When you die, your 'survivors' (which include your spouse, civil partner, a cohabiting/unmarried partner and eligible children) may be entitled to receive benefits. The benefits which may be payable will depend on:
- whether you die as an Active Member, a Deferred Member or a Pensioner Member,
- whether you die after you leave the police force or after you opt out; and
- the length of Qualifying Service at the date of your death.
If you have opted out or have left the police force at the date of your death, any survivors’ benefits would be based on any Deferred Pension to which you were entitled at the time. More details about survivors’ benefits are given in the following sections.
Adult survivor benefits
Adult survivors can include spouses, civil partners and cohabiting/unmarried partners.
Under the 2015 Scheme all adult survivor pensions are payable for life, irrespective of whether the survivor remarries or forms a new partnership.
An officer can be in receipt of an adult survivor pension and also be a contributing scheme member.
Spouses and civil partners
Your spouse or civil partner is entitled to a pension from the 2015 Scheme if you die:
The pension payable generally is 50% of your pension entitlement at the date of your death. If you die whilst an Active Member, and have at least two years Qualifying Service, your spouse or civil partner is entitled to a pension when you die. The pension payable is 50% of the ill-health pension that you would have received if you had been permanently medically unfit for regular employment at the time of your death.
- whilst receiving a pension or;
- with an entitlement to receive a Deferred Pension when you reach your SPA.
If your spouse or civil partner is more than 12 years younger than you, his or her pension will be reduced to reflect the age difference. This reduction will be 2.5% for every year by which your spouse or civil partner is more than 12 years younger than you, up to a maximum reduction of 50%. If you marry or form a civil partnership within the six months prior to the date of your death, then the Police Pension Authority has discretion to withhold payment of the pension payable to your spouse or civil partner.
An unmarried partner is someone with whom you have a long term relationship but to whom you are not married nor with whom you have formed a civil partnership.
If you have a partner who is neither your spouse nor your civil partner, it may be possible for a survivor’s pension to be paid to them for life on the same basis as if s/he had been your spouse or civil partner, but this is not automatic. For a pension to be payable, you and your partner must meet the following criteria:
- you have lived together for a period during which your partner has been financially dependent on you, or both of you have been financially interdependent.
- the relationship is an exclusive, committed long-term relationship.
- you are free to marry each other (or form a civil partnership with each other), and
- you agree to inform the Police Pension Authority if the relationship ends.
The above will be determined in the event of the member’s death. Whilst you and your partner no longer have to complete a joint declaration form,
it is still advisable that you do so as this will make it clear that you have a partner who may be eligible for a pension after your death.
If you wish to declare your partner by completing the form, please do so where you consider that your cohabiting relationship is exclusive, committed and for the long-term. It is your responsibility to revoke the declaration if the relationship ends.
Before any benefits may be paid to your declared partner on your death, s/he must satisfy the Police Pension Authority that the first 3 statements were still valid at the time of your death and that, at the time of your death, you had cohabited for at least 2 years.
The Police Pension Authority may also ask for supporting information to confirm financial dependency, such as confirmation of shared household spending or joint bank accounts.
A period of cohabitation of at least 2 years is expected for a pension to be paid to an unmarried partner, but the Police Pension Authority may exercise discretion to pay a pension where the relationship was shorter than this.
In exercising discretion, the Police Pension Authority must be satisfied that you and your partner were living together in an exclusive, committed, long-term relationship, and that your partner was financially dependent on you or you were financially interdependent. The decision of the Police Pension Authority on these matters is final.
As with spouses and civil partners, if your unmarried partner is more than 12 years younger than you, his or her pension will be reduced to reflect the age difference. This reduction will be 2.5% for every year or part of a year by which he or she is more than 12 years younger than you, up to a maximum reduction of 50%.
If you die whilst
- an Active Member with 2 years' Qualifying Service,
- receiving a pension or
- with an entitlement to receive a Deferred Pension when you reach your SPA,
a pension will be payable to any eligible child.
- a child who is your natural child, stepchild or adopted child, and
- any other child who was substantially dependent on you (either financially or by reason of disability) at the time of your death.
Benefits for eligible children are payable to a posthumous child if the child's mother is pregnant with the child at the time of your death, including the situation where you are the mother and you die in childbirth.
The pension payable to an eligible child is generally 25% of your pension entitlement at the date of your death, but if there are three or more eligible children, each receives an amount equivalent to 50% of your pension entitlement divided by the number of eligible children. The pension entitlement for this purpose is on the same basis as for adult survivors, e.g:
- if you die whilst an Active Member and have at least two years' Qualifying Service, it is 25% of the ill-health pension that you would have received if you had been permanently medically unfit for regular employment at the time of your death.
A child only remains an eligible child until s/he reaches the age of 19 unless:
- s/he is in full-time education on a course of at least one year's duration, in which case the pension is payable whilst full-time education continues but not beyond the child's 23rd birthday, or
- s/he is unable to engage in regular employment due to physical or mental impairment which is likely to be permanent at the date of your death, in which case the pension is payable for life.
Lump Sum Death Grant
If you die while you are an Active Member (and your service was at least 12 months), a lump sum death grant of three times your annual Pensionable Earnings at the time of your death (Final Pay) will be paid:
- to your surviving spouse or civil partner,
- if you have no spouse, or civil partner at the discretion of the Police Pension Authority, to an eligible cohabiting/unmarried partner
- if you have no spouse, no civil partner, and no cohabiting/unmarried partner at the discretion of the Police Pension Authority, to a person nominated by you
- Otherwise, to your legal personal representative - usually the executor of your will - and it will thus form part of your estate.
If you wish to nominate someone to receive your lump sum death grant you should complete a Death Benefit Nomination Form .
A nomination does not override the provision that the grant will go to a surviving spouse, civil partner or cohabiting/unmarried partner, if you have one, but it would take effect if you have no spouse, civil partner or cohabiting/unmarried partner or if you and your spouse, civil partner or cohabiting/unmarried partner were to die at the same time.
Note that a nomination for a lump sum death grant is not the same as an cohabiting/unmarried partner declaration. The nomination for a lump sum death grant relates only to the payment of that grant. You should contact us if you are unsure about the effect of a nomination.
If you work part-time, the lump sum will be three times your annual Pensionable Earnings (Final Pay) paid to you for your part-time work.
Death Gratuity - Estate
If you die as a Deferred Member or a Pensioner Member and the death is as a result of an injury received in the execution of duty or you die as a Pensioner Member within 2 years of becoming a Pensioner Member, then your estate may be granted a gratuity. If, when you die, the various benefits payable under the 2015 Scheme (excluding the lump sum death grant) are less than the total of your own pension contributions, an extra benefit equal to the balance of those contributions will be paid to your estate.
Death gratuity - dependant
If you die as a Deferred Member or a Pensioner Member and the death is as a result of an injury received in the execution of duty or you die as a Pensioner Member within 2 years of becoming a Pensioner Member, then your dependent may be granted a gratuity. The Police Pension Authority may, in its discretion, grant this gratuity to your dependant who they believed at the time of your death was dependent on you either financially or because of a physical or mental impairment.