Times are changing. The law now recognises not everyone wants to get married. Marriage has come with lots of benefits for spouses. This includes access to benefits from a pension after the death of a partner. Under recent changes made to the Teachers’ Pensions Regulations (TPR), this has now been extended to those of the opposite sex in a civil partnership.
The changes in regulation are a result of the introduction of opposite-sex civil partnerships in England and Wales. This applies to civil partnership ceremonies held from 31st December 2019 onwards.
What are survivor benefits?
The Teachers’ Pension Scheme pays survivor benefits to a spouse or a nominated dependent of a member. If the member has died before or after the member has started to draw on the pension income, this benefit will be transferred to the beneficiary.
If the person has yet to retire, the scheme will pay a tax-free lump sum. Then, the recipient of the survivor’s benefit will receive a payment. The amount you receive will depend on the scheme, length of service and time of service of the member.
What does this mean for civil partners?
Due to this amendment to the TPR, an opposite-sex civil partner can qualify for survivor benefits. This aligns the status of civil partners with those previously available to a spouse.
Female survivors of a male spouse will receive benefits for pensionable service started on or after 1 April 1972, unless the ceremony took place after the member left the scheme. If the member had already left the pension scheme, the benefits apply to those whose members started pensionable service after 6th April 1978. Male spouses will receive benefits based on employment after 6th April 1988.
What should you do?
If you want to be sure that your civil partner receives your survivor benefits, you should nominate them on My Pension Online. If you are unsure if you qualify or how much you would receive, you should contact an independent financial advisor for advice.
The content in this article was correct on 15th January 2020. You should not rely on this article to make important financial decisions. Teachers Financial Planning offers advice on pensions for teachers and non-teachers. Please use the contact form below to arrange an informal chat with an advisor. See how we can help you.