Inheriting basic State Pension

You may be entitled to some of your spouse or civil partner's State Pension entitlements. Find out if you are eligible for basic State Pension, Bereavement Support Service and additional State Pension.

This information is for a man born before 6 April 1951 or a woman born before 6 April 1953


You may be entitled to some State Pension based on your spouse or civil partner's National Insurance contributions (NICs) if you have not already built up a full basic State Pension on your own NICs record.

If they die while you are under State Pension age, you will lose this right if you:

  • remarry (before you reach State Pension age)
  • form a new civil partnership (before you reach State Pension age)

You may be entitled to their extra State Pension if they put off claiming their State Pension when they reached State Pension age.

Contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre for further information.

Bereavement Support Payment

You may also be able to claim Bereavement Support Payment.

This will depend on the amount of National Insurance contributions your spouse or civil partner has paid, or are treated as having been paid. 

For more information about bereavement, including Bereavement Support Payment, go to the link below:

If you’re still of working age, you may also be able to claim tax credits.

Additional State Pension

Your spouse or civil partner may have contributed towards an additional State Pension - also known as the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) and State Second Pension.

You may be able to inherit some of this additional pension.

To find out more about how much additional State Pension can be inherited, go to the link below:

Inheriting a deferred State Pension

If your spouse or civil partner has deferred their State Pension but dies before claiming it, you could inherit some of their entitlement. Depending on the decision they made when they deferred, this could be paid as extra State Pension or a lump sum when you claim your own State Pension.

You can usually inherit part or all of your partner’s extra State Pension if all of the following apply:

  • you were married or civil partners when they died
  • they had already deferred their State Pension or were claiming their deferred State Pension when they died
  • you didn’t remarry or form a new civil partnership before you reached State Pension age

You can’t inherit any extra State Pension if your partner reached State Pension age after 6 April 2016.

Inheriting State Pension Top Up

After the initial 90 day period, in most cases you can inherit between 50 per cent and 100 per cent of the State Pension top up payment. Contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre to find out more.

If your partner died before 6 April 2010

When you reach State Pension age, you can usually inherit your partner’s extra payments or lump sum if both of the following apply:

  • you’re a woman
  • your deceased partner was your husband (you can’t inherit this money if your partner was a woman)

How you’ll get it

​Any extra weekly payment you inherit will be added to your State Pension. If you haven’t reached State Pension age yet, you’ll get it when you start your claim.

The Department for Work and Pensions will write to you at that time , about any lump sum payment you inherit.

Your State Pension and your partner's National Insurance record

The rules about how you can increase your State Pension and what you can inherit depend on when you and your spouse or civil partner reach State Pension age.

Use the online tool at the link below for :

  • general advice about being eligible to inherit from a spouse or civil partner
  • an estimate of your State Pension entitlements

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