Death Benefits


Pensions for surviving partners can be paid to: a legal spouse; or a registered civil partner; or a nominated partner with whom you have an exclusive long-term committed relationship of at least two years and are either financially dependent or inter-dependent. These rules regarding Survivor Pensions outlined on this page only apply for members who have made contributions to the NHS Scheme on or after 1 April 2008.

Under both the 1995 section and the 2008 section of the NHS Pension Scheme, a survivor's pension for a member’s legal spouse, civil partner or nominated qualifying partner is payable for life, even if your spouse or partner remarries or begins living with someone as their spouse, civil partner or partner.

Under the 1995 section of the NHS Pension Scheme for members with less than 2 years’ membership when they die, their spouse, civil partner or nominated qualifying partner will get a short term pension for 6 months. The pension will be at the same rate as the member’s pensionable pay at the time of death. For GPs the pension will be based on their average pensionable earnings during the last complete quarter.

For members with at least 2 years’ membership at death, their spouse, civil partner or nominated qualifying partner will get the short-term pension for 6 months.

Widows will then get a survivor's pension payable for life of half the amount the member would have got if they had retired because of ill-health on their date of death. Different arrangements apply for widowers, civil partners and nominated qualifying partners.

Under the 2008 section of the NHS Pension Scheme, spouses or partners of members with less than 2 years membership at death will get a short term pension for 6 months. The pension will be at the same rate as the member’s pensionable pay at the time of their death. For GPs the pension will be based on their average pensionable earnings during the last complete quarter.

Spouses or partners of members with 2 or more years’ membership at death will get the short term pension for 6 months. Thereafter a survivor's pension will be payable for life.

The survivor's pension will be 37.5% of the tier 2 ill-health pension the member would have received on the day of their death. GP survivor's pensions are 70/187ths of the tier 2 ill-health pension they would have received on the day of death.

The 2008 section of the NHS Pension Scheme automatically provides for all membership to be taken into account for survivor pension purposes. In the event of a member who has contracted to purchase a bigger survivor pension and later opts to move to the 2008 section of the NHS Pension Scheme via the ‘Choice’ exercise (scheduled to start in 2009) any default lump sum deduction contract will simply lapse. If the member has paid by a single one-off lump sum or is paying by monthly contributions, arrangements will be made for a refund of contributions to be made, normally via NHS employer payrolls.

1995 Section guidance - View the NHS Factsheet

Benefits Death in membership (with at least 2 years membership) Death after retirement Death with deferred pension Death within 12 months of leaving membership if benefits remain in Scheme
Lump sum 2 x annual pensionable pay or average uprated earnings for Practitioners*** The lesser of: 5 x pension less pension already paid or 2 x pay less any retirement lump sum 3 x pension payable if member had retired on date of death 3 x annual pension the member would have received had they retired on the date of death
Widow’s pension ½ of your notional tier 2 ill health retirement pension Short term pension payable at rate of your pensionable pay for the fi rst 6 months ½ of your pension in payment Short term pension payable at rate of member’s pension paid for first 3 months or 6 months if there is at least one dependent child ½ of your pension at the date of death

No short term pension
½ of your notional tier 2 ill health retirement pension at date of leaving

No short term pension
Widower’s/ Civil partner’s/ Nominated partner’s pension ½ of your notional tier 2 ill health retirement pension, based only on membership from 6 April 1988* Short term pension payable at rate of your pensionable pay for the fi rst 6 months ½ of your pension in payment, based only on membership from 6 April 1988* Short term pension payable at rate of member’s pension paid for first 3 months or 6 months if there is at least one dependant ½ of your pension at the date of death, based only on membership from 6 April 1988*

No short term pension
½ of your notional tier 2 ill health retirement pension at date of leaving, based only on membership from 6 April 1988* No short term pension
Children’s pension** ¼ of your notional tier 2 ill health retirement pension for 1 child ½ shared equally if 2 or more ¼ of your pension for 1 child ½ shared equally if 2 or more ¼ of your pension for 1 child ½ shared equally if 2 or more ¼ of your notional tier 2 ill health retirement pension for 1 child ½ shared equally if 2 or more

*These benefits may be higher if you have purchased Additional Survivor Pension cover for your dependants.

**Higher rates may be payable if there is no survivors pension payable.

***A death gratuity lump sum is payable for members with less than 2 years membership.

If you have less than two years membership and die before you leave or retire, your spouse, civil partner, or nominated qualifying partner would receive a lump sum payment and a short term pension payable for six months.

2008 Section guidance - View the NHS Factsheet

Benefits Death in membership (with at least 2 years membership) Death after retirement Death with deferred pension Death within 12 months of leaving membership if benefits remain in Scheme
Lump sum 2 x reckonable pay or average uprated earnings for Practitioners *** The lesser of; 5 x pension less pension already paid; or 2 x reckonable pay less any retirement lump sum taken 2.25 x annual pension the member would have received had they retired on the date of death assuming they did not take a lump sum 2.25 x annual pension the member would have received had they retired on the date of death assuming they did not take a lump sum
Adult dependant’s pension 37.5% of your notional tier 2 ill health retirement pension Short term pension payable at rate of your pensionable pay for the first 6 months 37.5% of your pension in payment* Short term pension payable at rate of member’s pension paid for fi rst 3 months or 6 months if there is at least one dependant child 37.5% of your pension at the date of death*

No short term pension
37.5% of your notional tier 2 ill health retirement pension at date of leaving.

No short term pension
Children’s pension** 18.75% of your notional tier 2 ill health retirement pension for 1 child 37.5% shared equally if 2 or more 18.75% of your pension for 1 child 37.5% shared equally if 2 or more 18.75% of your pension for 1 child 37.5% shared equally if 2 or more 18.75% of your notional tier 2 ill health retirement pension for 1 child 37.5% shared equally if 2 or more

* May not include any additional pension being paid.

** Higher rates may be payable if there is no survivors pension payable

*** A death gratuity lump sum is payable for members with less than 2 years membership

If you have less than two years membership and die before you leave or retire, your spouse, civil partner, or nominated qualifying partner would receive a lump sum payment and a short term pension payable for six months.