State pension may be inherited by surviving spouse

State Pension: Expert outlines criteria to qualify

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Inheritance of a state pension can provide valuable financial stability to a widow or widower, particularly given the cost of living crisis. Many people will want to understand whether they could inherit, and how much they could receive.

To this end, the Government has shared the rules via its website in efforts to offer clarity.

A person may be able to inherit an extra payment on top of the new state pension if they are widowed.

However, they will not be able to inherit anything at all if they remarry or form a new civil partnership before reaching state pension age themselves.

The Additional state pension also has specific rules about the ability for inheritance.

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A widow or widower could inherit a part of their deceased partner’s Additional state pension, as long as the marriage or civil partnership with them began before April 6, 2016.

One of the following must also apply:

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

When it comes to protected payments, individuals will inherit half if the 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.

Both inherited protected payments and inherited Additional state pension is paid out with a surviving partner’s normal state pension payments.

Certain people would have received an extra state pension or a lump sum.

This, too, can be inherited in specific circumstances.

Inheritance is permitted in this case if:

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

The basic state pension also has its own set of rules regarding how people might be able to increase their payments through their partner.

Those married or in a civil partnership might be able to get up to £85 per week.

This will be the case if they are either not getting a basic state pension, or not in receipt of the full amount.

The person must have reached state pension age before April 6, and their spouse or civil partner reached state pension age either:

  • Before April 6, 2016, qualifying for the basic state pension
  • On or after April 6, 2016, having one or more qualifying years of NI contributions or credits from before this date.

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Britons may be able to qualify for an increase even if their spouse or civil partner has not claimed the state pension.

However, there is an additional and important rule to bear in mind for those who have a spouse or civil partner born before April 6, 1950.

In this circumstance, a person can only get the increase if they are a woman who is married to either a man or, according to the Government website:

  • A man
  • A woman who legally changed their gender from male to female during the marriage.

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