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Equality North East

Co-habiting unmarried partner wins pensions case

Unmarried partners of occupational pension scheme members should be eligible for survivor pension benefits, regardless of whether or not they have been nominated, following a judgment on 8 February at the Supreme Court.

Denise Brewster lived with her partner Lenny McMullan for 10 years before the couple got engaged on 24 December 2009. Mr McMullan died suddenly two days later and had not left a will.

He had paid into a local government pension scheme for 15 years, but had not filled in a form nominating his partner to receive a survivor’s allowance.

Ms Brewster argued that she was discriminated against by the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC), which administered the scheme, because – owing to the lack of a completed form – it refused her a survivor’s pension.

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March 15, 2017

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