Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what this means

HMRC internal manual

Pensions Tax Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Death benefits: types of pension: dependants’ drawdown pension: all types of dependants’ drawdown pension (up to 5 April 2015)

Glossary PTM000001
   

 

Dependants’ drawdown pension
Conditions for paying a dependants’ drawdown pension
Different types of dependants’ drawdown pension
The maximum dependants’ drawdown pension payable
Putting a dependant’s drawdown pension into payment
Dependants’ drawdown pension and the lifetime allowance
Taxation of a drawdown pension
Transferring a dependants’ drawdown pension in payment to another pension scheme
Switching to dependants’ capped drawdown

Note: a dependant’s flexible drawdown fund in existence immediately before 6 April 2015 is from that date automatically treated as a flexi-access drawdown fund, which have different rules.

Note: dependant’s capped drawdown that began on or before 5 April 2015 may continue, providing there have been no events since that date resulting in its conversion to flexi-access drawdown. But no new dependants’ capped drawdown funds or dependants’ flexible drawdown funds may be set up from 6 April 2015 onwards.

See page PTM072400 for guidance on dependants’ flexi-access drawdown funds.

Dependants’ drawdown pension

Section 167 Finance Act 2004

A dependants’ drawdown pension can only be paid from an other money purchase arrangement or a cash balance arrangement. A defined benefits arrangement cannot pay a dependants’ drawdown pension. So if the pension scheme that is paying a dependants’ pension does not have an other money purchase arrangement or cash balance arrangement they cannot pay a dependants’ drawdown pension.

A pension scheme does not have to pay pension in the form of a dependants’ drawdown pension. Many pension schemes do not offer this option.

Top of page

Conditions for paying a dependants’ drawdown pension

Section 167(2) Finance Act 2004

Paragraph 16 Schedule 28 Finance Act 2004

Only a dependant of the scheme member can get a dependants’ drawdown pension.

Under the tax rules a dependants’ drawdown pension can only be paid if:

  • the dependant was married to, or a civil partner of, the member when they died
  • where the scheme rules allow for this, the dependant was married to or a civil partner of the member when they first started drawing pension from that pension scheme
  • the dependant is a child of the member and less than 23 years old
  • the dependant is a child of the member aged 23 or over and when the member died was dependant on them because of a physical or mental impairment, or
  • the dependant was neither married to, nor a civil partner of, nor a child of the member but when the member died the dependant was:

    • financially dependent on the member,
    • in a financial relationship with the member of mutual dependency, or
    • dependent on the member because of a physical or mental impairment.

A dependants’ pension can only be paid following the death of a member. There is no lower or upper age limit for paying a dependants’ drawdown pension.

Top of page

Different types of dependants’ drawdown pension

Paragraph 18 Schedule 28 Finance Act 2004

A dependants’ drawdown pension comes in two basic forms:

  • dependants’ income withdrawal, and
  • a dependants’ short-term annuity.

With dependants’ income withdrawal, a dependant pension is paid directly from the pension scheme.

With a dependants’ short-term annuity some of the dependants’ drawdown pension fund will be used to buy an annuity contract from an insurer that will pay the dependant a certain income each year for a fixed period of up to five years.

There are two forms of income withdrawal, subject to different rules:

  • capped drawdown, and
  • flexible drawdown.

Provided the scheme offers the option, from any other money purchase arrangement or cash balance arrangement the dependant can have a dependants’ drawdown pension paid as:

  • capped drawdown
  • capped drawdown and dependants’ short-term annuity
  • dependants’ short-term annuity
  • flexible drawdown, or
  • flexible drawdown and dependants’ short-term annuity.

See PTM072320 for more information about capped drawdown.
See PTM072330 for more information about flexible drawdown.
See PTM072340 for more information about dependants’ short-term annuities.

Please note there is no minimum amount applicable for a dependants’ drawdown pension.

Top of page

The maximum dependants’ drawdown pension payable

Section 167 Pension death benefit rule 4 Finance Act 2004

The maximum amount depends on whether the dependant is taking a dependants’ drawdown pension as dependants’ capped drawdown or dependants’ flexible drawdown.

If the dependant is taking dependants’ drawdown pension as capped drawdown, there is a limit on the amount of pension that can be taken each year from each pension arrangement providing dependants’ capped drawdown pension. This limit applies to the total payments taken as dependants’ capped drawdown and dependants’ short-term annuities from the arrangement.

If the dependant is taking the dependants’ drawdown pension as flexible drawdown this maximum limit does not apply to the pension arrangement providing the flexible dependants’ drawdown pension. The dependant can take as much pension as they like from a pension arrangement using flexible drawdown.

A dependant can only take their pension using flexible drawdown if certain conditions are met.

See PTM072330 onwards for more information about flexible drawdown.
See PTM072330 for more information on the maximum amount of drawdown pension that can be taken each year.

Dependant exceeds the maximum amount of dependants’ drawdown pension

Section 160(2) Finance Act 2004

If a dependants’ income withdrawal plus any dependants’ short-term annuity payments for an arrangement are more than the maximum dependants’ drawdown pension for a pension year the amount over the limit will be classed as an unauthorised payment. See PTM130000.

Tax-free lump sum

The dependant cannot have a tax-free lump sum when they start to take a dependants’ drawdown pension.

Top of page

Putting a dependant’s drawdown pension into payment

Paragraph 22 Schedule 28 Finance Act 2004

A dependant can start a dependants’ drawdown pension by ‘designating’ part or all of their dependants’ pension funds to provide them with a dependants’ drawdown pension. This means that the dependant must tell their scheme administrator that they want to use £x to provide themselves with a drawdown pension. The funds that have been put aside (designated) to provide dependants’ drawdown pension will form the ‘dependants’ drawdown pension fund’. The dependants’ drawdown pension will be paid from that dependants’ drawdown pension fund.

Each pension scheme that offers dependants’ drawdown will have its own processes for documenting how the dependant designates benefits into dependants’ drawdown pension.

Having designated dependants’ funds into dependants’ drawdown pension, the dependant can choose how much and when a dependants’ drawdown pension will be paid. They can choose to get regular payments or just draw funds when they wish to.

If the scheme allows, the dependant can use part of their funds to provide a dependants’ drawdown pension and another part to provide a dependants’ pension in another form, for example a dependants’ annuity.

Top of page

Dependants’ drawdown pension and the lifetime allowance

Section 216 Finance Act 2004

The dependants’ drawdown pension is not tested against the lifetime allowance.

Top of page

Taxation of a drawdown pension

Sections 579A to 579D and 683 Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003

Regulation 11 Income Tax (Pay As You Earn) Regulations 2003 - SI 2003/2682

Income tax is due on any payment from a dependants’ drawdown pension. If the dependants’ drawdown pension is being paid as either capped drawdown or flexible drawdown, tax is due on any payments the dependant receives in a tax year. If the dependants’ drawdown pension is being paid using a short-term annuity, the taxable amount is the amount due to be paid in the tax year under the terms of the contract, even if the dependant does not get the payment in the tax year.

The pension scheme (or the insurer paying the short-term annuity) should deduct the tax due using the PAYE system before making the payment.

Top of page

Transferring a dependants’ drawdown pension in payment to another pension scheme

Regulation 12 The Registered Pension Schemes (Transfer of Sums and Assets) Regulations - SI 2006/499

A dependant is allowed to transfer their benefits in payment to another pension scheme. If the transfer does not meet the following conditions

  • the transfer must be made to a new ‘empty’ pension arrangement, and
  • the benefits must be provided on a like-for-like basis. So, for example, if the dependants’ drawdown pension is being provided as a dependants’ short-term annuity, it must continue to be paid as a dependants’ short-term annuity or if the dependants’ drawdown pension is being provided as income withdrawal, it must continue to be paid as income withdrawal,

it will be an unauthorised payment and will be taxed accordingly. See PTM130000.

If the dependants’ drawdown pension started on or after 6 April 2011, the maximum amount of dependants’ drawdown pension a dependant can get will not change on the transfer.

If the dependants’ drawdown pension started before 6 April 2011, the transfer can trigger a review of the maximum amount of dependants’ drawdown pension available.

Top of page

Switching to dependants’ capped drawdown

Paragraphs 16 and 17 Schedule 28 Finance Act 2004

If the dependant is currently receiving a dependants’ scheme pension or has recently purchased a dependants’ lifetime annuity, the dependant cannot convert their existing dependants’ scheme pension or dependants’ lifetime annuity into drawdown pension.