This section provides you and your loved ones with helpful information about what happens to your BCSSS pension in the event of your death, including points of contact and possible death benefits. More information about the Scheme’s procedures on death can be found in the procedures on death factsheet.
Overview of Death Benefit
Please contact the Scheme administrator as soon as possible to let them know about the death. There are a number of ways in which you can do this, please do what is most convenient for you:
Telephone the Member Helpline on:
Write to the Scheme Administrator, BCSSS, PO Box 555, Stead House, Darlington, DL1 9YT
In all correspondence please provide: the member’s pension reference number or National Insurance number; date of death and the name and address of the person dealing with the death. It would also be helpful to know if the member leaves a widow/widower/civil partner or someone who was financially dependent on them.
What happens next?
If the member is receiving their pension the Scheme administrator will stop payment of the pension. They will contact the family and ask for any missing information so they can provide details of any benefits due from the Scheme.
If you retired on grounds of ill health, the lump sum payable in the event of death is: three times your pensionable salary at the date of leaving service less the pension payments already paid.
If you retired for reasons other than ill health, your pension is guaranteed to be paid for five years and your lifetime thereafter. If you die within the five-year guarantee period, the balance of pension due to be paid in that period is paid as a lump sum.
If your BCSSS pension is not yet in payment, the lump sum death benefit will depend on your contributory service and your date of death in relation to Normal Pensionable Age.
Generally, only the period during which you paid Family Benefit Contributions (FBCs) is considered when working out whether family benefits are payable, and not the length of your contributing membership, if this is different.
The following is a summary of the arrangements which applied to contributing members:
- Men have always had the right to pay FBCs on joining the Scheme.
- Payment of FBCs was made compulsory for married men who joined the Scheme from 1952.
- Payment of FBCs was compulsory for all men from April 1978.
- Women were given the right to pay for family benefits from April 1980 (prior to this the right only existed where the spouse or children were fully dependant on the contributor).
- Contributors were able to purchase additional years for family benefits for earlier service when FBCs were not paid.
- From April 1993, all women accrued family benefits.
- A Family Benefit Contribution holiday began on April 1993 and continued until the Scheme was closed on privatisation.
BCSSS members can name the person or persons they would like to receive any cash sum payable on their death. Cash sums are payable in respect of members who die before their pension has come into payment or who die within the ‘guarantee period’ (five years for most members) after their pension starts.
The Trustees have a discretionary power to pay any cash sum on death to a relative or dependant rather than to your estate. Although (mainly for tax reasons) trustees cannot be forced to follow your wishes, the Scheme’s Trustees will, if you complete a form, be able to take them into account. You can download and complete a form below, or you can obtain a copy from the administration office.
If you have already completed a Death Benefit Election & Declaration Form, please think about whether your circumstances have changed and if it might need to be updated.
If you die, a pension may be payable to your spouse or civil partner.
If you die and you lived with your partner who you weren’t married to, a pension may be payable to your partner if they were financially dependent on you.
A child allowance is payable to any child born before the first anniversary of the date you left contributing service and who at the time of your death is under age 18, or 21 if in full-time education.
If, at the time of your death, you were financially responsible for a child and the Scheme’s Medical Advisor certifies them as being disabled and incapable of self-support, a child allowance could be payable to them for life. Individual cases will be dealt with by the Scheme administrator as they arise.