Can I still claim my late husband’s contributions to top up my pension?

30 May 2019


My husband died in September 2009 aged 66. I am now 73 and have been told that I could have a higher pension if I had claimed a top-up from my husband’s contributions. Is that true and if so, is it too late to make a claim?



When you talk about your pension, I am assuming that you are referring to your state pension.

As you both reached state pension age before 2016 then you are covered by the basic state pension regime, which does allow for the state pension to be inherited by spouses. 

When your husband died, any top-up should have been made automatically. This can take two forms – if you did have an incomplete basic state pension then HMRC could have used your late husband’s national insurance record to give you a larger amount. Also, if he had any SERPs pension, you should have automatically inherited at least half of that – and possibly more – on your husband’s death.

If it hasn’t done this then you may be entitled to backdated payments. You don’t provide details of how much state pension you are receiving but if you are currently getting less than the full basic state pension (currently £129.20 a week) then this could be a sign that top-ups have not been made.

I would urge you to contact the Pension Service (0800 731 7898) as soon as possible with the details of how much state pension you are currently receiving. They should be able to tell you if top-ups have been made.