Review of survivor benefits in pension schemes and TUC campaign

On 26 June 2014, the Government launched a review of the differences in benefits for survivors in occupational pension schemes between different groups of survivors. The review will inform the Secretary of State’s decision as to whether he should exercise his powers to change the law to eliminate or reduce differences in survivor benefits in occupational schemes.

One in four defined benefit pension schemes in the private sector pays less to surviving same-sex spouses or civil partners than opposite-sex spouses. Despite equal marriage legislation, full equality for same-sex couples has not been achieved.

Pension schemes are only legally obliged to ensure equality from 2005 onwards (the date civil partnerships were introduced) when they calculate survivor pensions for civil partners or same-sex spouses.

In June 2014, the TUC  published its response to the review, a briefing on the issue and launched an e-petition calling on the government to change the law and backdate survivor pensions.

In a Touchstone blog on 2 July, Sally Brett, Senior Equality Policy Officer at the TUC, argues that equal survivor pensions are affordable.

The TUC response to the review is available online.