Equalisation of Survivor's Pensions paid to same-sex spouses and registered civil partners

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A change to the LGPS rules has been made to provide that survivor benefits payable to a same-sex spouse or a registered civil partner are equal those paid to the widow of a male member.

Why has the change been made?

The change has been made as a result of a Supreme Court judgment (Walker v Innopsec) which found that Mr Walker’s male spouse was entitled to the same benefits that would have been paid had Mr Walker left a widow in an opposite-sex marriage.

Why does this apply to the LGPS?

The government believes that the implication of this judgment for the LGPS is that surviving civil partners or surviving same sex spouses should be provided with benefits equal to those that would be left to the widow of a male member. 

When does the change take effect from?

The change is backdated to the date that registered civil partnerships and same-sex marriages were introduced – 5 December 2005 for registered civil partnerships and 13 March 2014 for same-sex marriages.
This means that where a member of the LGPS has died since the dates above, leaving a surviving registered civil partner or a same-sex spouse, the survivor’s pension in payment will need to be reviewed and any additional amounts paid, where applicable.
Merseyside Pension Fund is currently in the process of reviewing the impact of this change, and will be contacting affected registered civil partners and same-sex spouses in due course. The change will automatically be taken into account for deaths going forward.