North East Scotland Pension Fund

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Changes to Cohabiting Partners Benefits

Nominated partner benefits were introduced to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) from 1 April 2009.

For a cohabiting partner to be eligible for a partners pension, the Scheme members must be free to marry or enter into a civil partnership with their partner and the following conditions must be met for a continuous period of  at least 2 years:

  • The Scheme member and partner must be living together as if they were a married couple or civil partners, and
  • Neither the Scheme member nor their partner must be living with someone else as if they were a married couple or civil partners, and
  • The Scheme member and their partner must be financially interdependent or the Scheme members partner must be financially dependent on them.

In addition to these conditions, the regulations also required that a nomination form had to have been completed by the Scheme member. If a nomination form was not received, a cohabiting partner pension could not be paid, even if the other conditions were met.

The mandatory requirement for a completed nomination form was removed from the LGPS with effect from 1 April 2015.

In February 2017, the Supreme Court decided that refusing a claim on the grounds that a nomination form had not been completed (despite the underlying conditions being met) was unlawful.

Following the Supreme Court decision, Scottish Ministers have decided that this change should be applied to any case from 1 April 2009 that had previously met the underlying conditions but which would not have gained entitlement due to the lack of a nomination form.

What should you do if you think this affects you?

If you made a claim for nominated partner benefits prior to the 1st April 2015 and were refused on the grounds that a nomination form had not been completed you should contact us us as soon as possible for further advice.

Please note although a completed nomination form is no longer mandatory to be eligible for partners benefits, the underlying conditions must be met and the Pensions Section will request evidence of this prior to processing any claims.

A form is still available in our Publications Library for anyone wishing to advise us of their partnership status - this will be used for administrative purposes only to assist us in the event of a claim.