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Letting us know that a pensioner member has died

How to let us know

If an NHS pension member has died, you should tell us as soon as you can. The sooner we know, the sooner we can make sure that all monies and benefits due are paid quickly and accurately.

For example, if we don’t know that an NHS pensioner has died, we may continue to make payments which they were not entitled to. This means that whoever is dealing with their estate will have the inconvenience of arranging to repay the debt.

The easiest way to do this is to contact us.

If you have the member’s NHS pension number, have this ready to quote. This will make it easier for us to find their record and give you the help you need.

How we’ll support you

NHS pension members can nominate someone to receive lump sum and pension benefits after they’ve gone. We call these people ‘eligible dependants’.

An eligible dependant could be:

  • a nominee
  • an adult dependant
  • a dependant child


This is the person the member has nominated to receive their pension benefits in the event of their death.

Adult dependant

Someone who is a legal spouse, registered civil partner or qualifying scheme partner.

A dependant child

This is a child, or children, who is dependent on the member. This does not have to be the member's own child or children. It can include a number of other possible child dependants.

Read our Survivor's Guide (PDF: 283KB) for more information.

The benefits that will be payable will depend on what type of NHS Pension Scheme the late pension member was in, and their circumstances at the time that they passed away.

When you contact us, we’ll tell you what benefits may be payable and guide you through how to claim.

Receiving a lump sum

If a lump sum is due, we’ll contact the eligible dependant for further information to allow us to pay this.

The lump sum is paid by payable order or paid into a nominated bank or building society account.

We’ll also contact you, if we need to see any documents relating to probate, to allow the lump sum to be paid.

When a lump sum is paid, we’ll check to see if this exceeds the late member’s ‘lifetime allowance’. This is the limit set by the government on the amount of benefits an individual can receive without having to pay tax.

We’ll inform whoever is dealing with the late pension member’s estate of the amount of lump sum and the percentage of the lifetime allowance that this represents.

This person is responsible for notifying HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) of this figure if there is a tax charge, and the person who receives the lump sum is legally responsible for paying any lifetime allowance that may be due.

Read more information about lifetime allowance on our member hub.

Lump sums that are paid upon the death of a pension member must be paid within 2 years of the date that we were notified of their death.

After 2 years, any such lump sum would be subject to an HMRC tax charge of up to 45%. We have no discretion over this.

Applying for an eligible dependant’s pension

If someone qualifies as an eligible dependant, we will send an application form for them to complete so that their pension can start as soon as possible.

If a continuing adult dependant’s pension is less than £260 a year, we’ll calculate whether or not the pension can be changed to a one-off lump sum payment.

Finding more information

Read our Survivor's Guide (PDF: 283KB) for information about the lump sum payable on death and pension payable.

This includes information about adult dependant’s pensions and child dependant’s pensions.

If you need any support with this process, contact us.

Forms you may need

Dependant Claim Form (PDF: 331KB)