Following the death of a pensioner, survivors' pensions become due from the date immediately following the death of the member. There may be a dependants pension payable to a surviving spouse or partner but the following criteria applies when determining whether a dependant member is eligible for a dependant members pension.
- If membership ceased before 1 April 1998, pension benefits are only payable to legally married surviving spouses.
- If membership ceased between 1 April 1998 and 31 March 2008 inclusive, pension benefits are payable to legally married surviving spouses or surviving civil partners.
- If membership ceased on or after 1 April 2008, pension benefits are payable to a surviving legal spouse, civil partner or nominated cohabiting partner (providing a nomination has been made and all the criteria are met).
- If membership ceased on or after 1 April 2014, pension benefits are payable to a surviving legal spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner (providing all the criteria are met).
No benefits are payable if the marriage or civil partnership has been legally dissolved or if the declaration of cohabitation has been cancelled or is found to be invalid.
Members who retired before 1st April 1998
Short term pension
For pre 1st April 1998 retirees there is a short-term pension payable to eligible survivors equal to the member's retirement pension immediately before the death.
The length of the short-term pension depends on whether there is an eligible child. Where there is an eligible child in the spouse's care, the short-term pension is payable to the spouse for 6 months. If there is no eligible child, the short-term pension is payable to the spouse for 3 months. If there is a surviving spouse but the children are not in their care, then a short-term pension is payable for 3 months following death.
Long term pension
Where the deceased was a pensioner member, the long-term pension will become payable when the short term pension ends.
Following the death of a pensioner, the rate of the pension is calculated as 1/160 of the final pay, multiplied by the membership the deceased had accrued until date of retirement or date of leaving.
Members who retired after 1st April 1998
All membership now counts for widows', widowers' and civil partners' benefits. The same short-term and long-term requirements apply as above; the only change was to the membership that could be included in the calculation of the benefits.
For members with nominated partners, membership before 6 April 1988 would still not count for these purposes.
From the 1 April 2008 the short-term pension is no longer applicable.
As before any 2014 scheme pension is treated as having accrued at 1/160 to calculate the survivor’s pension, with transfers treated as 49/160 of their value.
Post Retirement Marriages
Where a deferred member or pensioner marries after they have ceased membership, the survivor's pension is based on the following periods of membership:
- Widows - membership from 6 April 1978 or date of commencement of membership if later.
- Widowers - membership from 6 April 1988 or the date of commencement of membership if later
- Cohabiting Partners - membership from 6 April 1988 or the date of commencement of membership if later