I’ve sadly been widowed twice but never inherited any state pension from my late wives: Is this right? Steve Webb replies

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  • Did you receive an answer to your pension question? Read Steve Webb’s answers

I am 81 years old and receive an old state pension.

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My first wife died in 2003 at the age of 59 and unfortunately it was a few months before her 60th birthday when she would have been eligible for a state pension.

I remember she was expecting a reduction in her pension because she paid a smaller National Insurance stamp when we first got married.

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Retirement finance: I was sadly widowed twice but never inherited a state pension from my late wives (file image)

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I wondered if I was (or still will be) entitled to inherit any part of my late wife’s state pension, given that she did not receive any payments until her death?

I remarried in 2020 but unfortunately my wife died a few months later at the age of 77. She also received an old state pension.

I also wonder if I was eligible to inherit my second wife’s state pension. I would be very grateful for any advice before continuing with the Department of Labor and Pensions.


Steve Webb says: Thank you for contacting us. I was sorry to read about the loss you faced.

When we talk about inheriting a state pension from a deceased person, we usually think about how much a widow will receive when her husband dies.

But the old state pension system also allowed widowers like you to inherit a state pension after losing a wife, provided they didn’t remarry before retirement age.

Did you miss out on your lump sum state pension if you were widowed?

Money magazine columnist Steve Webb is reaching out to elderly widows who may have missed paying their debt after their husbands’ deaths.

He wants to help people get the money that’s rightfully theirs and find out if there’s a systemic problem that the government’s mass reform efforts for underpaid older women haven’t brought to light.

Find out if you may be affected and how to contact Steve here.

Did you lose your state pension if you were widowed on a pension?

I will explain here how the rules worked for people like you who fall under the old state pension system. (The new system after 2016 has some provisions for widowers, but they are much more limited.)

There are two main elements in the old state pension system, and each of them can lead to an increase in income after the loss of a spouse.

The first element is the basic state pension. For a person of your generation, it would take you 44 years of NI contributions to receive a full basic pension.

If for some reason this was not enough for you, then the late wife’s contributions could be used to replenish it up to the maximum rate.

It would be fair to say that most men already have a full basic pension and therefore their basic pension cannot be increased further, but for those with little money, the late spouse’s contributions can be used to get their full amount.

However, your pension will only be increased if your late wife is entitled to some sort of pension in her own right based solely on her own full rate NI contributions.

You mentioned that your first wife paid a reduced “married woman’s stamp”, and these years would not have helped her to accumulate a pension on her own.

If, as a result, any pension she might have received would have come solely from your track record, then that entitlement cannot now be used to increase your own basic pension.

A more appropriate remedy for many men would have been the second element of the old system, the Supplemental State Earnings Pension, also known as Gradual Retirement Benefit, Serps or Second State Pension.

Each of them is an additional amount of state pension, the amount of which depends on what you earn.

Note, however, that in some cases a person may have little or no supplemental pension, either because they were self-employed (and the self-employed NI only generates a basic pension) or because they were “contracted” and accumulated an alternative pension through the workplace. or personal agreement.

Your first wife may not have had a large additional state pension (if any) (because of the reduced pension), although she may have had a small amount of gradual retirement benefits accumulated in the 1960s and early 1970s years. You can inherit half of it.

Can I inherit my deceased spouse’s state pension?

Steve answered many frequently asked questions on this topic. What you can get is much more limited if you have reached or still need to reach state retirement age after April 2016.

Check out Steve’s previous columns:

Will I inherit any state pension from my late husband now that I am 66 years old?

I lived with my late partner for 33 years but cannot inherit his state pension because we have never been married – how can I deal with this?

Will I inherit part of my terminally ill husband’s state pension when he dies?

It is more likely that your second wife would have an additional state pension if she paid “full coat of arms”.

If so, you can inherit at least 50 percent of this amount on top of your state pension. The exact percentage depends on your late wife’s date of birth, but if she were born around 1943, you would actually inherit 90 percent of her supplementary pension.

Full details of the rules inheritance of the supplementary state pension here.

If your state pension did not change after the death of your second wife, then it would be worth check with the Department of Labor and Pensions.

If you have documents relating to your late wife’s State Pension that show that she received an additional state pension, then it is very likely that you will have something to inherit.

If a mistake had been made, perhaps the DWP would have eventually discovered it as part of the massive government pension correction program it is undertaking after It’s Money and I uncovered large-scale errors.

Credit: www.thisismoney.co.uk /

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