Spouses Pension! What Spouses Pension?
A recent review of my own defined pension benefits revealed something very disturbing indeed. Said revelation was that my Wife (and partner of 23 years) is not actually entitled to the usual 50% spouses’ pension in the event of my death.
I am a deferred member of the scheme in question and the scheme rules state very clearly that to meet the definition of “Spouse”, both of the following criteria must be met:
- The member had to have been married to the claimant Spouse AND
- The member had to have been living at the same address as the claimant Spouse at the time of becoming a deferred member of the scheme
Our situation only met with one of the criteria. This effectively means that in the event of my death, fifteen years of hard earned pension benefits disappear.
I am not writing this article as a mass recommendation to transfer out of your defined benefit pension scheme. Far from it. These types of pension scheme are normally the gold standard and the rule of thumb is not to transfer unless a robust case supports this.
However, I strongly recommend dusting down your copy of the scheme rules and reviewing the definition of a Spouses pension especially if there have been changes to your marital status since you joined the pension scheme.
You have worked very hard to put these benefits in place and now you should make sure that the person/persons you want to benefit, are able to do so.
We at Abacus Wealth would be happy to assist you in reviewing your arrangements. For members that are caught out adversely by the above, there is no need to despair. There are some simple planning measures that can be put into place to protect you and your loved ones and this does not necessarily mean transferring to another pension scheme.
For further information, please contact us as follows:
Written by: Darren Mills Dip PFS, Managing Director