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How is UK pension Calculated After Death Of A Spouse

How is UK pension Calculated After Death Of A Spouse

Old Feb 10th 2020, 12:44 am
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Default How is UK pension Calculated After Death Of A Spouse

My parents moved to the USA in 1968 a few years after I was born. They each have some UK work history from about the mid '50s to when they left the UK. They never took US citizenship. And they did pay some money into the UK system in the early 1990s to get, or increase, their UK pension amounts.

For purposes of rounding and ignoring inflation they were each getting about 75 GPB/week based on their own individual work records.

After my father passed away about a year ago, the pension service calculated a new benefit amount for my mother of 106 GBP/week. However, there was almost no accompanying information about how that amount was calculated. I have tried researching, but I cannot find anything explaining how the UK Pension is calculated. (Because I'm searching from the USA, Google keeps wanting to be "smart" and reinterprets my query to be about the US social security). It seems like some of it is complicated in that there seem to be different calculations for different time periods as the rules changed over the years (?) but I'm not really asking about that piece. In the USA at the high level the rule is pretty simple for a widow without dependents, but I'm having a hard time finding a similar layman's (or even mice type) explanation of how a surviving widow with no dependents' benefit is calculated in the UK. I had actually expected that as they were each getting a benefit based on their own work history and not based on mom being a non-earning spouse, that dad's pension benefit would just disappear, but there must be some calculation that still factors in mom's work history plus part of dad's ?

Dealing with the pension service is terribly slow, and I don't want to ask a question where the answer is; "yeah, that's wrong, we want our money back". I do trust whatever they calculated is accurate, I just cannot get any general explanation of what factors were used in the recalculation.

Thanks.
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Old Feb 10th 2020, 1:55 am
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Default Re: How is UK pension Calculated After Death Of A Spouse

Firstly, if you Google <UK state pension .... > plus some additional terms I am not sure why Google would be redirecting you to information about US Social Security. I have learned over the years I have been in the US, that adding <UK> to the search terms and/or using UK specific terms, such as, in this case, <state pension>, which generally speaking does not apply in the US, gets me to UK specific information.

In this case I Googled <UK state pension survivor benefits> (omit the < & >), and the first and most relevant hit was this; there were other possibilities.

From memory, I thought that all pensions had switched to an individual basis some years ago, at least 10, maybe 20, or more, with no enhanced benefits for the survivor, commonly refered to as a "widows pension", (but I may be wrong as I am many years away from being personally interested in the minutiae of UK state pensions). Looking at my own link above, there are some benefits payable under some circumstances, such as when the deceased party had a more complete contribution history than their spouse/ partner. So which rules apply probably depend on when your parents retired.

Even if you post more information it would probably take some digging through the pages of DWP information, so I recommend retrying with more targeted Google search terms, per my advice above, and being prepared to spend some time reading the information to decide which applies to your mother's situation.

Last edited by Pulaski; Feb 10th 2020 at 2:04 am.
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Old Feb 10th 2020, 3:17 am
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Default Re: How is UK pension Calculated After Death Of A Spouse

OK, thanks.
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