Looks at the background to the change in the rules to allow all people in receipt of a War Widow(er)s' Pension in April 2015 to keep it for life (regardless of remarriage or cohabitation) and at the current campaign to allow pensions to be reinstated for those who had already surrendered them.Jump to full report >>
The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) has provided survivors’ benefits for the partners of service personnel whose death was attributable to their service from 6 April 2005. AFCS survivors’ benefits are unaffected by any marriage, civil partnership or cohabitation.
For deaths occurring before 6 April 2005, the overall payment may be made up of a non-attributable pension from Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS 75) and a compensation award. The compensation award may be made up of two parts.
WPS & AFAB has different burdens of proof. There can be instances where only WPS is paid & no compensation is paid from AFAB.
Under both schemes, the original policy was to withdraw survivors’ benefits in the event of remarriage or cohabitation. The rules have however changed so that:
The change introduced on 1 April 2015 did not extend to those who had already surrendered a War Widows’ Pension on remarriage or cohabitation. However, in response to recent PQs Defence Minister Mark Lancaster has said he is “sympathetic to the circumstances of this group of widows” and has asked “officials to continue to consider potential options given the financial and legal considerations we are faced with” (PQ 49238 26 October 2016).
The introduction of lifetime survivors’ pensions in other public service schemes is covered in Library Briefing Paper SN-07109.
Commons Briefing papers SN00568
Authors: Djuna Thurley; Steven Kennedy