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Pension Equality For Married Same Sex Couples

Written by Victoria. Posted in Blog

Pension schemes will need to review their rules after the recent ruling handed down by the Supreme Court in the case of Walker v Innospec.

The effect of the Supreme Court ruling is that civil partners and same-sex married partners can now claim equal treatment with opposite-sex married partners for spouses' pensions in respect of all of the service that their partner has accrued in the relevant scheme.

UK legislation had until this judgement permitted an exception from equal treatment for same sex partner survivor benefits if the service in the pension scheme had been contributed before 5 December 2005. The Supreme Court has decided that this exemption is a breach of European anti-discrimination protection for same-sex partners.

The decision will have implications for pension schemes that have not fully equalised survivor benefits for same-sex partners, including for public sector pension schemes.