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State pension: Can you inherit your spouse's state pension? How much can be inherited?

There are two types of state pension, with these being the basic state pension and the new state pension. The type that a person can claim will depend on their date of birth. For instance, men born before April 6, 1951 and women born before April 6, 1953 can claim the new state pension.


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Those born after these dates follow the new state pension rules.

People who are eligible to claim the state pension can do so once they’ve reached their state pension age – which is rising.

It’s possible to defer claiming the state pension, and if this is done for a certain amount of time, the pensioner’s payment may increase.

Some may wonder what happens to their state pension in terms of inheritance when they die.

Inheritance: Basic state pension

Should the spouse or civil partner have reached state pension age before April 6, 2016, then instructs them to contact the Pension Service once one dies in order to check what they can claim.

It may be that they can increase their basic state pension by using the deceased’s qualifying years if they do not already get the full amount.

Should they have reached state pension age on or after April 6, 2016, or be under state pension age when their spouse or civil partner dies, the “Your partner’s National Insurance record and your State Pension” tool on the government website can enable a person to check what inheritance they might be entitled to.

For people who are single or divorced, or who have had their civil partnership dissolved, it may be that their estate can claim some of a basic state pension.

This is if that person dies after reaching state pension age, and only if the state pension had not been claimed.

In this circumstance, the estate can claim up to three months of the basic state pension.

Extra money from deferring state pension

Some may opt to defer their state pension in order to build up an extra amount.

In this situation, the spouse or civil partner may either claim the extra state pension or get a lump sum.


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State pension top up

Should one have topped up their state pension (between October 12, 2015 and April 5, 2017), the spouse or civil partner may be able to inherit some or all of the top up, states.

Inheritance: New state pension

It may be that a person is able to inherit an extra payment on top of their new state pension if they are widowed.

However, an individual cannot inherit anything should they remarry or form a new civil partnership before they reach state pension age.

Inheriting Additional State Pension

If a marriage or civil partnership began before April 6, 2016 and one of the following circumstances applies, then a person may inherit part of their deceased partner’s Additional State Pension.

These are:

  • The deceased 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.

Inheriting a protected payment

A person will inherit half of their partner’s protected payment if their marriage or civil partnership with them 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 payment will be made with the state pension.

Inheriting extra state pension or a lump sum

A person may inherit part of all of their partner’s extra state pension or lump sum if:

  • They died while they were deferring their state pension or had started claiming it after 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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