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Payment of survivor benefits for unmarried partners

On 8 February 2017, the Supreme Court ruled to allow Ms Brewster’s appeal and declared the requirement in the 2009 Regulations of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Northern Ireland, that the appellant and her partner should have made a nomination could no longer apply as it was unlawful. As the other underlying Scheme conditions were met, Ms Brewster is entitled to receive a survivor’s pension under the scheme.

The implications of the ruling on other public service pension schemes were considered and the effect on the NHS Pension Scheme is detailed below.

Effect of the ruling

The change applies to members with Scheme membership on or after 1 April 2008. This is the date when the provision for nominated partners was brought in for the purposes of the NHS Pension Scheme.

  • A partner nomination form (PN1) is no longer required in respect of claims for payment of survivor benefits to unmarried partners.
  • Employers should still encourage the use of the partner nomination facility by completion of the PN1. 
  • In the absence of a partner nomination form, claimants will still need to provide evidence of financial dependency or interdependence in the two years prior to the member’s death in accordance with the NHS Pension Scheme regulations.

Action for employers

Any claims must be made using the 'claim for adult dependant's pension on death of an active member (AW9)'.

Where the employer is aware, or becomes aware, of a claim which has been previously rejected or of a partner who has not previously made a claim because they believed there was no entitlement, you should arrange for the 'claim for adult dependant's pension on death of an active member (AW9)' to be completed.

Employers should still encourage completion of the partner nomination form (PN1).

We are still waiting for confirmation of some of the finer details, however we will keep you informed via the Employer Newsletter and our website.