How to apply for death benefits

On this page, you will find information about what to do in the event of a member’s death, and how to claim death benefits.

Notifying us of a member’s death

It is important that you notify us of a member’s death. To do this, complete the relevant death benefit claim form found on our member forms page, and return it to us along with an original death certificate.

You can now use the Government’s Tell Us Once service that allows you to inform most government departments of a member’s death in one go. For more information, visit the Tell Us Once page at GOV.UK.

If the member was receiving a pension at the time of their death, please contact us as soon as possible to prevent us from overpaying the member’s pension, as we would need to reclaim it from their estate.

Death benefits available to a member’s dependants 

In the event of a member’s death, the following benefits may be payable.

  • A death benefit lump sum
  • A Widow’s or Widower’s Pension Scheme (WPS) refund
  • A widow’s or widower’s pension
  • A child’s pension
  • A civil partner’s pension
  • A partner’s pension
  • Payment of any pension that was due to be paid when the member died (also called residual pension)

Temporary changes to forms and supporting documents due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we’ve temporarily changed the process for sending forms and supporting documents to ensure that we’ll be able to pay death benefits in the event of a member’s death.

As a result, from 20 April we no longer require a claimant or witness signature, (in order to pay death benefits owed) you will now have the option to: 

  • complete your claim form online and return it to us by email along with any supporting documentation; and
  • email us a scanned copy or photograph of your ID (for example a passport, driver’s licence, or utility bill). 

Please note: 

  • You MUST provide consent in your email for us to use your claim form
  • You MUST provide a scanned copy or photograph of two forms of ID plus proof of your address. A full list of acceptable documents can be found here
  • Utility bills must be less than three months old and must not be a mobile phone bill
  • Please ensure that scanned copies or photographs of forms and documents are clear and can be easily read.
  • Please email your forms, supporting documentation, and ID to

How to claim death benefits

To claim a death benefit lump sum, WPS refund, or residual pension, you will need to complete a Death benefit: one-off payments form which can be found on our Forms page.

To claim a pension for a widow or widower, civil partner, partner or child, you will need to complete a Dependant pension claim form which can be found on our Forms page.

We recommend that you read the How to claim death benefits guide before completing your claim form. This provides information about claiming death benefits, and will answer any questions you may have following the death of a member.

For more information and estimate timescales for the process, read the what to expect guide.

You should also refer to the Guidance Notes section on your form for details when completing your form.