What happens if I die?

This section provides information about what to do in the event of a member’s death.

If a member isn’t married when they die, any partner or other beneficiaries may need to provide evidence of their relationship and financial dependence on the member in order to claim any benefits which might be payable. The video below provides useful guidance under these circumstances as well as other important information regarding benefits payable on death. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Download the video transcript

Contacting the Scheme Administrator

Please contact the Scheme Administrator as soon as possible. There are a number of ways in which you can do this:

Telephone the Member Helpline on:
0333 222 0077

Write to:

PO Box 555,
Stead House,


In all correspondence please let us know the member’s pension reference number, the date of death and the name and address of the person dealing with our member’s affairs. Please also let us know if the member leaves a widow, a widower or a civil partner, or someone who was financially dependent on them


What happens next?

Once the Scheme Administrator has been advised of a member’s death, they will stop payment of the pension and write to ask for any additional information required, so they can provide details of any remaining benefits due from the Scheme.

Pensions for spouses, partners & adult dependants

Leavers before 6 April 1978
In most cases, no widow’s pension is payable. If you are unsure, the Scheme Administrator will be able to confirm the benefits which would be due following your death.

Leavers after 6 April 1978

Widow’s pension

A widow will receive a pension of two-thirds of the member’s total weekly pension. If at the date of death, the member has been married for less than six months, widow’s benefits would be payable at the discretion of the Trustees.

Where an MPS member starts to receive pension before reaching age 60, it is payable at a lower rate, with an early retirement reduction. That early retirement reduction ends on his death and would not apply to the calculation of any pension payable to his dependants.

Once in payment, a widow’s pension is payable for life and will not cease should she re-marry.

Widower’s pension

Members who died on or before 5 April 1988
There is generally no entitlement to a pension for the widowers of female Scheme members who died on or before 5 April 1988. The Scheme Administrator will be able to confirm whether a pension is payable.

Members who died on or after 6 April 1988
Where a female Scheme member died on or after 6 April 1988, benefits are payable to her widower. The benefits payable are calculated in the same way as widow’s benefits.

Once in payment, a widower’s pension is payable for life and will not cease should he re-marry.
Civil partners

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force on 5 December 2005. Since then, same-sex couples in the UK have been able to enter into a legally recognised relationship which gives a registered civil partner rights similar to those of spouses, including rights to pension scheme benefits. Benefits payable to a qualifying surviving civil partner would be payable on the same basis as the benefits payable to MPS widowers.


Lump sum death benefits

If you left after 6 April 1975, payments are guaranteed for five years from the date your pension is put into payment. If you die within five years of starting to draw your pension, any remaining instalments of pension due but unpaid are payable as a lump sum.

Nominating who you want to receive any death benefits

MPS members can name who they would like to receive any lump sum that might be payable on their death. Lump sums are payable in respect of members who die before their pension has come into payment or who die within the five year guarantee period after their pension is put into payment.

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 bound by your nomination, the Scheme’s Trustees will, if you complete an Expression of Wish form, be able to take your wishes into account. You can download and complete a form using this link or you can ask the Administration Office to send a copy to you. 

If you have previously completed an Expression of Wish form, please think about whether your circumstances have changed since then, and whether it might need to be updated.

Other dependants

The Rules give the Trustees some discretion on deciding how to pay particular benefits in certain circumstances. This includes the payment of dependant’s benefits on the death of a Scheme member. These benefits may be payable, depending on the circumstances, where an unmarried couple were living together as partners. The Trustees will take full account of all relevant information provided about a member’s circumstances in making a decision on the payment of discretionary Scheme benefits.

Benefits may also be paid, at the Trustees’ discretion, to a dependant who had care of the member’s children at the time of his death, or to a dependant (except someone already entitled to a child’s pension from the Scheme) who was being maintained by the member financially. The Trustees can review these discretionary benefits if a dependant’s circumstances change.

At any time, unmarried members can provide the Scheme Administrator with information about a person who is being maintained by the member financially and who they would like to be considered for a dependant’s pension on their death.

What information would be helpful?

Where a couple are legally married or in a civil partnership, it is relatively straightforward to establish entitlement to benefits following the member’s death by asking to see the marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate.

This is not possible, of course, where a couple who were unmarried were living together as partners. In such cases, we ask to see supporting evidence of the relationship and of the claimant’s financial dependency on the Scheme member. This could include confirmation of a shared bank account, letters, and utility bills addressed to both parties at the same address. We may also arrange for a visit from a representative of CISWO (the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation), as often a claimant may prefer to speak personally to give details of their circumstances.

In the interests of security, many people routinely destroy bank statements and other paperwork. However, if you are living with a partner who would wish to make a claim for dependant’s benefit after your death, please consider whether they would be able to provide the evidence we have outlined above to support their claim. We do not need to see this evidence before your death but it would help the Trustees to consider a claim for dependant’s benefit if it could be provided after your death.

Children’s benefits

Leavers before 6 April 1978
In most cases, no children’s benefit is payable. If you are unsure, the Scheme Administrator will be able to confirm the benefits which would be due following your death.

Leavers after 6 April 1978

Children’s benefit is payable to any child who at the time of your death is under age 16, or up to age 21 if the child is continuing in full time education.

If a member is survived by a child who the Scheme’s Medical Advisor certifies was permanently incapable of self-support due to a physical or mental infirmity which was present at the date of the member’s death, children’s benefit is payable to them for life.