Breaking down your spouse’s state pension: what happens if they pass on?

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01 Nov, 2018

Breaking down your spouse’s state pension: what happens if they pass on?

State pension is a fund which most British citizens pay into all their lives, in the hopes of having their money returned when they reach pension age. What happens to a state pension however, if a spouse passes away? 

The UK state pension is something which prompts confusion among several British citizens.

The way state pensions works is that citizens pay national insurance for a stipulated amount of years, and receive a sum of money once they reach pension age and are entitled to stop working.

The law states that you must have paid a minimum of 10 years in national insurance in order to be eligible to any kind of state pension.

Furthermore, state pensions vary depending on the person, as not everyone has the same retirement age. Pension funds can also fluctuate depending on one’s gender and age.

What happens however, if your spouse who was entitled to state pension suddenly passes away? Do you inherit his/her pension? 

Speaking to Express.co.uk, experts from PensionBee said: “It’s possible to pass on your state pension payments after death but this can only go to your spouse or civil partner.”

A couple residing together will not be entitled to inherit each other’s state pension, unless they are united civilly. This rule will apply irrespective of whether or not the couple share kin together..

PensionBee added: “The main pension rule governing State Pensions in death is whether you reached State Pension age before or after recent State Pension changes came into effect on 6 April 2016.

“If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 and receive the Basic State Pension, your spouse or civil partner can claim your Additional State Pension, which is based on your National Insurance Contribution record.

“In some instances it may be possible to pass on a State Pension lump sum on death and your spouse or civil partner could qualify for bereavement benefits.”

For those who have reached State Pension age after this date however, these rules do not apply. 

“If you reached State Pension age after 6 April 2016 and (will) receive the new State Pension, your spouse or civil partner may be able to inherit an extra payment on top of your pension,” the expert explained.”