Teachers' Pensions

Death Benefits

Laptop on a desk

It goes without saying that your pension isn’t just about you. It’s also about the people you love and care for.

If I’m retired what will my beneficiary or nominee receive after I die?

If you’re a pensioner and your pension has been in payment for less than 5 years, a discretionary death grant is payable that is equal to five times your annual pension less any pension received prior to your death. If you became entitled to your pension – by having reached your normal pension age and leaving all pensionable service – but had not claimed it a discretionary death grant of 5 times your annual pension is payable.

This is the same for all pensioners regardless of which arrangement – Final Salary or Career Average – that your pension benefits are based on.

If there is no adult beneficiary or death grant nomination at the time of your death, any death grant that is due will be paid to your estate.

Pensions for a Spouse or Civil or Qualifying Partner

If you’re married, in a civil partnership or, where you’re neither married nor in a civil partnership, your partner meets the qualifying criteria (see below), then your spouse or partner will automatically receive a pension after you die. A partner will qualify for a pension only if you have 2 years’ or more pensionable service* from 1 January 2007 and for a continuous period of at least two years immediately prior to your death:

1. you were able to marry or form a civil partnership with your partner;
2. you and your partner were living with each other as if you were a married couple or civil partners;
3. neither you or your partner were living with a third person as if they were a married couple or civil partners; and
4. you and your partner were financially interdependent or your partner was financially dependent on you.

What about my children?

Any children, born during your lifetime or within 12 months of your death, may be eligible to a child’s pension. This also applies to any children born to a previous partner, adopted children, and financially dependent children who are living as part of your family at the time of your death.

To be eligible, your children can’t be married or in a civil partnership. They must be:

  • Under 17; or if over 17, have remained in full-time education, or been in training for a trade or profession for at least two years, without a break of more than one academic year and up to age 23 at the latest;
  • Incapacitated and unable to earn a living due to ill health at the time of your death. A doctor will need to confirm this. We’ll also need to know if they’re receiving any benefits.

How is the pension calculated?

If you die after retiring we’ll continue to pay your pension in full for three months. These payments are called the short term pension. After the short term pension ends a long term pension is put into place for payment.

Final salary arrangement

If you’re in the final salary arrangement the long term pension for an adult survivor is 1/160 of the final average salary for each year of your survivor benefits service.

Career average arrangement

If you’re in the career average arrangement the long term pension is the value of 37.5% of the pension you’ve earned up to your date of death.

Benefits in both arrangements

If you have benefits in both arrangement two calculations will be made, one for each type of benefit and these will be paid together.

How long will my family continue to receive a pension?

If you were in service on or after 1 January 2007 any adult pension will be paid for your beneficiary’s lifetime.

If you were not in service on or after 1 January 2007 then any adult pension will cease if the recipient remarries, registers a civil partnership or cohabits with another person as husband and wife or as civil partners.

Your children will receive a pension as long as they’re under age 17. Once they’re over age 17, if they’re receiving full-time education and have received full-time education since reaching the age of 17 without a break, their pension will stop when they reach age 23.

How much of my service counts towards family benefits?

For a qualifying partner your service from 1 January 2007 will be used in the calculation of family benefits. You can pay for service before that date to be counted towards family benefits if you apply within six months of your partnership beginning.

If you’re married or have registered a civil partnership, all your service from 6 April 1988 automatically counts for family benefits. You can pay for service that was completed before April 1988 to be counted towards family benefits, but that must be within six months of getting married or registering a civil partnership for the first time.

If you’re a male teacher who leaves a widow, your service will count from 1 April 1972 for family benefits.

What happens if I marry or register a civil partnership after I’ve retired?

Only your service from 6 April 1988 will count for an adult beneficiary’s pension, unless you’re a male pensioner who marries a woman. In those circumstances any benefits will be based on service from 6 April 1978.

Last Updated: 21/02/2018 12:45


Read our Bereavement and family benefits FAQs.



Need to make a Death Grant Nomination?



Do you know the facts about Death Benefits?