The Department for Education has opened a consultation into plans to extend survivor benefits under the teachers’ pension scheme to civil and same-sex partners.
The change, one of three proposed to the scheme, comes after the Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that the husband of former cavalry officer John Walker was entitled to the same benefits upon Walker’s death as he would have been had he been married to someone of the opposite sex.
The landmark ruling prompted wholesale reform of all public sector pensions.
As well as providing civil partners and same-sex spouses with the same survivor pension rights as widows, the DfE intends to remove a requirement for the completion of a nomination form for unmarried partner benefits and make “other small technical changes and clarifications to ensure that the scheme operates as intended”.
The consultation will run for six weeks.
“These very important changes will make the Teachers’ Pension Scheme fairer for teachers and their spouses in same-sex marriages and civil partnerships, and will simplify the process for those in unmarried relationships,” said Nick Gibb, the schools minister.
“Over the next six weeks we will seek the views of a variety of stakeholders to ensure these changes properly meet our legal responsibilities, and I would urge all those involved to share their views.”