DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
e-mail: [email address].
Our Ref: VTR2886 & review no 3136
Dear Mr Godfrey
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 11th November.
You asked for a list of the differences between married couples and civil partners in Pension
benefit entitlements (both State and Private). As there are a number of different types of both
State and private pensions I have provided the information you have requested below under
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
DWP Central FoI Team
Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act
If you are not happy with this response you may request an internal review by e-mailing freedom-of-information-
[email address] or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, 5th Floor The Adelphi, 1-11, John Adam Street,
London WC2N 6HT. Any review request should be submitted within two months of the date of this letter.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may apply directly to the Information
Commissioner’s Office for a decision. Generally the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk
State Pension – Category A, D & C, Christmas Bonus and 25p Age addition
There are no differences by virtue of being in a civil partnership rather than a marriage for the
following as they are all based on individual entitlement:
• Basic State Pension - Category A State Pensions;
• Over 80 Pension - Category D State Pensions;
• Christmas Bonus; and
• Over 80’s 25p Age Addition.
For completeness, although virtually obsolete, Category C State Pensions, do have links to
inheritance. The details are:
• Category C Pensions were introduced in 1971 as non-contributory pensions for the very
elderly. They were introduced to protect the position of those who had already reached
State Pension age in 1948, and their spouses – surviving spouses could inherit. The
remaining 30 cases listed are all payable to surviving wives.
• The entitlement conditions for Category C Pensions were that the person concerned was:
over State Pension age on 5.July 1948;
resident in GB for a period at least 10 years between the inclusive dates 5 July 1948
and 1 November 1970; and
ordinarily resident in GB on 2 November 1970 or on the date of their claim for
Category C State Pension.
Category B State pensions and inheritence of Additonal State Pension
The basic State Pension is paid as an individual benefit. However, a person whose own basic
State Pension entitlement is less than £58.50 (April 2010 rates) may receive a State Pension
based on their spouse’s or civil partner’s National Insurance contribution record (called a
Category B pension). The maximum amount they can receive in combination with any basic
State Pension of their own is £58.50 per week.
To qualify, both they and their spouse or civil partner must have reached State Pension age.
Differences exist for married men and civil partners in that their wife or civil partner must have
been born on or after 6 April 1950. This means that the earliest a married man or female civil
partner could qualify for a Category B State Pension was 6 May 2010 (when a woman born on
6 April 1950 reached State Pension age). The earliest a male civil partner could qualify for a
Category B State Pension will be 6 April 2015 (when a man born on 6 April 1950 will reach
State Pension age).
Widows, widowers and surviving civil partners may also be entitled to a Category B pension or
an increase to their own basic State Pension using the National Insurance contribution record
of their late husband, late wife or late civil partner. They may also be able to inherit part of their
late husband’s, late wife’s or late civil partner’s additional State Pension on top of their own.
A Category B pension for a widow, widower or surviving civil partner may be payable when
they reach State Pension age, and depends on their age and their late spouse’s or late civil
partner’s age at the time they were bereaved.
When bereavement occurs under State Pension age, the Category B pension for the surviving
spouse or surviving civil partner, if applicable, will consist of inheritable additional State
Pension only, unless they were receiving Widowed Parent’s Allowance up to State Pension
age when it will also include basic State Pension of up to £97.65 (April 2010 rates).
When bereavement occurs after State Pension age, the Category B pension, if applicable, will
comprise basic State Pension and inheritable additional State Pension.
The rules are the same for widows, widowers and surviving civil partners where the survivor
was under State Pension age when their late spouse or late civil partner died and the death
occurred on or after 9 April 2001; or where they were both over State Pension age when the
death occurred. In all cases of bereavement under State Pension age, no Category B pension
is payable if the survivor remarries or forms a new civil partnership before State Pension age.
Differences exist where a widower or surviving civil partner is bereaved after reaching State
Pension age, but their late wife or late civil partner is under State Pension age when they die.
In these circumstances a widower or surviving civil partner is only eligible for a Category B
pension if they reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2010 and is bereaved over State
However, a widower or surviving civil partner who reaches State Pension age before 6 April
2010 who is bereaved over State Pension age, but their late wife or late civil partner is under
State Pension age when they die, may be able to substitute their late wife’s or late civil
partner’s National Insurance contribution record for their own to increase their basic State
If a person is bereaved under State Pension age and the late spouse or late civil partner had
deferred claiming his or her State Pension, a widower or surviving civil partner is entitled to
either a lump-sum payment or extra State Pension in respect of the State Pension the
deceased had deferred only if the widower or surviving civil partner reaches State Pension age
on or after 6 April 2010. Inheritance of State Pension deferral by surviving wives, husbands and civil partners.
The basic State Pension is paid as an individual entitlement. However, when they come to
claim their State Pension a person may inherit a State Pension deferral reward from their late
husband, wife or civil partner provided certain criteria are satisfied. State Pension deferral is
when a person delays claiming their State Pension for at least five weeks after reaching State
Differences in inheritance rules exist for married men and civil partners who attain State
Pension age before 6 April 2010. When they claim their State Pension married women may
inherit from their late husband irrespective of their own age on the day their husband died.
Prior to 6 April 2010 married men and civil partners could only inherit from their late wife or civil
partner if they themselves had also attained State Pension age on the day their spouse or civil
partner died. From 6 April 2010 married men and civil partners who are under State Pension
age when their wife or civil partner dies will be able to inherit a deferral reward provided they
themselves reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2010.
If a husband had put off claiming his State Pension before he died, his wife may be able to get
extra State Pension or a lump-sum payment for the period he had put off his claim, if she:
was married to him on the date he died; •
has claimed her State Pension; and •
had not remarried or formed a civil partnership before she reached State Pension age.
If a wife or civil partner had put off claiming their State Pension before they died, the surviving
husband or surviving civil partner may be able to get extra State Pension or a lump-sum
payment for the period their wife or civil partner put off claiming if they:
were married or in a civil partnership with them on the date they died; •
have claimed their State Pension;
were over State Pension age when their wife or civil partner died; or •
were under State Pension age when their wife or civil partner died, and they did not remarry
or form a civil partnership before they reached State Pension age and
they reached State
Pension age on or after 6 April 2010.
Any extra State Pension or lump-sum payment they may get because their husband, wife or
civil partner put off claiming their State Pension is on top of any extra State Pension or lump-
sum payment they may have earned by putting off claiming their own State Pension. Pension Credit
There are no differences in the rules for Pension Credit for those who are civil partners, living
together as if they are civil partners, those married or those living together as if they are
married. Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) and Pensions Protection Fund (PPF)
People in civil partnerships and marriages are treated alike for both FAS and PPF purposes. Private Pensions
The only such difference of which we are aware for private pensions is in respect of
entitlement to a survivor pension in a contracted-out occupational or personal pension scheme,
where entitlement would be based on service from 1988 onwards. This is the same basis on
which a widower would be entitled to a survivor pension.