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Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2015

Section 8: Choice of lump sum or survivor’s pension under section 9 in certain casesSection 9: Survivor’s pension based on inheritance of deferred old state pensionSection 10: Inheritance of graduated retirement benefitSchedule 5: Survivor’s pension under section 9: inherited deferral amount

In the current retirement pension scheme, individuals can choose not to claim their state pension at pensionable age and, as a consequence, will qualify for either an increase to their weekly pension (known as increments) or for a lump-sum payment from the point they claim (subject to some conditions). This is known as deferral.

These sections and Schedule 5 relate to the inheritance of deferred state pensions and deferral awards under the current retirement pension scheme (see sections 16 to 18 below for an explanation of how deferral will work under the new state pension scheme). Where a late spouse or civil partner reached pensionable age before the start date of the new state pension and deferred their state pension, the survivor can inherit the deceased’s deferred pension (regardless of whether they reach pensionable age before or after the start date) as under the current rules. Regulations may also provide for the inheritance of deferred graduated retirement benefit. It is not, however, possible for a person who reaches pensionable age on or after the start date to pass on deferral increments to his or her spouse or civil partner.

However, unlike the current inheritance arrangements, the provisions in Schedule 5 mean that, for an individual who reaches pensionable age on or after the start date of the new state pension, it will no longer be possible to inherit increments that were accrued by his or her late spouse or civil partner’s former spouse or civil partner, except for any increments that the individual’s deceased spouse built up on any increments that he or she inherited. For example, B (who reached pensionable age before the start date) is deferring his pension (which includes increments accrued by his late wife, A) and is now married to his second wife, C (who reached pensionable age after the start date). B dies and C inherits increments from him that are paid with her pension. C cannot inherit increments from B that were originally accrued by A's period of deferral. C will, however, be able to inherit the increments that B may have built up on any increments that he inherited from A.

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