WIDOWS PENSION FOR LIFE INJUSTICE
Following changes to the Regulations in 2016 concerning survivors’ pensions, and how they are dealt with should the survivor remarry, co-habit or form a civil partnership, it has become clear that there are three different approaches in operation within the United Kingdom.
In Northern Ireland all survivors of members of the RUC pension scheme now retain their pensions for life irrespective of the circumstances of the death of the former officer. As a result all survivors are entitled to have their pensions reinstated effective from 1 July 2014.
On the 18th January 2016, the 2006 Police [Injury Benefit] Regulations were amended.
This change means that survivors’ pensions paid in respect of 1987 scheme members will no longer be subject to the forfeiture rule where the police officer dies or dies as a result of an injury received on duty.
In England and Wales this change only applies to widows, widowers or surviving civil partners, who marry, remarry, form a civil partnership or start to cohabit on or after 1st April 2015. This change came into force retrospectively from 1st April 2015.
In Scotland however the change applies to all those wives, husbands, or civil partners of police officers who died on duty who have already had their pension withdrawn because of remarriage, forming a civil partnership or cohabitation and consequently they will have their pension reinstated with effect from 1 October 2015, irrespective of the date of their remarriage, cohabitation or civil partnership.
Steve Edwards Chief Executive of NARPO said:
"This is a ridiculous situation, and extremely unfair to those survivors of police officers who deserve to be treated fairly and equally throughout the United Kingdom. This just further highlights the vagaries of the system of Government in this country, which allows one section of society to be treated less favourably than others, based solely on where a police officer served. We urge Government to think again on this issue and restore the pensions of those survivors irrespective of where their loved one served or when they married, remarried, cohabited or formed a civil partnership and bring the rest of the UK into line with Northern Ireland."
Please highlight this important issue to your MP and let widows, widowers and civil partners of former police officers to live their lives without having to make the choice between happiness and financial security. You can use the template letter below to write to your MP.
WIDOW'S PENSION FOR LIFE - SIGN THE PETITION
An enduring injustice in the 1987 Police Pension scheme is that those in receipt of a widow or widowers’ pension under those scheme rules lose their pension if they remarry or cohabit. Although improvements have been made to this aspect of the police pension in subsequent schemes, the provisions were not made retrospective in their affect so most police widows are still in the position of losing their pension in these circumstances. We believe this provision is demeaning and not an appropriate condition in a modern age and it should be abolished.
The link below is to a petition seeking a change to this provision and we would encourage members to sign it.
NARPO REACTION TO THE CHANCELLORS BUDGET ANNOUNCEMENT ON POLICE WIDOWS PENSIONS
NARPO notes with interest, the Chancellors statement in yesterday’s Budget that: “The government will ensure that all widows, widowers and civil partners of police officers and firefighters who are killed on duty will no longer lose their survivor benefits if they remarry, cohabit, or form a civil partnership.”
Commenting on the announcement, NARPO President, Ian Potter said:
“Whilst NARPO is supportive of this announcement it does not address the real issue of all the other police widows who are faced with the demeaning and daunting choice of either living alone or forfeiting their pension to enjoy companionship and happiness in later life. Whilst this move is welcomed, it comes nowhere near to putting police widows in the rest of the United Kingdom on the same footing as those police widows of deceased Northern Ireland police officers, who now retain and have had their widows pension reinstated as a result of a change made by the Northern Ireland Assembly last year. All we are asking for is parity across the board for all police widows throughout the United Kingdom. I urge Government to take a closer look at this matter and eradicate this glaringly obvious inequality and unfairness as soon as possible.”
NARPO also noted that the Chancellor announced that:
“On 1 April 2015, the government will be introducing new and reformed public service pension schemes. All these new schemes will allow widows, widowers and civil partners across the public sector workforces to retain survivor benefits if they remarry, cohabit or form a civil partnership.”
However, this is no different to the terms of the 2006 Police Pension Scheme which afforded the same rights.
NARPO President Ian Potter commented:
“I would welcome some clarification on this point; but it is hoped that the real intention is to give the same rights to ALL police widows from the 1st April 2015 and not just those whose husbands are members of the new schemes”
URGE YOUR MP TO SUPPORT THE EARLY DAY MOTION
Please ask your MP to support this Early Day Motion - but do not forget to stress that we are seeking justice for ALL police widows/widowers, not just those whose spouses were 'lost in the line of duty'.