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NHS widows pension. Can you keep it if you remarry?
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# 1
rrockettman
Old 12-12-2006, 6:52 PM
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Default NHS widows pension. Can you keep it if you remarry?

Hi everyone.
I have a relative who is claiming a NHS widows pension. Her husband had taken early retirement due to ill health and died a few years ago.
She is only in her 40's and works full time.
Her main concern is that if she meets someone else and wants to remarry or just live with them, she will lose her pension and her independence. If it doesn't work out and she finds herself on her own again she'll have to sell her marital home and move.
The recent changes in the NHS scheme do not help as they only apply to future widows, not existing claimants.
Had she divorced him on his death bed, she would have been entitled to half his pension and they would not be able to take it away from her.
Is anyone else in this position?
Do "they" come looking for widows who remarry and take their pension away?
Any info greatfully recieved.
Many thanks.
Russ.
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# 2
CAE
Old 12-12-2006, 11:54 PM
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Here is a link to the 2006 NHS Pensioners Newsletter.

http://www.nhspa.gov.uk/site/Advice/...newsletter.pdf

Here it does say that if you are in receipt of a survivors pension and remarry, form a civil partnership or live with another person as husband and wife or as civil partners you must let them know. It will affect your pension.
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# 3
rrockettman
Old 14-12-2006, 10:00 AM
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Hi CAE and thanks for the reply.
It's more or less what she thought but not what she was hoping for though.
It seems so unfair. When her husband had to retire due to ill health, his income halved. When he died, it halved again.
It is hard enough bringing up three children, one at uni, one hoping to start uni next year and another doing his GCSE's when you've got a husband on a good salary, never mind as a widow.
Will she have to ask any serious boyfriends their income and work out if he will be able to keep them all when she loses all her benifits and pension before she falls in love?
As she keeps saying, other pension schemes let you keep what you and your husband have worked for. If they'd divorced, she'd have been entitled to half and he'd have contributed to bringing up their children, even if she remarried.
When the recent changes where being discussed, her union rep omitted to tell her that it wouldn't change for her, otherwise she'd have protested.
She'll just have to carry on being the "poor widow" and forget about being able to fall in love again!
Russ.
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# 4
clairehi
Old 14-12-2006, 12:04 PM
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Its worth talking to the pension scheme administrators about what would happen in practice.

I believe that the trustees may have a certain amount of discretion in difficult cases. Perhaps they would be able to re-start a widows pension if your friend did find herself alone again after a relationship breakdown.

As an example of how pension trustees can be flexible, my aunt died suddenly in her 40s. We were able to successfully argue that her 27 year old daughter and grandson, who lived with her while she was alive, were entitled to dependents pension even though strictly speaking under the scheme rules they would not have qualfied.
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Sobraon
Old 20-12-2006, 4:08 PM
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The teacher's pension scheme had a similar clause - but in Jan07 the scheme is changing and the pension for the partner/spouse/civil partner is for for the life of the surviving partner/spouse/civil partner http://www.teacherspensions.co.uk/resources/pdf/Leaflets/Survivor%20and%20Death%20Benefits.pdf
(see page 5). Change may also be planned for the NHS pension scheme.
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# 6
rrockettman
Old 20-12-2006, 5:56 PM
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Hi Sobraon.
As you say, these schemes are about to change, but it is not retrospective. People already recieving the pension will continue to be denied the right to remarry or even live with someone and keep their pension.

Thanks.
Russ.
Russ.
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# 7
djohn2002uk
Old 20-12-2006, 9:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrockettman
If they'd divorced, she'd have been entitled to half and he'd have contributed to bringing up their children, even if she remarried.
I think you are talking about 2 different things here.
The above sentence relates to him having not died. But if they had divorced and he'd remarried, as far as the NHS pension was concerned, I'm pretty sure his new next of kin would then be named to receive any future pension rights on his death. Remember here that any new rules are not retrospective.
If however you are referring to the law as it stands, then she would be entitled to half of his pension while he was alive and drawing his full entitlement but this could well not be the case had he remarried.
Where you said that "Had she divorced him on his death bed, she would have been entitled to half his pension and they would not be able to take it away from her", may not be true either, because the half pension payable on death is to the named next of kin. And having divorced him, she would no longer be his next of kin.
I could be wrong, but, I have a Civil Service pension and my wife has a NHS pension and the rules are almost identical, but I am only refering to my interpretation of the Civil Service scheme.

Last edited by djohn2002uk; 20-12-2006 at 9:52 PM.
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