SSS spouse pension benefits

A pension is payable to an eligible spouse or de facto partner of a member who dies after retirement. The pension is equal to two-thirds of the member's full pension entitlement at the date of retirement (before the member commuted any pension) plus all CPI adjustments until the date of the member's death.

A reversionary pension is payable for the spouse or de facto partner's lifetime and is indexed to the CPI on an annual basis.

For more information refer to STC Fact Sheet 11: CPI Adjustment of your pension

Spouse or de facto pension entitlements after full commutation by an SSS member

If you are the spouse or de facto partner of an SSS pension member who had fully commuted their pension entitlement, you will still be entitled to a reversionary pension. Under the scheme rules, a reversionary beneficiary is entitled to a pension at the rate of two-thirds of the pension the deceased member would have been receiving at the time of their death. The pension entitlement is payable regardless of whether the scheme member commuted their pension.

What about a lump sum option?

A spouse or de facto partner can commute a reversionary pension to a lump sum, provided that they elect to do so within the timeframes allowed by the scheme legislation. A spouse or de facto partner can only make one election to commute in respect of a reversionary pension.

The time periods allowed for the commutation of a reversionary pension are:

  • where the spouse or de facto partner is less than 55 years of age – within six months after the date of attaining age 55, or
  • where the spouse or de facto partner is 55 years of age or older – within six months after the date of death of the pension member, or
  • where a reversionary pension commenced before age 60 and the spouse or de facto partner has not previously made a commutation election – within six months after the date of attaining age 60.

If a spouse or de facto partner becomes entitled to an SSS reversionary pension after age 60 and does not apply for a commutation within six months of the date of death of the pension member, there is no further opportunity to commute the reversionary pension.

How much of the reversionary pension can be exchanged for a lump sum?

In most cases, all of the pension payable to an eligible spouse or de facto partner can be exchanged for a lump sum, provided the application to exchange the pension for a lump sum is made within the specified time. See the section on ''What about a lump sum option?' above.

However, a pension member can nominate a specific amount of their pension they wish to exchange and receive the remaining amount as a pension. For more information, please refer to SSS Fact Sheet 14: Exchanging your pension for a lump sum.

PSS spouse pension benefit

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 spouse pension benefits

When a SASS pension member who was receiving a pension with a residual 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.