Pensions for Same Sex Partners

Pensions for Same-Sex Partners

Since 2005, if you are over the age of 16, it is legally possible to register your relationship with a same-sex partner as a civil partnership. This means that when it comes to State Pensions, you and your partner will have the same civil rights as a married couple. From 2010, more procedures have been put in place to ensure that same-sex partners are treated just as heterosexual men and women are.

Joint-life annuities

Changes to the law since 2005 have gone a long way towards equality for same-sex partners. Due to these measures, those in civil partnerships can now purchase joint-life annuities upon retirement, as opposed to a standard single-life annuity.  This annuity will continue to pay an income to your civil partner after your death. This income with be part of what you were receiving before you died. This is a proportion which you choose on taking out this annuity. Higher proportions are more expensive and your annuity income would therefore be smaller.

If you choose to take out a joint-life annuity with your partner, you should be aware that they are more expensive than the standard annuity. This is because you are expected to pay the income for a longer period of time. You should also check the terms of the annuity with individual providers. Some annuity providers will not allow to set up a joint-life annuity if your partner is more than 10 years your junior, for example. Also, some providers require that you are within a legal civil partnership or marriage to set up the joint-life annuity.

Survivors’ benefits

If you have been registered as a civil partnership, and your partner dies, you are eligible to receive survivors’ benefits just as the wife or husband of a marriage would be. These benefits are based on pensionable service of your partner since 5 December 2005. They are also available to those who were employed by contracted-out schemes. However, this is based on service from 6 April 1988.

There is a possibility for your pension scheme to backdate survivors’ benefits to before December 2005, but they are not legally required to do this. If you enter into a civil partnership, it is important to find out what benefits you are your partner would be eligible for, should one of you die. You should regularly check for changes in applicable laws, and your own pension scheme.

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