If you die in service or within a year of leaving service (because of ill health) your widow, widower, civil partner or nominated partner will be paid a short-term pension which is the same as your pensionable pay at the time of your death. It is paid for three months from the day after your death. If there is no long-term pension payable to a spouse, civil partner, nominated partner or nominated dependant, and there is one or more eligible children, a short-term pension will be payable to them for six months.
If you die after you retire a short term pension will be paid to your widow, widower, nominated partner or civil partner based upon the pension you were receiving when you died.
Long-term pensions for adult survivors are paid at the rate of 1/160 of the final average salary for each year of your survivor benefits service. If all your service counts for family benefits, the pension will be half the pension you have earned up to the date of your death. If only part of your service is covered for survivor benefits, the pension will be less.
If you die in service, your family pension may be increased by allowing extra service you are purchasing to count for family benefit. This is usually only increased if you die before 60 and you have 2 years qualifying service on or after 1 April 2000.
If you die in service, your survivor pension may be increased by allowing extra service you are purchasing to count for survivor benefit. This is usually only increased if you die before 60 and you have 2 years qualifying service on or after 1 April 2000.
If you are a male and you marry after you leave pensionable employment only service from 6 April 1978 will count for a widow’s pension. If you are a female and you marry after you leave pensionable employment only service from 6 April 1988 will count for a widower’s pension. If you leave pensionable employment and then register a civil partnership only service from 6 April 1988 will count for a civil partner’s pension.
The child’s rate of pension is paid at 1/320 of the final average salary for each year of your survivor benefits service. This is up to a maximum of 1/160th for 2 or more children.
If there is no spouse, civil partner or dependant’s long-term pension payable, an orphan’s pension may be paid. This will be at a higher rate than the child’s rate of pension.
Nominated partner’s pensions
From 1 April 2007 service counts for partner benefits, although a number of conditions must be satisfied before a pension can be paid. These include:
- you must have lived with your partner in a permanent exclusive relationship for a minimum of two years
- you must be legally free to marry or to enter into a civil partnership
- you and your partner must be financially interdependent
- you must have 2 or more years service counting for partner benefits
Some examples of financial interdependency are given below, but these are not exhaustive and not all need to be met. Typically interdependency means:
- you share a household and its related spending
- you have a joint bank account or mortgage
- you have made wills naming each other as beneficiaries
- you have mutual power of attorney
You do not need to demonstrate financial interdependency at the time you nominate your partner. This will be checked after you die.
Only service from 1 April 2007 will count automatically towards a pension for your partner but if you were a member before that date you may be able to cover previous service by paying extra contributions. Pensioners may nominate a partner but cannot purchase service prior to their retirement. You need to complete an application form to nominate your partner. You should inform us if your nomination no longer applies.
If you are not married or have not registered a civil partnership, you can nominate a close relative who is financially dependent on you to receive pension benefits when you die.
You must nominate this person before you retire. The benefits will be the same as those paid to a widow, widower or civil partner. The nomination will end if you marry or register as a civil partner. It will also end if the nominated person dies or marries.
You can nominate:
- an unmarried or widowed parent
- step parent
- an unmarried brother or sister
Supplementary death grant
When a pensioner dies an additional payment, called the supplementary death grant, may be made of the difference between the pension paid up to the date of death and five times the annual rate of pension.
The supplementary death grant is paid to the pensioner's nominee, spouse, civil partner or nominated partner. If the pensioner is not married or registered as a civil partner, it will be paid to their estate.
Duration of long term pensions
Long-term pensions are paid immediately after the short-term pension stops or from the day after death. Pensions will end in the event of the recipients death, remarriage, cohabitation or if a new civil partnership is registered if the member’s pension came into payment before 1 April 2007. If the member is in service on or after 1 April 2007 and dies, the adult dependant’s pension will be payable for life.
Children’s pensions are paid for children under the age of 17 and for older children up to the age of 23 if they are not married and have been engaged in full-time education or in certain kinds of training since reaching the age of 17 without a break of more than one year. Pensions can continue after age 23 if a child is dependent because of ill-health at the date of the member’s death.
Applications for family pensions should be made on the Death Benefits application form available from the Forms and Leaflets section.
Nomination forms for family and death benefits including forms to cover additional service for family pensions, nominate a financial dependant relative, nominate a partner and nominate a person to receive your death grant should you die in service.
Nomination for death grant
You may use this form to nominate a person to receive your death grant should you die in service
Nomination of financially dependant relative
You should use this form if you wish to nominate your financial dependant to receive a pension from the Northern Ireland Teachers' Pension Scheme (NITPS) after your death (provided certain conditions are met)
Cover additional service for family pensions
You should use this form to increase the amount of financial benefits to be paid by electing to purchase all or part of your earlier service (subject to certain conditions)