If you are already taking benefits


What happens when you die

This covers:

What your spouse or civil partner will get

We will pay your spouse or civil partner a pension if you married them or formed the partnership:

  • before you retired, or
  • after you retired but more than 6 months before your death

If you get married or form a civil partnership after you retire but less than 6 months before you die, the trustee will have to decide whether to pay a pension to your spouse or civil partner. This happens on a case-by-case basis.

Most spouses and civil partners get half of their partner’s pension.

If they are more than 10 years younger than you, they will get less. This is because we’ll probably have to pay it for longer.

Regardless of when you got married or formed a civil partnership and the age difference between you, if you were contracted out of the Additional State Pension before 5 April 1997, the minimum they will receive is their Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) from the Fund. This is usually based on the Additional State Pension they would have got if you had not been contracted out.

If you get divorced or end your civil partnership

Your former spouse or civil partner may be entitled to some of your pension.

When you’re already taking your pension:

  • its value is offset against other assets you had as a couple
  • part of your pension is transferred as cash to your former spouse or civil partner
  • you pay a percentage of your regular pension to your former spouse or civil partner

For more information, download Mercer’s ‘guide to what happens when married members divorce and civil partnerships are dissolved’ (PDF).

What your beneficiaries will get

We’ll pay a lump sum to your beneficiaries if you die less than 5 years after you start to take your pension. We’ll use your expression of wish form to decide who should get any money from your pension.