An important first step
In the event of the death of a pension member, the pension member's spouse, de facto partner, or other relative or representative should contact the administrator, Mercer, on 1300 652 113.
Once Mercer is notified of the death, it will issue a letter to the spouse or representative outlining the documents required to assess a spouse or de facto partner's eligibility to receive a benefit.
State Super will request documentation to prove the relationship existed at the time the member retired and continued until the member's death.
In circumstances where the pension member was married at the time of the member's death, the essential documents required are a certified copy of the marriage certificate, and proof-of-identity documents for the spouse.
The de facto partner of a pension member who was not married at the time of death will generally be required to complete a statutory declaration and provide additional supporting documentation (such as statutory declarations from family members and non-family members) proving the relationship existed at the time the member retired, and continued until the member's death. Proof-of-identity documents for the de facto partner will also be required.
SSS pension member
Upon a SSS pension member's death, the member's spouse or de facto partner may be eligible for a reversionary spouse pension.
A spouse is the widow or widower of the deceased member. A de facto partner is a person (whether of the same or opposite sex):
- who lived with the deceased member in a relationship as a couple, or
- with whom the member was in a relationship that had been registered under a state or territory law.
Generally, a spouse or de facto partner of a deceased pension member will qualify for a benefit if they were the pension member's spouse or de facto partner before the deceased pension member retired, and remained so until the death of the pension member.
If the relationship commenced after the deceased pension member retired, a spouse or de facto partner of a deceased pension member will qualify for a benefit if there is a child of the relationship (or conceived before the death of the member) that was dependent on the deceased pension member.
Where the deceased was an invalidity pension member, the spouse or de facto partner will qualify for a benefit if they were in a relationship before the pension member reached their normal retirement age and for at least three years before the pension member's death.
If more than one person applies for a reversionary pension following the death of a member, State Super will determine the distribution of the benefit among the eligible applicants.
For more detailed information about eligibility, see the section on 'Who is eligible for the spouse or de facto partner's benefit?' in SSS Fact Sheet 11: Death of a scheme member after retirement.
PSS pension member
On the death of a retired PSS member, a spouse pension is payable only to an eligible person (which includes a de facto partner and may include a same gender partner) and only where the scheme member elected to receive a pension.
The partial commutation of a member's pension reduces a spouse's pension entitlement on a proportional basis, e.g. if 50% of a pension member's pension is commuted, the spouse is entitled to 50% of the spouse pension. A spouse or de facto partner's pension is not payable where the member exchanged the whole of their pension entitlement for a lump sum.
Please refer to PSS Fact Sheet 6: Death benefits for more information.
SASS pension member
When a SASS pension member who was receiving a pension with a reversionary spouse pension entitlement dies (all LGPF pensions, and those TRF and NRF pensions where the member elected to take a pension with a residual entitlement), an eligible spouse or de facto partner is eligible for a reversionary pension benefit entitlement.
A spouse pension may also be payable to the spouse of a SASS pension member who was a former member of the RSA.
For TRF, NRF and LGPF residual pensions, a pension is payable to the spouse or de facto partner for life at an annual rate equal to 62.5% of the annual rate of pension paid to the deceased pension member immediately before their death. This pension is adjusted in line with increases in the Consumer Price Index (All Groups Index) for Sydney from June quarter to June quarter.
Please refer to SASS Fact Sheet 12: SASS Pension - Your Questions Answered fact sheet for more information.