Denise Brewster lost her long-term partner unexpectedly in 2009. For Ms Brewster to be eligible to her partner’s Translink pension it was required that she be formally nominated by her partner. While Ms Brewster believed that this had been done, on his death it transpired that he had not got around to it. However, had the couple been married she would have been automatically entitled to a survivor’s pension.
The UK Supreme Court found that the requirement for a form constituted ‘unlawful discrimination’, and has today ruled in Ms Brewster’s favour. The widespread implications of this ruling are yet to be established. Is a live-in partner of three months as entitled as one of 30 years? What if a partner maintains a separate property?
Other public sectors may have to change their rules for cohabiting couples. The rules on intestacy, inheritance tax & capital gains tax may now face legal challenge.
Will this impact the pension entitlement of the partners of deferred members i.e. those no longer employed. What will the cost implications be for employers already facing huge pension deficits?
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*10th of February 2017