Pensions 

Teachers scheme to provide same-sex survivor benefits

Teachers scheme to provide same-sex survivor benefits

The Department for Education will equalise survivor benefits for male and female same-sex couples in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.

The changes are being made to comply with a ruling by the Supreme Court last year.

But the scheme, with almost 2m members, hasn’t updated the rules for heterosexual female teachers and their male widowers.

In an update in its website, the scheme said the change will be applied from the date civil partnerships and same-sex marriages were implemented, which were in 2005 and 2014 respectively.

The survivor benefits will be in relation to service from 1 April 1972 or 6 April 1978 if the marriage was after the last day of pensionable service, the scheme said.

The benefits this will provide to same-sex survivors depend on when the deceased member was employed, their pensionable earnings and the length of their service.

The changes, to be introduced in due course, follow the ruling of the Walker v Innospec case.

In July 2017, the Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples that are married or in a civil-partnership should have the same pension benefits as heterosexual couples.

But the government isn’t, however, extending the same treatment to male survivors of opposite sex marriages).

In a Q&A document, the scheme said the government consulted widely on this issue in 2014, and it follows the European Court of Justice judgment on Barber, which required schemes to provide equal survivor benefits for males who survive their female spouse in relation to service from May 1990.

The Teachers’ Pensions Scheme provides survivor benefits for males who survive their female spouse in relation to service from 6 April 1988, it added.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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