Family of teacher who died from Covid miss out on £100,000 pension due to legal loophole

The heartbroken family of a beloved teacher have lost out on more than £100,000 following his death from Covid.

Nick Stone, a foreign languages ​​teacher, passed away earlier this year after a two-week battle with coronavirus.

Having worked at the same City of Norwich school for 31 years, Nick had built up a large pension pot which he diligently paid into every month.

However, as his sister Helen Pentelow and the rest of his family grieved his sudden passing, they were informed that Nick’s pension would not be paid out to his loved ones, the Mirror reports.

Because the 55-year-old was not married or in a civil partnership, the hard earned money was taken by Teachers Pensions – despite Nick nominating his mum to be his beneficiary.

Now Helen, who has estimated that there was between £100,000 to £150,000 in the pot before it was contribution matched, is working to highlight a loophole which affects people across the public sector.

“No amount of money could ever bring Nick back, we’d have everything to have him walk through the door again,” Helen told the Mirror.

“It is the principle. He worked so hard and put all this money away, and now this. I am heartbroken for him.”

When he died Nick was the longest serving member of staff at the City of Norwich School, where he had worked as a foreign language teacher for 31 years.

Nick was a teacher at the school for 31 years.

He was taken to James Paget Hospital in Great Yarmouth after catching Covid in December and was placed on a ventilator after ten days of care.

Nick, who was double jabbed and had his booster booked in, died in the intensive care unit with his family by his side on January 2, 2022.

Two months after his death his mum received a death in service grant paid to the families of teachers who lose their lives while working.

The expected payout from his pension pot never came.

“I ran Teacher Pensions last week,” Helen said. “They just said ‘what your mum got is the full and final settlement’. He had nominated her, but because he’s not married, the pension died with him.

“We estimate he had put well over £100,000 in. He was paying £450 a month before he died.

“They were very matter of fact, if you’re single, widowed or divorced you don’t get anything. He paid it in for his in old age or for his mum.

“We think he caught it at his workplace and the final insult is they won’t pay out on his pension.”

Following Nick’s death Helen has taken solace in the great outpouring of support from friends and colleagues at his school.

Nick was the longest serving member of staff at the City of Norwich School.
Nick was the longest serving member of staff at the City of Norwich School.

She continued: “Nick put the welfare of kids before anything, his life was his job. It is just heart-breaking. He was so well loved at school.

“We have had a trophy made for modern foreign languages ​​and we are presenting that at the school in a couple of weeks. There will be a memorial service held in May.”

Helen Morrissey, a senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “While a spouse or civil partner will qualify for death benefits on a member’s death other family members would have to provide they were financially dependent on the member to qualify.

“As the mother isn’t financially dependent on the member then unfortunately she wouldn’t be entitled to the pension.

“There is a possibility she may be able to receive a discretionary lump sum payment, known as a death grant, if she was nominated for this too.

“This pays out a multiple of the annual pension, which depends on the precise scheme they were a member of, whether they were still an active member of the scheme, and whether they had already started drawing the pension.”

A Teacher Pensions spokesperson said they could not comment on individual cases, but confirmed certain conditions had to be met for pensions to be paid out to nominated family members.

They include that the “family member must be wholly, or mainly financially dependent on the member at the date of death”

The spokesperson added: “We don’t specifically write out to all members who have made a nomination as we can only judge the circumstances of the dependency after we’ve been notified of the member’s death.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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