Discrimination prevails between married and cohabitating couples in the LGPS

Catherine Harvey who has been cohabitating with her partner Stephen Roe for 29 years has been refused survivors’ pension when Mr. Roe passed away in 2016 from the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). This refusal was maintained despite the reform on 1st April 2008 where the Secretary of State changed the rules to include cohabiting couples in the entitlement to survivors’ pension. It was clear discrimination when the partner of someone who had worked alongside Mr. Roe for ten years up to 2003 and continued working until May 2008 was entitled to survivors’ pension for their service including the ten years they worked alongside Mr. Roe whereas Ms. Harvey was not entitled to receive anything for the same service. 

As our society changes, marriage is further down the ‘life plan’ for many couples. The United Kingdom, known as a forward moving country should have pension scheme rules which reflect the world we live in today, and not the world of 50 years ago. The Court’s judgment towards Ms. Harvey portrays the UK as a country that forces couples who are potentially saving to marry or are just not ready to marry into marriage. The discrimination against Ms. Harvey is totally unacceptable and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Source: Bindmans LLP

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