Survivor benefits

If you are legally married or in a registered civil partnership and die, your surviving spouse or civil partner is automatically entitled to a pension, which is payable for the rest of their life. The exact level of benefit payable will depend on whether you are still contributing to the scheme or if you have left employment and when you were married or registered the civil partnership.

Active members

If you are still employed and are contributing to the scheme, any benefit payable to a legal spouse or civil partner would be based on the total of:

Membership before 31 March 2014

1/160 x total membership (pro rated for part time service) x final pay (whole time equivalent)

Membership after 1 April 2014

1/160 x actual pensionable pay for each year to the date of death. 

Plus

1/160 x assumed pensionable pay for each year to the date of death and your normal pension age (state pension age, 65 or later)

Deferred members

If your are receipt of a pension, any benefit payable to a legal spouse or civil partner would be based on the total of: 

Membership before 31 March 2014

1/160 x total membership (pro rated for part time service) x final pay (whole time equivalent)

Please note: If you are married or registered a civil partnership before you left, this period of membership is unrestricted, but if you married or registered a civil partnership after you left, this period of membership is restricted to membership after 6 April 1978 for a male member with a female survivor, or membership after 6 April 1988 for a female member with a male survivor, or any member with a same-sex survivor.

Membership after 1 April 2014

1/160 x actual pensionable pay for each year to the date of leaving.

Cohabiting partner pensions

The benefit is only available to those people who were employed and contributing to the LGPS after 1 April 2008. While there is no legal requirement to complete a nomination of cohabiting partner form, is is easier for us to award a pension if a form is completed. 

If you do not have access to a printer you can contact us to request a form to be sent through the post. You can cancel or replace a nomination at any time. 

Conditions to meet

There are 4 conditions to meet for a cohabiting partner's pension to be paid in the event of your death, these must be proved to Staffordshire Pension Fund by your partner after your death and they must have been met for a period of at least 2 years prior to the date of death. These conditions are:

  • you are not married or in a registered civil partnership, but are living with someone as if you are
     
  • you are both free to marry or enter civil partnership (i.e. you are not married to or in a civil partnership with someone else, but have not yet divorced or dissolved the civil partnership)
     
  • neither of you are living with another person as if you are married or in a registered civil partnership
     
  • you and your partner are financially interdependent on each other, or your partner is financially dependent on you

The exact level of benefit payable will depend on whether you are still contributing to the scheme or if you have left employment.

To prove the last condition, your partner will have to provide details covering at least 2 years prior to your death to show financial dependency or interdependency. This could include copies of statements for joint bank accounts, mortgage statements, bills etc.

Benefit entitlement for same-sex spouse or registered civil partners

A change to the LGPS rules was made to provide that survivor's benefits payable to a same-sex spouse or a registered civil partner are equal those paid to the widow of a male member.

Why has the change been made?

The change has been made as a result of a Supreme Court judgment (Walker v Innopsec) which found that Mr Walker’s male spouse was entitled to the same benefits that would have been paid had Mr Walker left a widow in an opposite-sex marriage.

Why was this applied to the LGPS?

The government believes that the implication of this judgment for the LGPS is that surviving civil partners or surviving same sex spouses should be provided with benefits equal to those that would be left to the widow of a male member.

When did the change take effect from?

The change was backdated to the date that registered civil partnerships and same-sex marriages were introduced:

  • 5 December 2005 for registered civil partnerships
     
  • 13 March 2014 for same-sex marriages.

This means that where a member of the LGPS has died since the dates above, leaving a surviving registered civil partner or a same-sex spouse, the survivor’s pension in payment will be reviewed by the fund, where applicable.