adult dependant’s pension payable or if the child is not dependent on the surviving spouse.

Long-term survivor pensions

After the initial period, as long as you have a minimum of two years' qualifying service, adult survivor’s pensions are paid for life. They’re based on the upper tier ill-health pension you would have received on the date of death.

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%

Widower/Civil Partner/Nominated Partner: 50% (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%

More than one eligible child: 50%, 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.

Members who have reached Maximum Service

If a member has reached maximum service, is still in employment but not able to continue paying into the scheme, the full range of death in service benefits (including a lump sum) would still be payable.

2008 Section

Lump sum payment

There’s no minimum qualifying period for a lump sum to be payable to your spouse, registered civil partner or qualifying partner if you die in service. Additionally, you can nominate someone else to receive this benefit 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.

All employees: 2 x actual reckonable pay at the time of death

Important: 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.

Short-term survivor pensions

An initial survivor pension is paid by your employer for a period of six months from date of death, at a rate equivalent to your monthly pensionable pay/salary that’s in payment at your time of death. A short-term pension of 3 or 6 months may be payable to a child if there’s no adult dependant’s pension payable or if the child is not dependent on the surviving spouse.

Long-term survivor pensions

After the initial period, as long as you have a minimum of two years' qualifying service, adult survivor’s pensions are paid for life. They’re based on the upper tier ill-health pension you would have received on the date of death.

A pension will be 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:

Spouse, civil partner or nominated partner: 37.5%

Single dependent child: 18.75%

More than one eligible child: 37.5%, shared equally between the children.

If there’s no surviving spouse, the children’s pension is payable at a rate of 25% of the member’s pension if there is one child, or an equal share of 50% if there are two or more dependent children.

2015 Scheme

Lump sum payment

There’s no minimum qualifying period for a lump sum to be payable to your spouse, registered civil partner or qualifying partner or 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.

All employees: Either: 2 x actual pensionable earnings in the 12 months prior to death or 2 x best full scheme year’s revalued pensionable earnings.

Important: 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.

Short-term survivor pensions

An initial survivor pension is paid by your employer for a period of six months from date of death, at a rate equivalent to your monthly pensionable pay/salary that’s in payment at your time of death. A short-term pension of 3 or 6 months may be payable to a child if there’s no adult dependant’s pension payable or if the child is not dependent on the surviving spouse.

Long-term survivor pensions

After the initial period, as long as you have a minimum of two years' qualifying service, adult survivor’s pensions are paid for life. They’re based on the upper tier ill-health pension you would have received on the date of death.

A pension will be 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:

Spouse, civil partner or nominated partner: 33.75%

Single dependent child: 16.875%

More than one eligible child: 33.75%, shared equally between the children.

If there’s no surviving spouse, the children’s pension is payable at a rate of 22.5% of the member’s pension if there is one child, or an equal share of 45% if there are two or more dependent children.

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