Pensions paid to dependants and widows or widowers of armed forces personnel

Updated on 26 July 2021

Pensioners/Armed forces

This page gives information on the tax status of payments you may receive from armed forces pension schemes on the death of your spouse, civil partner, cohabitee or parent. We can provide no advice in relation to eligibility for such payments: for that information we suggest you contact Veterans UK.

Illustration of soldiers with a Union Jack

My spouse has died before drawing their pension. Is the pension I am receiving taxable?

If the pension is payable as a result of the death, due to military or war service, of your spouse or civil partner or eligible partner (with whom you had a substantial and exclusive relationship, who you were not legally prevented from marrying or entering a civil partnership with, and on whom you were financially dependent or interdependent), the pension is tax-free.

On the other hand, if your spouse died in other circumstances, for example an illness or accident unconnected with military or war service, any pension will be fully liable to income tax.

I have been paid a lump sum after the death of my spouse/civil partner/cohabitee/parent before they started drawing a pension. Is this liable to income tax?

No, such lump sums are not liable to income tax.

My parent died and I am being paid funds for my education through the Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme. Is that money taxable?

No, it is not.

Where can I get further information?

The various booklets on the armed forces pension schemes provide information about the benefits that might be paid to surviving family members.

Veterans UK also provides further information and support.

Our page What happens to pension policies and life assurance policies the deceased held at death? gives information in relation to payments received when the deceased had already started drawing a pension when they died.

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