Inheritance of SERPS by married people

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What's changing?

The changes to inherited SERPS rules

In 1986 the Government changed the law to reduce the amount of SERPS that a person widowed after April 2000 could inherit from their late spouse to a maximum of 50%. Previously widows or widowers could inherit a maximum of 100% of the SERPS pension.

But, for many years after 1986 some people were given incorrect or misleading information about the change and may have planned for their future on that basis.

So, the Government postponed the changes from April 2000 to October 2002. It then announced further plans for the maximum percentage of SERPS that can be passed on to a widow or widower, when someone who has contributed to the scheme dies.

How the changes affect widows

For women widowed after 6 October 2002, the maximum percentage of SERPS pension that they can inherit will depend on:

  • their late husband's State Pension age.

They may inherit SERPS:

  • when they reach State Pension age; or
  • before they reach State Pension age if they get Widowed Parent's Allowance because they have a dependent child.

How the changes affect widowers

The maximum percentage of the SERPS pension that widowers can inherit depends on:

  • their late wife's State Pension age; and
  • the date they are widowed.

They can inherit SERPS from their late wife if both they and their late wife were over State Pension age when she died. They can also inherit SERPS if they are under State Pension age, as long as they get Widowed Parent's Allowance.

State Second Pension

Read more about the State Second Pension (also known as additional State Pension) in our A to Z section, or read or print our guide State Pensions - your guide.

Inheriting SERPS

You can get extra information on inheriting SERPS by reading or printing our guide on inheriting SERPS.

To find out more about additional State Pensions (SERPS and Second State Pension), read and print A guide to State Pensions.