Death Benefits

Death before retirement?

If you die in Service before you reach age 60 and before your benefits have commenced, the Scheme will pay:

  • a refund of your own contributions (including your AVCs) plus interest linked to price inflation, up to a maximum of 5% a year;
  • a spouse's or civil partner’s pension; and
  • children's allowances.

Refund of Contributions

To avoid Inheritance Tax, the Trustee has the final decision on who should receive the refund of contributions, however, your wishes will be taken into account wherever possible. It is very important that you let the Trustee know who you would like to be considered by completing an Expression of Wish Form, which is available from Punter Southall. You should make sure you complete a new form if your circumstances change, such as if you marry, divorce, change or acquire an adult partner or have children.

Spouse's or Civil Partner's Pension

The spouse's pension is equal to half your pension at the date you die.

This pension is payable to your spouse if you are married and living together when you die.

If you have a same-sex civil partner (with whom you have been through a formal ceremony under the Civil Partnership Act), and you were living together at the date of your death, there will be a pension payable to him or her equal to the aggregate of half the pension you built up in the Scheme for Service between 5 December 2005 and 30 September 2007 and any pension payable from the Scheme to your partner as a result of contracting-out of the State Second Pension between 6 April 1988 and 4 December 2005. The Trustee has the discretion, if Comet agrees, to grant a pension of half your total pension at the date of death, and not just the part that relates to Service since 5 December 2005 or contracted-out Service since 6 April 1988.

The Trustee may reduce your spouse's or civil partner’s pension if you have been married or in the civil partnership (as the case may be) for less than a year when you die, and your spouse or civil partner is more than 20 years younger than you.

A pension will be payable if you are married or have a civil partner but are separated from your spouse or civil partner. However, the Trustee Directors may decide to pay part of this pension to another person if they are satisfied that this person is someone who is financially dependent on you, such as an unmarried partner.

If you are unmarried and have no civil partner, the Trustee Directors have the discretion to pay a pension to another person if they are satisfied that this person is someone who is financially dependent on you, such as your unmarried partner.

If you have more than one person who qualifies as a spouse or civil partner, the Trustee will decide how to split the pension.

Children's Allowances

The Scheme may pay allowances to your children while they are under 18 (or under 22 if in full-time education approved by the Trustee). A child’s allowance can be paid until the child’s 23rd birthday even if the child is not in full-time education or training if the Trustee and Comet agree. If you retired prior to 6 April 2006, the Trustee may decide to continue any child’s allowance up to age 25, if the child is in full-time education, which they took up before their 22nd birthday.

All your children will be considered for allowances, including adopted children and stepchildren. It is important that you tell the Trustee, in writing, about any children born outside marriage or who do not live with you.

For one child, the allowance is a quarter of your pension at the date of your death.

For two or more children, the total allowance is a half of your pension at the date of your death. This allowance will be split equally between the children.

Death in retirement

If you die while you are receiving your pension, the Scheme will pay:

  • a spouse's or civil partner’s pension;
  • children's allowances; and
  • a cash lump sum (in certain circumstances only).

Spouse's and civil partner’s pension

The spouse's pension is equal to half the pension you were receiving or, if more, half the pension you would have been receiving if you had chosen not to take a cash lump sum or exchange pension for a dependant’s pension at retirement.

This pension is payable to your spouse if you are married and living together when you die.

If you have a same-sex civil partner (with whom you have been through a formal ceremony under the Civil Partnership Act), and you were living together at the date of your death there will be a pension payable to your civil partner equal to the aggregate of half the pension you built up in the Scheme for Service between 5 December 2005 and 30 September 2007 and any pension payable from the Scheme to your partner as a result of contracting-out of the State Second Pension between 6 April 1988 and 4 December 2005. The Trustee has the discretion, if Comet agrees, to grant a pension of half your total pension at the date of death, and not just the part that relates to Service since 5 December 2005 or contracted-out Service since 6 April 1988.

The Trustee may reduce your spouse's or civil partner’s pension if you have been married or in the civil partnership (as the case may be) for less than a year when you die, and your spouse or civil partner is more than 20 years younger than you.

A pension will be payable if you are married or have a civil partner but are separated from him or her. However, the Trustee may decide to pay part of this pension to another person if they are satisfied that this person is someone who is financially dependent on you, such as an unmarried partner.

If you are unmarried and have no civil partner, the Trustee has the discretion to pay a pension to another person if they are satisfied that this person is someone who is financially dependent on you, such as your partner.

If you have more than one person who qualifies as a spouse or civil partner, the Trustee will decide how to split the pension.

Children's allowances

The Scheme may pay allowances to your children while they are under 18 (or under 22 if in full-time education approved by the Trustee). A child’s allowance can be paid until the child’s 23rd birthday even if the child is not in full-time education or training if the Trustee and Comet agree. If you retired prior to 6 April 2006, the Trustee may decide to continue any child’s allowance up to age 25, if the child is in full-time education, which they took up before their 22nd birthday.

All your children will be considered for allowances, including adopted children and stepchildren. It is important that you tell the Trustee, in writing, about any children born outside marriage or who do not live with you.

For one child, the allowance is a quarter of the pension you were receiving, or if more, a quarter of the pension you would have been receiving if you had chosen not to take a cash lump sum at retirement.

For two or more children, the total allowance is half of the pension you were receiving or, if more, would have been receiving if you had chosen not to take a cash lump sum at retirement. This allowance will be split equally between the children.

Cash lump sum

• The Scheme will make a lump sum payment if: you die less than five years after your pension started and before your 75th birthday; and
• any pensions payable to your spouse, civil partner, dependant or children cease within five years of your pension starting.

This is equal to the total of the pension payments that you would have received during the remainder of the five-year period (ignoring any future increases) less any tax-free cash sum taken by you at retirement and less any pension instalments paid to your spouse, civil partner, dependants or children.