My elderly uncle is in prison. Is my aunt entitled to any of his state pension?

4 June 2018


My uncle has never claimed his state pension and is now in prison. My aunt is 78 and they are still married. Is she entitled to claim any, or all, of his state pension?



The short answer is that the state pension is not paid to prisoners.

The longer answer is that due to your aunt’s age, her state pension is paid under the old system. The way that the old system used to work was that each member of a couple could build up a pension in their own right. So, in principle, each member of a married couple could earn a full state pension. However, many women had gaps in their national insurance record or had paid the specially reduced ‘married woman’s stamp’ and so reached pension age with very limited pension entitlement in their own right.

In recognition of this fact, a married woman had the option to claim a pension at 60% of the full basic state pension rate, based on her husband’s record of national insurance contributions (NICs). This could be claimed when her husband reached state pension age. I assume that your aunt is already in receipt of her state pension, either calculated on her contributions or her husband’s record. This means your aunt will not be entitled to any further pension.

MIichelle Cracknell is chief executive of the Pensions Advisory Service.