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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Social security pensions: widow's pension

Part 9 Chapter 5 ITEPA 2003

Widow’s pension is payable weekly. It can be made up of two elements:

  • a basic pension, which is payable at reduced rates for younger widows
  • an earnings-related additional pension depending on the late husband’s contribution record.

There are no increases for dependent children. The pension can be paid until the widow reaches 65 but if she retires after reaching state pension age it will usually be replaced by the state pension. However the pension will stop if the widow remarries or payment will be suspended if she begins living with a man as his wife.

A widow cannot get both widow’s pension and widowed mother’s allowance. If she qualifies for widowed mother’s allowance she will get that allowance instead of the pension. Some younger widows do not qualify for any widow’s pension. For others the basic pension is payable at reduced rates.

Widow’s pension starts to be paid on:

  • the date of bereavement or, if widowed mother’s allowance is paid,
  • the date widowed mother’s allowance ends.

The amount of pension depends on the widow’s age at the time of bereavement or when her entitlement to widowed mother’s allowance finishes:

  • widows aged 55 or over on the relevant date get the basic pension
  • widows aged 45 to 55 on the relevant date receive a reduced pension. The reduction is 7% from the basic amount for every year below 55.
  • widows aged under 45 on the relevant date do not receive any pension.

A widow will remain in the same widow’s pension band until pension ceases to be paid. The two sets of band are set out on forms P242.

Widow’s pension is taxable.

Widow’s pension was replaced by bereavement allowance (see EIM76173) for new claimants on or after 9 April 2001, but widows in receipt of widow’s pension before that date continue to receive widow’s pension.