If you die while you are still an active member of alpha, or when you have a preserved pension, or after you claim your alpha pension, the scheme provides benefits that are paid to your eligible dependants.

Who can receive the lump sum payment?

The lump sum payment is discretionary and although it is likely it will be paid to your nominated beneficiaries, in some circumstances, it may not be. You should ensure your nomination is kept up to date.

How do I nominate a beneficiary for the lump sum?

You can add or amend your death benefit nomination in the Pension Portal or by completing a death benefit nomination form. You can download the form from the Member Forms page.

You can specify what percentage each nominee will get. You should review your nominees’ information regularly and remember to update their details whenever they move home, or if they change names through marriage / divorce etc or if your circumstances change. The Pension Portal and your Annual Benefit Statement (ABS) show your current nominee(s).

What if I do not make a nomination?

If you do not have a nominee, any lump sum that is due will be paid to your estate. This will usually be paid to your personal representative, who is the person responsible for administering your estate.

Why might my nominee not get the lump sum?

The Scheme Administrator (MyCSP) will pay the lump sum to a valid nominee(s) on most occasions, but there are some cases where a nomination may be invalid. Examples include, if you nominated your spouse or civil partner, but you had legally separated before you died or if your nominee dies before you.

In any cases where a nomination is invalid the Scheme Administrator will usually pay it to your estate through your personal representative.

How much is the lump sum?

This depends on your circumstances and whether you are an active member, deferred member, or a pensioner. The following sections go into more detail on the amount that could be paid out.

Do my nominee(s) have to pay tax on the lump sum they get?

The lump sum can be treated differently depending on who it is paid to. If it is paid to your nominees at the discretion of the Scheme Manager, it does not form part of your estate for inheritance tax purposes.

If the lump sum is paid to your estate, it can become liable for inheritance tax, but this depends on the total value of your estate. Your personal representative, the person who deals with your estate after your death, will need to look into this at the time.

Any other tax issues?

There is one other thing to consider. Lump sums that are paid if you die use up part of your Lifetime Allowance (LTA). Your personal representative will receive an LTA certificate showing how much of the LTA the lump sum(s) paid to all of your nominees or estate has used up.

If the total of all your pension benefits (including death benefit lump sums) goes over your LTA limit, the people who receive the lump sums may have to pay a tax charge.

There is more information on the LTA in Section 07B - Death benefits and the lifetime allowance.

Who can get a dependant’s pension?

There are two types of dependant’s pension:

  • An adult dependant’s pension - this is for your spouse or civil partner, or a partner. A partner is someone you are living with in a long-term relationship, and with whom you are financially interdependent with.
  • A child’s pension - this is for any children who are your dependants.

Are all children eligible for a pension?

No, there are some criteria which have to be met.

Your relationship - If they are not your biological or legally adopted children, you will need to supply some evidence that these children were financially dependent on you. For example, this could be a guardianship order.

Their age - The child must be under age 18, or if they are in full time education or vocational training, under age 23.

If they are over age 23 and they are physically or mentally impaired, they may be eligible for a children’s pension. If their impairment means it is unlikely that they will ever be able to get a job, there is no maximum age limit.

How long are the pensions paid for?

An adult dependant’s pension will be paid for life. A child’s pension is paid until they are no longer eligible to receive one. This is usually when they are over the age of 18, or over 23 if they are in education or vocational training. If they are physically or mentally impaired and, in the opinion of the Scheme Medical Adviser (SMA), their impairment is permanent, the pension will be paid for life.

When working out an adult dependant’s pension, or a child’s pension, how much do they get?

This depends on your circumstances, for instance if you were an active member, deferred member or a pensioner. The following sections go into more detail on the amount of pension that could be paid.

Are the dependants’ pensions taxed?

Pensions are treated as earned income, so can be taxed. If you or your dependants have questions about how tax is applied you should contact HM Revenue & Customs.

What if my alpha pension contained an EPA?

If you bought an EPA portion of your alpha pension, this does not affect your dependant’s pensions. See Section 02 - Taking control of your retirement planning for more information about EPA.

What if my alpha pension contains added pension?

When you buy added pension you can choose to buy it for just you or it can include family benefits.

If the added pension you bought was for yourself only it will not be included when working out any of the death benefits for your dependants. It you bought added pension with family benefits, it will be included when working out the pensions. See Section 02 - Taking control of your retirement planning for more information about added pension.

The benefits available when you die and the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS)

This section only applies to members who were in the PCSPS (classic, classic plus, premium, or nuvos) before 01 April 2015, and then moved from that scheme into alpha.

It does not cover every aspect of the scheme; full details are set out in the scheme rules, which are the legal basis of the scheme. You can find copies of the PCSPS scheme rules on the Civil Service Pensions website.

Nothing in this guide can override the scheme rules. Every effort has been made to make this guide as accurate as possible, but in the event of any difference, the rules will apply. This guide is based on the rules current at the time of publication and there is no guarantee that any part of the rules will not change in the future. You should be aware that tax rates and limits are subject to change.

If this section applies to you, please read it carefully to understand what benefits are available for your family from both parts of your pension.

Death benefits

Your eligible dependents will be entitled to benefits for the alpha part of your benefits.

Your nominations

The nomination(s) you have made in the PCSPS will also apply to your alpha benefits if you have not made a new nomination since you moved into alpha. If you made a nomination while in alpha it will override your earlier nomination made while you were in the PCSPS.

Pensions for dependants

Your eligible dependants will get a pension based on your alpha pension plus any pension that would be due from your PCSPS pension too.

14 December 2021
Last updated:
22 August 2022