Inheriting the state pension: Widowed Britons could be entitled to boosted sum

State pension: Expert on difference between ‘old’ and ‘new’

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In certain circumstances, Britons may be able to inherit some of their partner’s state pension. This could help those who are widowed to increase their income in retirement.

Inherit the basic state pension

Those who reached state pension age before April 6, 2016 may be able to inherit some of their spouse or civil partner’s state pension when they die.

If they do not already get the full amount of £141.85 a week, an individual may be able to increase their basic state pension by using their spouse or civil partner’s qualifying years.

They may also be able to inherit part of their spouse or civil partner’s ‘Additional’ state pension or Graduated Retirement Benefit.

Different rules apply to people who reached state pension on or after April 6, 2016.

Britons can check what inheritance they might be entitled to based on their spouse’s or civil partner’s National Insurance contributions and contact the Pension Service to check what they could claim.

If someone’s spouse or partner deferred their state pension and built up an extra amount, they can usually claim the extra state pension or get a lump sum.

However, they must not have remarried or formed a new civil partnership for this to apply.

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If the spouse or civil partner deferred for less than 12 months, the person inheriting their extra state pension can only do so through increased payments and not a lump sum.

They can only get the extra state pension once they have reached state pension age.

If someone’s spouse or civil partner topped up their state pension between October 12, 2015 and April 5, 2017, they may be able to inherit some or all of the top up.

Inherit the new state pension

Widowed people might be able to inherit an extra payment on top of their new state pension.

They will not be able to inherit anything if they remarry or form a new civil partnership before reaching state pension age.

Someone might inherit part of their deceased partner’s ‘Additional’ state pension if their marriage or civil partnership with them started before April 6, 2016 and one of the following applies:

  • Their partner reached state pension age before April 6, 2016
  • They died before April 6, 2016 but would have reached state pension age on or after that date

The additional amount would be paid with their normal state pension.

Widowed people can inherit half of their partner’s ‘protected payment’ if their marriage or civil partnership began before April 6, 2016 and:

  • Their state pension age is on or after April 6, 2016
  • They died on or after April 6, 2016

This will also be paid with their state pension.

Britons could also inherit all or part of their partner’s ‘extra’ state pension or lump sum if:

  • They died while they were deferring their state pension or they had started claiming it after previously deferring
  • They reached state pension age before April 6, 2016
  • They were married or in the civil partnership when they died.

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