Reporting the death of an RPS member

Find out how to report the death of a Scheme member and what happens before any death benefits are paid.

Reporting a death and what happens next

If you're dealing with the death of an Railways Pension Scheme (RPS) member, you'll find everything you need to know below. 

A white lily
Reporting a death

If you're dealing with the death of an Railways Pension Scheme (RPS) member, click the button below.

How to report the death of an RPS member

The quickest and easiest way to report a death is to use our online form, you can access this by using the button to the left.

If the member was still paying into their pension when they died, you will need to contact their employer. The employer will then report the member's death to us.

If the member had stopped paying into their pension before they died, or had stopped working and was receiving their pension, you need to report their death to us.

If you’re not sure, it's best to complete the online form and we will take care of things for you.

It's important you tell us about a member's death as soon as possible, particularly if they have already started taking their pension. If they have, we need to stop their payments quickly, otherwise you may be asked to pay it back later.

If you need another way to contact us, please head to the Get in touch page.


Good to know:

If you are using the government's Tell Us Once service, this will not work for the RPS, because we are not a government department. That means you must contact us directly, even if you are using the Tell Us Once service for other organisations.

What to include when reporting a member's death

If you're reporting a member's death, please include:

  • The member's full name and date of birth
  • The member's Pension Reference Number and/or National Insurance Number
  • The member's date of death
  • The name and address of whoever we should contact about the member’s pension moving forward. You should also tell us how this person is connected to the member. For example, next of kin or executor of their estate

What happens once we know a member has died 

Once we know that a member has died, we will write directly to whoever is dealing with the member's affairs. For example, this may be the member's next of kin or the executor of their estate. We get their contact details from the person who reports the member's death.

The person dealing with the member's affairs will then be asked to complete and return some forms to give us all of the information we need. These forms will help us to identify anyone who might benefit from the member's pension.

The person dealing with the member's affairs will also need to send us:

  • The member's death certificate
  • A copy of the member's will, if one is available. Being named in the will does not mean you are automatically entitled to any of the member's pension but it will help us to identify who might benefit from the member's pension

Once all of this information has been returned and processed, we will contact any potential beneficiaries to explain what they may be entitled to and what they need to do next.

Who can benefit from a member's pension 

Who benefits from a member's pension, and exactly what they get, is based on the Scheme rules and the decisions of the Trustee.

In general, there are 2 types of payment that can be made from a member's pension when they die.

A lump sum death benefit

If a lump sum death benefit is payable under the Scheme rules, then the Trustee will decide who this should go to.

It can be paid to one person, or split across multiple beneficiaries.

To help make this decision, the Trustee will consider all potential beneficiaries and the member's personal circumstances.

In line with the Scheme rules, potential beneficiaries may include:

  • Any person, charity or organisation who the member nominated to receive their lump sum death benefit before they died. By making a Nomination, a member can let the Trustee know who they would prefer their lump sum death benefit to be paid to. That's why it is really important that members keep this information up-to-date. The Trustee does not have to follow these wishes but will take them into account. We can tell you if the member made a Nomination but we cannot tell you who their nominees may be. This is in line with Data Protection rules
  • Anyone named in the member's will. This does not automatically mean they will get money from the member's pension but the Trustee may take it into account
  • Family members or anyone who was financially dependent on the member at the time of their death
What potential beneficiaries need to do to make a claim

If you are a potential beneficiary you will be contacted directly by the Scheme's administrator, Railpen.

You will then be asked to complete a form, confirming if you want to be considered to get money from the member's pension.

If you do want to be considered, you will need to provide Railpen with proof of ID. This may include:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Adoption Certificate
  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • Grant of Probate
  • Name Change Certificate
  • Utility bills
  • Bank statements

Original certificates will be returned.

We will also accept certified copies of certificates.

Once we have received the information needed and proof of ID from all the potential beneficiaries, the member's death benefits will be considered by the Trustee. In line with Scheme rules, the Trustee will decide where any death benefits should be paid. This is explained in greater detail below.

How long it takes for death benefits to be paid

It may take quite some time for any benefits to be paid following a member's death.

This is because it can take a long time for us to identify and contact all of the potential beneficiaries and confirm their IDs.

The Trustee then also need time to look at the member's pension in detail and to decide where any death benefits should be paid. 

Our priority is making sure the member’s money goes to the right people. We'll do everything we can to make that process as quick and easy as possible for everyone involved. And our team are on hand to help every step of the way.

The Trustee

Visit the Trustee area of the website to discover more about the Trustee, which has overall responsibility for running the Scheme. 

Where to get help following a member's death

If you have questions about the member's pension, please get in touch and our team will be more than happy to help.

If you have more general questions, then you may find the following links useful.


The government website has an online guide telling you what to do when someone dies. This includes everything from registering the death to dealing with their estate. 

Cruse Bereavement Support

Cruse Bereavement Support is a national charity offering bereavement support and information. 


The NHS website has a page offering offers advice on dealing with grief and where to go for support if you're struggling with your mental health.  

Railway Benefit Fund
Railway Benefit Fund

The Railway Benefit Fund is an independent charity that supports railway workers and their families through a variety of issues, offering financial assistance, practical help and advice, all in strict confidence. 

Citizens Advice logo
Citizens Advice 

Citizens Advice aims to give people the knowledge and the confidence they need to find their way forward. This includes advice on death and wills.

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