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Life Cover - NHS Benefits

The NHS Scheme provides lump sum and pension benefits to your dependants in the event of your death. The benefits payable will depend on your circumstances at the time of your death.

Payment of lump sum

The lump sum will be paid to your spouse, registered civil partner or qualifying partner. If you do not want this to happen you should contact NHS Pensions to nominate someone else to receive the benefit. You should note that the lump sum may be subject to inheritance tax if it is not paid to your spouse, or civil partner. A lump sum payment to a qualifying partner may be subject to inheritance tax. If you have not nominated a person to receive a lump sum and you do not have a spouse, registered civil partner or qualifying partner the lump sum will be paid to your estate.

Payment of dependants’ pensions

These are payable for life to your legal spouse, registered civil partner, or qualifying partner from the date of your death. If you are not in a legally recognised relationship, you and your partner are required to complete a form to register your relationship. There are criteria that must be met for your partner to qualify for benefits and these will be checked in the event of your death. A form to nominate a non-legal partner can be downloaded from

Children’s pensions

Children’s pensions are paid until the age of 23. If the child remains unable to earn a living due to a condition which existed at the date of your death, the children’s pension can be paid indefinitely.

Maintaining Living Standards

The benefits payable to your dependents from the NHS may provide sufficient to cover the basics but if you wish to preserve your current standard of living you should ensure that you have sufficient independent life assurance. This is especially so if you have liabilities such as a mortgage.

Pensions for surviving partners can be paid to: a legal spouse; or a registered civil partner; or a nominated partner with whom you have an exclusive long-term committed relationship of at least two years and are either financially dependent or inter-dependent.

Under all NHS Pension Schemes, a survivor's pension for a member’s legal spouse, civil partner or nominated qualifying partner is payable for life, even if your spouse or partner remarries or begins living with someone as their spouse, civil partner or partner.

Deferred members have significantly reduced survivor benefits.