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What will happen to my pension in the event of my death?

Death Grant

If you die while serving, provided you were a member of NPPS (and had not opted out) at the time of your death, a lump sum death grant of three times your annual pensionable pay at the time will be paid to:

    • your spouse or civil partner, if you have one
    • if you have no spouse or civil partner, and at the discretion of the police authority, to an unmarried partner (if all relevant documentation has been completed)
    • if you have no spouse, civil partner or nominated unmarried partner, and again at the discretion of the police authority, to a person nominated by you
    • otherwise, to your personal representative - usually the executor of your will – and thus will form part of your estate.

If you wish to nominate someone to receive your lump sum death grant you should complete a nomination form (which you can obtain from your force’s pensions administrator).  A nomination does not override the provision that the grant will go to a surviving spouse or partner, if you have one, but it would take effect if you have no spouse or partner or if both you and your spouse or partner were to die at the same time.

If you work part-time, the lump sum will be three times your annual pensionable pay as a part-timer.

This grant is irrespective of your length of service.

Death Gratuity

If you die as a result of an injury on duty or die within 12 months of receiving an injury on duty as a result of that injury, your spouse may be entitled to a gratuity under the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations.  This does not form part of the pension scheme.

Gratuity - Estate

If when you die the various awards payable under NPPS (excluding the lump sum death grant) are less than your total pension contributions, an extra award equal to the balance of those contributions will be paid to your estate.

Survivors’ benefits

When you die, your ‘survivors’ (which can include your spouse or civil partner, an unmarried partner who is not a civil partner and children) may be eligible to receive benefits from NPPS.  The benefits which may be payable will depend on whether you die in service or after you retire and on the length of your qualifying service at the date of your death.  No survivors’ benefits will be payable if you had opted out of NPPS at the date of your death.  

Adult survivor awards

Adult survivors can include spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners who are not civil partners.  All adult survivor awards are payable for life, irrespective of whether the survivor remarries or forms a new partnership.  If the adult survivor is also a member of NPPS he/she is still eligible for an award.

Spouses and civil partners

If you die in service, 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 disabled for regular employment at the time of your death.

If you die while you are receiving a NPPS pension, or if you die after you have left the police service with an entitlement to receive a deferred NPPS pension at 65, or if you have opted out of NPPS and are entitled to a deferred pension but die in service, your spouse or civil partner is entitled to a pension if he or she is married to you or has formed a civil partnership with you when you die.  The pension payable is 50% of your pension entitlement at the date of your death.  If your spouse or civil partner is more than 12 years younger than you, his/her pension will be reduced to reflect the age difference. This reduction will be 2.5% for every year or part of a year over 12 years, up to a maximum reduction of 50%.  If you married or formed a civil partnership within the six months prior to your death, then the police authority has discretion to withhold your spouse’s or partner’s pension.

Unmarried partners who are not civil partners

An unmarried partner who is not a civil partner is someone with whom you have a long term relationship but to whom you are not married (if you are of opposite sexes) or with whom you have not formed a civil partnership (if you are of the same sex).  If you have no spouse or civil partner, it may be possible for a survivor’s pension to be paid (for life) to your partner on the same basis as if he/she had been your spouse or civil partner.  For this, you and your partner must have completed and sent to the police authority a joint declaration form to confirm that all of the following apply:

    • there has been cohabitation for a period during which your partner has been financially dependent on you, or both of you have been financially interdependent
    • the relationship is a committed relationship intended to continue indefinitely
    • you each have mutual responsibility for the other’s welfare
    • you are free to marry each other (if you and your partner are of opposite sexes) or free to form a civil partnership (if you are of the same sex) and neither of you is married or a civil partner or nominated as the partner of anyone else
    • you agree to inform the scheme administrator if the relationship ends

A pension will not be paid to an unmarried partner who is not a civil partner unless he or she is the subject of a joint declaration form – referred to below as a nominated partner.

 On your death, your nominated partner must submit a completed claim form to the police authority in order to confirm that the statements in the joint declaration were still valid at the time of death before any benefits may be paid to him/her.  The police authority may also ask for supporting information to confirm financial dependency, such as confirmation of shared household spending or shared bank accounts.  A period of cohabitation of at least two years is expected for a pension to be paid to a nominated partner, but the police authority may exercise discretion to pay a pension to a nominated partner in a shorter relationship.  In exercising discretion, the police authority must be satisfied that you and your nominated partner were cohabiting in an exclusive, committed, long-term relationship, and that your nominated partner was financially dependent on you or you were financially interdependent.  The decision of the police authority on these matters is final.

As with spouses and civil partners, if your nominated partner is more than 12 years younger than you, his/her pension will be reduced to reflect the age difference.  This reduction will be 2.5% for every year or part of a year over 12 years, up to a maximum reduction of 50%.

You are encouraged to complete a declaration form to nominate your partner as soon as you consider that your cohabiting relationship is exclusive, committed and for the long-term.  It is your responsibility to ensure that this information is kept up-to-date.

Children's pensions

If you die in service or when you are receiving a NPPS pension, or after you have left the police service with an entitlement to receive a deferred NPPS pension, children’s pensions will be payable to:

    • a child who is your natural child, stepchild or adopted child, or
    • any other child who was dependent on you (either financially or by reason of disability) at the time of your death

Benefits for surviving children extend to a posthumous child of the marriage or partnership if the child’s mother is pregnant with the child at the time of the officer’s death, including the situation where the officer is the mother and dies in childbirth.  The pension payable is generally 25% of the pension entitlement at the date of your death, but if there are more than two children, each receives an amount equivalent to 50% of the pension entitlement divided by the number of children.  The pension entitlement for this purpose is on the same basis as for adult survivors, i.e.:

    • if you die in service, and have at least two years’ qualifying service, it is based on the ill-health pension that you would have received if you had been permanently disabled for regular employment at the time of your death
    • if you die while you are receiving a NPPS pension, or if you die after you have left the police service with an entitlement to receive a deferred NPPS pension at 65, or if you have opted out of NPPS and are entitled to a deferred pension but die in service, it is based on your pension entitlement at the date of your death.

A survivor pension for a dependent child is only payable if the child is below the age of 19 unless:

    • the child 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
    • the child is permanently disabled at the date of your death, in which case the pension is payable for life

A pension payable to a child who receives remuneration from training or employment in excess of a specified annual amount is reduced by the excess.  If the excess is greater than or equal to the amount of the pension, then no pension is paid.  The specified annual amount, which is varied annually, is the Income Support level for a single person aged 18-24.

 

Link to Scottish Government Website