Valuable benefits for your dependants when you die

In the event of your death, your Teachers’ pension scheme may pay out benefits to your dependants. These can include a surviving spouse, civil partner or nominated non-legal partner plus any dependent children. The level of benefits paid depends on your circumstances at the time of death including the amount of relevant service you’ve accrued throughout your career.

Death in service

Lump sum

If you were to die whilst still in service, a death grant payment would be made amounting to three times your final full time equivalent salary at time of death. If you die within two months of leaving employment (or 12 months if left employment on ill health grounds but without claiming your pension and lump sum) you would still be classed as an in service member.

Death grants are automatically paid to surviving spouses or civil partners unless you’ve nominated someone else to receive this grant. This can be a multiple nomination, as long as the amounts allocated to the various nominees total 100%. If there is no surviving spouse, civil partner and no other nominations in place this payment would be made to your estate.

If you’re in further employment following your retirement at the time of death or you’re on phased retirement, the death grant payment made would be three times your pensionable salary at the time of your death, but any lump sum you had previously been paid as a result of earlier retirements would be deducted from the total death grant payment.

Short-term pensions

If you die in service or within a year of leaving service because of ill-health, your spouse, civil partner or nominated partner will be paid a short-term pension equal to your pensionable pay at the time of your death. This is normally paid for three months from the day after your death. A short-term pension is also payable for the same three months to any dependent children.

If there is no long-term pension payable to a spouse, civil partner, nominated partner or nominated dependant, and there is one or more eligible child, a short-term pension will be payable to them for six months.

Long-term pensions

Long-term pensions are payable to the dependants of members who have accrued at least two years’ qualifying service. Once any short-term pensions come to an end, the long-term pensions are applied to the pension scheme you’re in when you die at the following rates:

  • Scottish Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme – 1/160th of your final pensionable salary, multiplied by the amount of family benefits service* accrued plus an enhancement of half of the service you could have completed before normal pension age.
  • Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme – 37.5% of the pension you’ve earned up to your date of death plus an enhancement equal to half of the service you could have completed before normal pension age. This is then multiplied by 1/57th of the final full-time equivalent annual pensionable earnings.

*Family benefits service is the reckonable service earned by the member during their time in the pension scheme. Men have been able to earn family benefits service since 1 April 1972 while women have earned this service since 6 April 1988. If part of your reckonable service is before these dates, only a proportion of the enhancement would be payable.

Children's pensions

A pension may be paid if you leave dependent children.

For the first three months a short-term pension will be paid equal to your pensionable pay. If you leave no more than 2 children this will reduce to half of any adult pension. If you leave more than 2 children the adult pension is divided by the number of children.

Children’s pensions are increased if there is no adult pension payable, and the short-term pension will be paid for six rather than three months.

Duration of long-term pensions

Long-term pensions are paid immediately after the short-term pension stops. If the member's pension came into payment before 1 April 2007, the survivor pension will end in the event of the recipient’s death, remarriage, cohabitation or if a new civil partnership is registered. If the member dies on or after 1 April 2007, the adult dependant's pension will be payable for life.

Children's pension are paid for children under the age of 17 and for older children up to the age of 23 if they’re not married or formed a civil partnership and have been engaged in full-time education or in certain kinds of training since reaching the age of 17 without a break of more than 18 months. Children’s pensions can continue after age 23 if a child is dependent on you because of ill-health at the time of your death.

Death in deferred membership

Lump sum

If you die having left employment but haven’t yet claimed your pension ('preserved membership'), the amount of death grant payable would be dependent on whether you have a surviving spouse, civil partner or a nomination in place to receive the death grant.

If you did have a surviving spouse, civil partner or have a nomination in place to receive the death grant, the amount payable would be equal to the lump sum you would have received had you applied for your benefits.

If there is no surviving spouse or civil partner and no nominations in place, a death grant would be payable to your estate equal to the greater of:

  • the amount of lump sum payable to you, had you applied for your retirement benefits or:
  • the total amount of contributions you had paid plus 3% compound interest.

Short-term pensions

If you die having left employment but not applied for your retirement benefits, there would be no short-term pensions payable.

Long-term pensions

Long-term pensions are payable to the dependants of members who have accrued at least two years’ qualifying service. The long-term pensions are applied to the pension scheme you’re in when you die at the following rates:

  • Scottish Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme – 1/160th of your final pensionable salary, multiplied by the amount of family benefits service* accrued.
  • Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme – 37.5% of the pension you’ve earned up to your date of death.

*Family benefits service is the reckonable service earned by the member during their time in the pension scheme. Men have been able to earn family benefits service since 1 April 1972 while women have earned this service since 6 April 1988.

Children's pensions

A pension may be paid if you leave dependent children.

Duration of long-term pensions

Long-term pensions are paid from the day of the member's death. If the member's pension came into payment before 1 April 2007, the survivor pension will end in the event of the recipient’s death, remarriage, cohabitation or if a new civil partnership is registered. If the member dies on or after 1 April 2007, the adult dependant's pension will be payable for life.

Children's pension are paid for children under the age of 17 and for older children up to the age of 23 if they’re not married or formed a civil partnership and have been engaged in full-time education or in certain kinds of training since reaching the age of 17 without a break of more than 18 months. Children’s pensions can continue after age 23 if a child is dependent on you because of ill-health at the time of your death. 

Death in retirement

Lump sum

If you were to die within five years of your retirement a deficiency grant would be payable. The deficiency grant would be payable under the same circumstances as the death grant and would be equal to the difference between the pension paid up to the date of death and five times the annual rate of pension. Deficiency grants are not payable to members on phased retirement.

Short term pensions

If you die after you retire, a short-term pension will be paid to your widow, widower, civil partner or nominated partner and dependent children equal to the pension you were receiving when you died.

Long-term pensions

Long-term pensions are payable to the dependants of members who have accrued at least two years’ qualifying service. Once any short-term pensions come to an end, the long-term pensions are applied to the pension scheme you’re in when you die at the following rates:

  • Scottish Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme – 1/160th of your final pensionable salary, multiplied by the amount of family benefits service* accrued. If you retired on ill health grounds, an enhancement would also be paid.
  • Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme – 37.5% of the pension you’ve earned up to your date of death.

*Family benefits service is the reckonable service earned by the member during their time in the pension scheme. Men have been able to earn family benefits service since 1 April 1972 while women have earned this service since 6 April 1988.

Marriage after retirement

If you’re a male and you marry after you claim your benefits only service from 6 April 1978 will count for a widow's pension. If you’re a female and you marry after you claim your benefits only service from 6 April 1988 will count for a widower's pension.

If you register a civil partnership, only service from 6 April 1988 will count for a civil partner's pension.

If you have a nominated non-legal partner, only service from 1 April 2007 would count as family benefits service, however, you can purchase earlier service in order for this to be included in the calculation of any benefits payable to them.

Children's pensions

A pension may be paid if you leave dependent children.

For the first three months a short-term pension will be paid equal to your pensionable pay. If you leave no more than 2 children this will reduce to half of any adult pension. If you leave more than 2 children the adult pension is divided by the number of children.

Children’s pensions are increased if there is no adult pension payable, and the short-term pension will be paid for six rather than three months.

Duration of long-term pensions

Long-term pensions are paid immediately after the short-term pension stops or from the day after death. If the member's pension came into payment before 1 April 2007, the survivor pension will end in the event of the recipient’s death, remarriage, cohabitation or if a new civil partnership is registered. If the member dies on or after 1 April 2007, the adult dependant's pension will be payable for life.

Children's pension are paid for children under the age of 17 and for older children up to the age of 23 if they’re not married or formed a civil partnership and have been engaged in full-time education or in certain kinds of training since reaching the age of 17 without a break of more than 18 months. Children’s pensions can continue after age 23 if a child is dependent on you because of ill-health at the time of your death.

How to notify SPPA

On the death of a member, SPPA will need notification of the Solicitor/Executor who has been appointed to deal with their estate. We’ll also require a photocopy of the full death certificate document. This should be sent to the following address:

SPPA Payroll

Scottish Public Pensions Agency

7 Tweedside Park

Tweedbank

Galashiels

TD1 3TE

Tel: 01896 893000

On receipt of the above information, the relevant pension will cease and application forms will be issued where appropriate. If a member is in receipt of a pension from their former employer they should also notify them.

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