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Pension After Husband Has Died

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iloveglee | 19:53 Wed 08th Jan 2020 | Business & Finance
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I wonder if anyone can help me to give advice to a friend who has just lost her husband. She's concerned as to how much state pension she will get now she is on her own.

She has never paid national insurance contributions on her own behalf, as when she was working, she was able to pay the 'married woman's contribution'. She did get some state pension paid to her, but it was based on her husbands contribution. I don't know how much pension her husband got, and whether the total amount they were paid was split somehow between the two of them. I'm not familiar with the way this works as I paid insurance contributions so it's different for me.

Now that he has died, she's finding it a bit difficult to work out how much she will get. The information available on various websites, including the you.gov one is pretty confusing to someone who doesn't really do internet information, and for someone like me who does, I'm finding it a bit disconcerting as well.

She does get an occupational pension on her own behalf, and it seems as though her husband's pension provides for her to have half of that.

She was born in 1938, and he was born in 1937 so they both retired well before the pension arrangements changed. I believe that his pension was contracted out, so I don't think he got any of the extra pension, i.e. the SERPS.

He has only died a couple of weeks ago, and the death has only just been registered. All of the information has gone to the relevant places, and I'm sure this will all be revealed in due course. She is though getting pretty anxious and stressed and is convinced that she isn't going to have enough to manage. Because she has her own and half of her husbands occupational pensions (not that it was a huge sum), she is by no means going to be destitute, and I am sure all this is mixed up with being bereaved, but I'd just like to be able to give her a bit of reassurance.

Thanks in advance

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oh I know exactly how she must feel as I have been in the same situation. She can phone the pensions office (DWP) she may have to hold on the phone for a while but they can do the calculation for her and give her an answer by letter quite quickly. They were lovely with me, as were the tax office. She may also be able to claim bereavement allowance and she should ask about this. It used to be payable for a year but not sure what the rules are now. My condolences. btw she will have to phone herself, they won't talk to anyone else about her affairs.
Bereavement Allowance has been replaced but it's for those under state pension age I think.

https://www.gov.uk/bereavement-support-payment

She may well be eligible for Pension Credit too.
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thank you for the information. I am trying to remember how things were when my parents died, but in that event it was the person who had no entitlement to a pension from own contributions that died first so it was different.

I had thought that pension credit was means tested so presumably as she has occupational pension she'd not get that. I will tell her that the best thing to do, if she wants an answer without waiting for it to go through the system, to phone them. As you can imagine, her head is all over the place at the moment, because the funeral is having to be so delayed due to it being such a busy time, I think she feels like she is in some kind of limbo until its taken place.

She was getting concerned about the funeral, paying for it etc, but I have managed to reassure her that they will not press her for payment. I had a really difficult time sorting out with the savings account when my mum died as it was in her name only, and they didn't have a will. it wasn't that my did wouldn't get it but the bank we were dealing with were completely hopeless with their communication. The funeral directors just said no worried, when you get the money then pay it.

There is so much to think about at a time like this, she does have a daughter but she is useless at anything like this.
It's hard enough when your Husband dies - all the things that need doing I know.

Pensions people are very helpful.
It does vary from person to person but I found that the limbo time was helped by having objective practical things to do...I had a whole list of stuff like all the things that had to be moved into my name, gas electric, you know the stuff, sorting out pension and so on. It stopped me thinking.
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I can certainly understand the logic around having the practicalities to deal with certainly does help you to try to begin to pick up the threads, which at the time seems that you'll never be able to again, but of course you do.

We have sat down together just briefly, and although I don't like asking people questions about their finances because its not my business, but I just got her to tell me how much her pension is, and how much her husband's was. excepting state pension. then we went through what expenses every month you have no choice but to pay, and things that you pay that you could usefully get rid of. Also, things that you could quite easily, with help if you aren't an internet person, get cheaper, example check you're getting the best deal for utilities, change from water bills to a meter, things like that.

Also, as well what she hadn't taken into consideration was how much spread over a monthly basis a car actually costs you. She doesn't drive so the car, and all its expenses will be going. I think she's beginning to understand that with no mortgage to pay, your monthly bills don't have to be huge. Plus when you have a pretty good income coming in, you aren't always as frugal as you might be.

Between us, I think some of her anxieties have been alleviated, and the state pension will take care of itself.
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This has all led to me considering my own position. Heaven forfend that my husband will die any time soon, he's only 72 and in pretty good health, but you never know.

He has a pretty good amount a month from serps and I was under the impression that I would inherit 50% of that on his death. Looking at the website, it's less than helpful (fancy that). It shows that men born 1945 and after, and women born 1950 and after, the widow gets 50% but it does not explain how a woman, born in 1948 and married to a man born in 1947 stands!!

I stand to lose quite a bit if left a widow, I get a very small occupational pension, and do not have a full 30, or 35 years national insurance contributions on my own behalf. I'll get half of his occupational pension, and I currently get a pension based on my own contributions, which was about 18 years worth, but it's obviously a reduced not a full pension.

Its all a bit grisly thinking about this, but its become apparent that it's best to know a great deal in advance so as to prepare for whatever eventuality comes your way.

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