Company pension

Can anyone offer any advice ? I contribute to a company pension scheme, which if a person dies pays a pension to their spouse - but I haven’t got one. Am coming up to 1 year since dx, grade 2 tumour, 8 out of 20 nodes affected, had chemo & rads, now having herceptin & arimidex, all to prevent future probs so they say. Am obviously hoping this will have just been a blip & that I shall recover & live forever - BUT - if I live 5 years from dx for example, I shall not even see retirement, & given I have no spouse, the money I’ve paid in will disappear back into the company’s coffers I guess.
There is some kind of scheme where you can take part of the pension early, not sure of the ins & outs, got reams of paperwork somewhere, never paid much attention before.
Would you think this would be advisable for me to do, or at least to look into?

I’ve no idea, but usually it would be paid to your next of kin, therefore your children. You ought to check with the company or read the small print.
However of course you will live forever…!!! But it is worth sorting it out.
Love Maria

I’m pretty sure it’s not paid to children. I remember complaining before that it was discriminatory against those of us without spouses, quite a few even just in my branch. Some are already widowed for example. When I started it, I lived with a partner, but because we were unmarried, he wouldn’t have got it. If I remember rightly, which I might not, they changed it a few years ago to include civil partnerships, but I never had one of them either, & now live alone.

I dont know if all company pensions allow this, but I worked many years ago for a large supermarket and I have a copy of a pension benefit form where I nominated a percentage of my pension to my under 18 yr old son, as Im a single parent too. I would def check back with pension administrator to see where you stand.
Best off luck with this

Hi Divvy

I think up to April of this year you could take early retirement if 50 or over, I decided to do this as I was getting made redundant. The policy I had I could choose whether I wanted the money to go to a spouse or kids, I put my son’s name on the paperwork as I have no spouse. If I drop dead my son will get a lump sum.

Have you had a word with your HR re money going to your kids should you not reach retirement age?


i haven’t asked anyone, it’s something I’ve only just thought of.

Divvy 1

There should be the option to take an ill-health early-retirement pension. Have a word with your Personnel Dept (or Human Resources as it seems to be now). They should be able to tell you, or they can put you in touch with whoever is the Administrator of your pension scheme.

As regards what would happen to your money if you die, it is a bit complicated and depends on the Scheme Rules and the type of scheme - Defined Benefits or Defined Contributions. Also, it depends whether you are still an active member of the scheme, or whether you are a pensioner. When you joined the scheme you should have filled in a Beneficiary Nomination Form, stating to whom you would want any money to be paid on your death. Most schemes have life cover built in and so this money should go to your nominated beneficiary. The trustees of the scheme do not have to comply with this (if, say, you left it to the cat’s home but you were married with children), but they usually do.

As I say, it does depend on the Scheme Rules and I recommend you ask to see someone who can go through it with you. Hopefully, you will be around for a good long time but you may wish to retire early and so it would be a good idea to find out your options.

Good luck.

Ann xx

Hi Diwy,

The pension scheme I contribute to has got a form with it. It’s for me to tell them who the beneficiary (ies) would be if I die before the agreed pay out day. They/he/she/it can be anyone or any organization. I’ve not filled it in yet because I’m too young to think about dying even though I’ve got secondaries.

Just wondering whether your pension scheme has got something similar.


Eh Aqua, Your son might just do you in, now you have survived cancer, just to get the money !!

Hahaha I hope not Maria!


We do have to fill in an Expression of Wish form, as they give us £2k if we die while working for them, & that can go to anyone, or more than one person, got my kids on that, but it’s nothing to do with the pension. Thinking about it a bit more, I vaguely remember something about the pension can go to your kids if they’re school age, but not if older (mine are well past that), then it’s lost. I can see I shall have to research this more, to be honest I’ve not paid nearly enough attention when this stuff has come round, being as I thought it was all in the far distant future.
But if I am correct in my idea that I can’t leave it to anyone, then would it be best to take what I can while I can?
I’m not inclined to let the company have it, don’t like them that much.

I think so Divvy. I’m glad I took mine as I can enjoy the money - I might not have been around to enjoy it/use it had I left it where it was. Though with my policy, my son will still get a lump sum should I die early



If, as you think, the money would be lost, then it may be a good idea to start taking it early. The only problem with this is that it could be reduced because you are taking it early. Hard as it is, you have to gamble on how long you think you will live.

It may be worth seeking professional advice to see if you should transfer the pension into a personal pension that is tailored to your requirements, but generally speaking transferring out is not a good idea because fees are charged on setting up the new pension - and you would have to be careful that the advisor is not more interested in his/her commission! Nevertheless, if you could find someone to consult, without a vested interested, it would be a good idea.

Ann x

Mine was reduced as I took it early


I would suggest you ask your Pensions department for details of the scheme to be sent to you in writing again and any projections they can give you for any options you may have at the mo. Even ask if there is an early retirement on ill-health grounds. Then ask more than one independent adviser what they would do. Remember you do not have to take any of their advice or ‘buy’ a new product from them or act instantly and I would be very upfront with them re the cancer.

I was fortunate in that I had paid into my company pension scheme for 19 yrs and when it became clear trying to go back was too much for me (I have bone secondaries), I applied for early retirement on ill-health grounds. Against all odds I was granted full pension as if I’d worked to age 62 - I’m 45 - and the life cover continues for 5 yrs post retirement at 4 times last salary which I thought was quite a bonus under the circumstances!! With the death in service, you can nominate who you want to be beneficiaries and in what percentage so as I’ve no kids, I did it between my partner and my sister.

It is a huge decision to make so take your time and don’t feel pressurised. I had some help, although no ‘advice’, from the union - just mentioned a few pitfalls but I already knew about these as I worked for a bank.

Good luck whatever you do.

Hi Everyone, Just wondered if anyone can help me with a query. I’ve been rounding all my pensions up and have had no problem except with a large Company that I worked for about 12 years ago. It was only for 3 years but I paid into their pension scheme which was quite a good one at the time, so I should be entitled to at least a lum sum. I have telephoned them, e-mailed them and written to them with no response apart from the phone call as someone answered it finally. I explained the situation and he asked to write and he would get back to me with my options. They guarantee to respond within 10 working days. That’s three weeks ago! He also said that he thinks I can’t get it until I’m sixty five, but I’m nearly 62 now so surely I should be entitled to it as I’m over pensionable age. Can anyone who is in the know give me some idea of who to contact if I don’t hear in the next week or so. Would the Citizens Advice Bureau be able to help or is there some other independent body that deals with this sort of thing. I really don’t think they should be allowed to keep it. It’s a massive Water Company so I’m sure they don’t need my little bit of cash - not as much as I do anyway.

Finally, hope you are all feeling good today. Lots of love, Dianne x x x

Morning Dianne
There is a service which is free called TPAS 0845 601 2923- the pensions advisory service- who might be able to help. The pensions regulator is also for problems, but they may want you to have exhausted the pension company’s own complaints procedure before they take your complaint on.
Anyway, if you mention these 2 services to your provider, it might ‘encourage’ them to respond.
Good luck

Hi Cathie, many thanks for getting back to me with that info, I really appreciate it. I’ll definitely get onto them, but will have another go at the Company first. I’ll write a follow up letter and see if that has any effect.

Do hope everyone is feeling well today. I had crippling indigestion yesterday (from the chemo on Tuesday) but it seems to have eased off today, just a bit of backache.

Take care of yourselves and keep in touch. Lotsa love, Dianne x x

You seem to be being penalised for being single… my tongue in cheek suggestion is to find a single guy with available cash now, marry him and spend his money, he could then draw down your pension later…(but of course, not if you live happily ever after!)
Only problem is, where are these nice guys, if it was that easy we might not be single… ah well, there had to be a catch.

I’ve already thought of that, but not found any takers yet.
Still, if people get married to get passports, maybe getting married to get a pension’s not so far fetched…