Death in service pension information | Oxfordshire County Council

Death in service pension information

A guide following an employee’s death in service

You will find background information to members’ benefits in our leaflet Life Cover and Protection for your family (pdf format).

For employees who are either:

  • active members - contributing to the LGPS at the date of death and aged under 75
  • optants-out who have been contributing in the past, opted out of the LGPS in that employment and the fund now holds a deferred benefit, and are aged under 75
  • still employed, aged over 75, and the LGPS pension is being paid. 

Pension Services treat benefits following a death in service as their highest priority.

As soon as possible alert Pension Services with the essential information of the member’s death using the death in service notification form (doc format).

If you cannot send all the information immediately, complete what you can immediately and send to Pension Services. Send in further copies if you have more information before you submit the leaver details on the MARS (monthly administration report) return. 

What we need for:

LGPS contributors 

We need at the date of death:

A death in service notification form with:

  1. Member details
  2. Annual rate of assumed pensionable pay (AAPP).
    This provides us with a notional pensionable pay figure to assess death grant and survivors’ pension. The annual assumed pensionable pay for a death grant is calculated as the average of the pensionable pay for the member for the three months (or 12 weeks if weekly paid), starting with the pay period before the one in which the death occurred.
    This average figure is then grossed up to an annual rate and, when the employer policy provides, any regular lump sum payment from the previous 12 months is added in.
    It is essential you use the death in service notification form to tell us of this AAPP, you cannot use the MARS (monthly administration report) return to pass on this information.   
  3. Completed medical certificate
    Use an IRMP certificate to disregard a reduction in pensionable pay when the reason for the reduction is linked to the condition which caused or contributed to death. 
    The Death in Service notification form (v2015) refers to the medical statements needed. The medical opinion will allow the benefits to be assessed on the more representative pay figure for the enhancements for survivor pensions. See Ill Health Guidance
  4. Next of kin details
    We will use the contact details you can provide to collect information to help us determine eligibility and entitlement to benefits.
  5. Death Certificate
    If you have the certificate, please send a copy when you submit the Death in Service notification form. Please do not delay sending in the form while you wait for the certificate or other information. Send in a further form as you receive more details. 
  6. Authorised
    The form should be completed and signed by the HR or payroll contact recognised by pension services.

ii A MARS return

You must submit the completed leaver tab on the MARS (monthly administration report) return to the email account before the 19th of the month following the relevant month, to show  

  • death as the reason for leaving, and
  • the appropriate CARE details of pay, and
  • the details needed for the ‘final pay’ calculation.

Optant outs

The Death in Service notification form

Complete the member details with:

  1. Next of kin   ( as above)
  2. Death Certificate ( as above)
  3. Authorised ( as above)


MARS return
On the leaver tab show the personal details and confirm date and reason for leaving employment (death). There are no care pay details   

The pension entitlement, if any, would have been calculated when they left the pension scheme. Although a death in employment following opting out will not attract the same level of benefit as a current contributor, it will be helpful for us to know of the death.

Employees over 75

Complete information as for optants out above to ensure Pension Services stop pension and assess any survivor pensions. However, after the age of 75 there will be no death grant due. 

Additional employer guidance

Although Pension Services can begin to collect the information we need, we cannot begin the benefit calculations until all actual pay details are held and we know no further payments are due. Show the reason for leaving in the MARS return as 'death in service'.

Pension Services will calculate benefits and inform the survivors of their payment.

There will be no immediate employer hidden costs, the increase to liability will be incorporated into the next fund valuation data.

Benefits following a death of the contributing member, do not depend on the member having had the usual qualifying two years in the scheme.  It is essential that:

  • the employer supplies the notification of a death in service form with AAPP assessed 
  • full and complete information is supplied on the MARS and CARE pay return.

Indication of timescales for payment

The following can only be a broad guide to the process rather than timescales, because everyone is different and individual

  • Step one - Pension Services receives notification of death in service from employer
  • Step two – Work registered in the Pension Services work list, highest priority.
  • Next steps are dependent on receiving AAPP, all leavers CARE pay and ‘final pay’ details, from the employers monthly data submission MARS (due every month before the 19th of the month after payment), the collection of data  from next of kin and verifying the date of death. 
  • We will look to make any death grant payment within 10 working days of having all the information required to make that decision.

Paying a death grant

The administering authority has sole discretion concerning who will receive any payment; however the member’s nomination – the expression of their wishes- is taken into account.  

Reminders for all employers

You must complete the notification form and the leaver section on the MARS return and the CARE pay details as we have indicated above.

Survivor pensions will be delayed if we do not get the correct details. Pension Services cannot assess benefits unless employer has supplied confirmation of leaving, and full pay details.

Contact Pension Services if you have any concerns on any of these matters.

Other LGPS records

If the employee has other LGPS pension records, whether or not in this fund, establishing entitlement will take a little longer, and there may be restrictions to the amount we can pay as a death grant.  

Last reviewed
23 February 2018
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