Pensions and Co-habiting Couples
A recent Court case judgement has generated several enquiries from our Members.
We have yet to see the full judgement.
However, from the information in the media, it appears to us that this decision was based on the specific point of unmarried couples being mandatory required to complete a nomination form. In this case, the nomination form had not been completed and the pension authority determined that no benefits were available to the claimant.
The claimant challenged that decision and the Court ruled that the claimant had been treated differently, because there is no requirement for married couples/civil partners to complete a nomination form.
Since 2006, the Police Pension Scheme has provided benefits for adult survivors including spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners who are not civil partners.
All adult survivor awards are payable for life, irrespective of whether the survivor remarries or forms a new partnership.
In the case of unmarried couples, there is a requirement for the pension scheme member to complete a nomination form.
In our view, the probable impact of this recent judgement will be that unmarried couples will no longer have to complete the nomination form, but will still have to prove they had been living together for 2 years.
Prior to 2006, The 1987 Police Pension Scheme provided entitlements payable to adult survivors i.e. widows, widowers and civil partners but not cohabitees who were not married or in a civil partnership.
Furthermore, there is no indication that this recent judgement will be retrospective beyond 2006.
However, we await the full judgement and will consider its findings.