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Armed Forces Pensions – Dependents Benefits

Published 06/08/2020 12:28:00, by Marina Maher

Armed Forces Pensions – Dependents Benefits 

One of the difficult but important subjects to address when leaving the Royal Navy or Royal Marines is to ensure that you and your family understand the consequences of your death, on your pension and more importantly perhaps the benefits that may, or may not be paid to your loved ones after your tragic passing.  Below is a very general guide to the dependents benefits associated with each of the three existing schemes.   IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT A PENSION DOES NOT HAVE TO BE IN PAYMENT FOR DEPENDENTS TO RECEIVE IMMEDIATE BENEFITS AFTER THE ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS DEATH!   

Armed Forces Pension Scheme 75 

  • Spouses and Civil Partners should receive a proportion of the deceased’s service pension (varying between 33-50%) for life.  The amount will vary depending on start date of qualifying service of the pension member and whether their death was judged attributable to the service in anyway.   
  • Benefits are payable from the day after the date of death. 
  • Surviving spouses from marriages and civil partnerships that take place after the service person has left the service are also eligible for benefits as long as the ceremony took place after 1st Apr 1978 and was over a year from death. 
  • From 2015 surviving spouses/partners can remarry or co-habit without prejudice to any pension benefits. 
  • If a pension has not been in payment before – ie death took place before any benefits were received then a tax free lump sum may also be payable, depending on circumstances. 
  • A pension is paid to an eligible child up to age 17 or until they cease in full time education or training up to the age of 23 .  Payment is up to one quarter of the member’s pension for one child or half the members pension divided equally between the eligible children, with no child receiving more than a quarter of the pension. 

Please note that former (divorced) spouses or civil partners do not any right to dependents benefits – however surviving children of the marriage/partnership may do under the provisions above. 

Armed Forces Pension Schemes 05 & 15 

  • Pensions for spouses, civil partners, eligible partners are paid from the day after death of the service individual but they must be claimed!  They are usually 62.5% of the value of the pension members annual benefits. 
  • Eligible partners (as mentioned above) are described as, and will need to prove the following: 
    • The person with whom the member was cohabiting as partners in a substantial, exclusive, committed relationship. 
    • The person and the member were not prevented from marrying or entering a civil partnership. 
    • Either the person was financially dependent on the member or they were financially interdependent. 
  • Eligible children (natural or adopted) of the deceased pension member are usually entitled to benefits up to the age of 18 or until they cease in full time education or training up to the age of 23.  Payment is 25% of the members pension for one child or the remaining 37.5% divided equally between all eligible children. 
  • Lump sums will be paid to the individuals or organisations nominated by the pension scheme member or, if there is no nomination, to his spouse, civil partner, or partner. 

Similarly to the AFPS 75 scheme, spouses who are divorced or former partners once the partnership has been dissolved are not entitled to any benefits from the deceased’s pension scheme – but again surviving children (satisfying the criteria above) might be. 

Should tragedy strike and the service spouse or partner dies with either an “in-payment” or deferred pension then please contact the following address as soon as possible: 

Veterans UK 

Pensions Division 

Mail Point 480 

Kentigern House 

65 Brown Street 


G2 8EX 


Tel: 0141 224 3600 (Enquiry Service) 

Email: Veterans-uk@mod.uk  


Or give the White Ensign Association a ring and we will assist you in establishing contact and understanding what you are entitled to. 


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