How is a partner's pension worked out?

Death after retirement

An ongoing pension is provided for your spouse, registered civil partner or, subject to certain qualifying conditions, your eligible cohabiting partner (if you were a member of the LGPS on or after 1 April 2008). This pension is payable immediately after your death for the rest of their life and will increase every year in line with the cost of living.

Short term pension

If you left the LGPS before 1 April 2008 a short term pension payable at a higher rate may be payable to your surviving spouse or civil partner for a period of three months (or six months if there is an eligible child in the care of the surviving spouse or civil partner).

This pension is usually equal to the level of your pension, however, if you are a woman the short term pension payable to a widower may be based on your membership of the LGPS after 5 April 1988 only. In addition, if you entered your civil partnership or married after leaving the LGPS the amount of short term pension payable may be less than the value of your pension - for further information about this contact your pension fund.

The benefits thereafter, and where no short term pension is payable, are generally calculated as below:

For your spouse (from an opposite sex or same sex marriage)

Your membership from 1 April 2014 1/160th of the pensionable pay or assumed pensionable pay you received in each year plus a proportion of any transfer of pension rights credited to your pension account
Your membership up to 31 March 20141/160th of your final pay X the period of your membership up to 31 March 2014

However, if you marry after leaving the LGPS:

  • the survivor's pension paid to a widow of an opposite sex marriage is based on your membership after 5 April 1978
  • the survivor's pension paid to a widower of an opposite sex marriage is based on your membershp after 5 April 1988
  • the survivor's pension of a same sex marriage is based on your membership after 5 April 1978

For your civil partner

Your membership from 1 April 2014 1/160th of the pensionable pay or assumed pensionable pay you received in each year plus a proportion of any transfer of pension rights credited to your pension account
Your membership up to 31 March 20141/160th of your final pay X the period of your membership up to 31 March 2014

However, if you enter into a civil partnership after leaving the LGPS your civil partner's pension would be based on your membership after 5 April 1978 (or on all of your membership if you left the LGPS between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2014 and you, or your civil partner, made and an election before 1 April 2015 for pre 6 April 1988 membership to also count).

For your eligible cohabiting partner

Your membership from 1 April 2014 1/160th of the pensionable pay or assumed pensionable pay you received in each year plus a proportion of any transfer of pension rights credited to your pension account
Your membership up to 31 March 20141/160th of your final pay X the period of your membership from 6 April 1988 up to 31 March 2014, plus any membership before 6 April 1988 if you elected to pay additional contributions to make it count*

*An election to pay additional contributions to make membership before 6 April 1988 count towards the calculation of cohabiting partner's pension must have been made before 1 April 2014.

For a cohabiting partner to be entitled to receive a survivor's pension you must have paid into the LGPS on or after 1 April 2008 and your relationship has to meet certain conditions laid down by the LGPS. For information about these conditions see the eligible cohabiting partner section.

If you paid extra

  • if you paid additional contributions to buy extra LGPS pension by paying Additional Pension Contributions (APCs) (or Shared Cost Additional Pension Contributions (SCAPCs)) these will not count towards the value of any partner's pension as they only count towards your pension.
  • if you elected before 1 April 2014 to pay Additional Regular Contributions (ARCs) then, provided you opted to pay for dependant's benefits when you took out your original contract, extra benefits will be payable to your spouse, civil partner or eligible cohabiting partner. If you did not opt to pay for dependant's benefits when you took out your original ARC contract, then no extra benefits will be payable.
  • if you elected before 1 April 2008 to buy LGPS added years of membership any period of membership you have paid for will count towards the benefits payable to your partner provided you married, entered into a civil partnership or were cohabiting with your partner whilst an active member of the LGPS. This will increase the value of the benefits payable for your spouse, civil partner or eligible cohabiting partner.
  • if you elected before 1 April 2014 to buy extra cohabiting partner survivor benefits, then any pre 6 April 1988 membership you have bought will be included in calculating any survivor pension payable to an eligible cohabiting partner.
  • if you were paying Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) arranged through the LGPS (in-house AVCs) and elected to defer taking payment of your AVC fund when you retired from the LGPS the value of your AVC fund is payable. If you bought a top up pension in the LGPS with your AVC fund when you retired the extra pension purchased will also count towards the benefits payable to your partner (unless you retired between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2014 and chose not to provide for dependant's benefits).

If your pension is subject to a Pension Sharing Order issued by the Court following an earlier divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, or is subject to a qualifying agreement in Scotland, your spouse's, civil partner's or eligible cohabiting partner's pension will be reduced because of that Court Order or agreement. For more information see the section on pensions & divorce/dissolution..