DWP state pension inheritance rules and payments after spouse or partner dies explained

A stock image of UK money
A stock image of UK money -Credit:Getty

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) manages the state pension, which currently provides a steady income for nearly 12.7 million elderly people across Great Britain.

Those who have reached the UK Government's eligible retirement age - now 66 for both men and women - and have made at least 10 years' worth of National Insurance contributions can access it.

Around 3.4 million individuals are now receiving payments of up to £221.20 each week from the new state pension. As this contributory benefit is typically paid every four weeks, this amounts to £884.80 per pay period, as reported by the Daily Record.

Most claimants (9.3 million) receive basic state pension payments of up to £169.50 each week, equivalent to £648 per pay period. The type of state pension a person receives depends on their date of birth.

Men born before April 6, 1951 and women born before April 6, 1953 are eligible for the basic state pension, while those born after these dates will receive the new state pension, according to the Daily Record.

But what happens to state pension payments when someone dies?

It's a difficult subject and not one anyone would choose to think about, but understanding what will happen could help you or a family member. Here's a brief rundown of what you need to know.

State pension payments after someone passes away

The death of a loved one doesn't equate to an automatic halt to their state pension claim. The necessary step is to inform the Pension Service to bring stoppage to the payments.

This can be done through a phone call to their helpline on 0800 731 0469.

On a brighter note, you might be eligible for extra payments taken from your late spouse or civil partners state pension, depending on their National Insurance Contributions and when they clocked the state pension age. Bereavement benefits could also come into play if you're yet to reach state pension age.

In regards to inheritance and basic state pension, those who lost their spouse or civil partner who reached state pension age before 6 April 2016 should endeavour to touch base with the Pension Service following their loss in order to ascertain potential claims.

Furthermore, if you're not currently receiving the full amount, you might have the chance to bolster your basic state pension leaning on the qualifying years of the departed soul.

On GOV. UK you can find a guide titled "Your partner's National Insurance record and your state pension" which might assist you to determine what you might jointly inherit.

This applies if you or your deceased spouse or civil partner reached state pension age on or after 6 April 2016, or if they passed away while you were under the state pension age.

For people who are unmarried, divorced, or have got their civil partnership cancelled, a part of the basic state pension could potentially be claimed by their estate.

If someone passes away after reaching the state pension age without claiming their state pension, their estate can claim up to three months of the basic state pension.

Opting to defer state pension payments can lead to increased payments when they are eventually claimed, by around £600 annually, for those who choose to continue working after reaching state pension age.

According to GOV. UK, anyone who has topped up their state pension may have some or all of the top-up inherited by their spouse or civil partner.

An individual may inherit an additional payment on top of the new state pension if they are widowed. However, nothing can be inherited if they remarry or form a new civil partnership before reaching state pension age.

If a marriage or civil partnership began before April 6, 2016, and one of the following conditions applies, then an individual may inherit part of their deceased partner's additional state pension.

If a person's marriage or civil partnership with their partner started before April 6, 2016, and their state pension age is on or after April 6, 2016, or they died on or after April 6, 2016, they will inherit half of their partner's protected payment. This payment will be made with the state pension.

If your partner has unfortunately passed away, you may be entitled to inherit a part or all of their additional state pension or lump sum. This applies if they were deferring their state pension or had begun claiming it after deferral, reached the state pension age before 6 April 2016, and were either married or in a civil partnership at the time of their death.

You can calculate how much you might receive by checking your state pension on the GOV. UK website.