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Service pension for common law wife

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Service pension for common law wife

Old 18th Oct 2021, 19:03
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Service pension for common law wife

Can anyone point me to a link, a friend of mine has recently passed away and his partner of 12 years has been told she is not entitled to his pension, is this correct.
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Old 18th Oct 2021, 19:30
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I am far from being an expert on this subject, however AFPS75 - Family Benefits would seem a good starting point. At first glance, it doesn’t look encouraging I’m afraid.
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Old 18th Oct 2021, 20:17
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If they were registered in a civil partnership: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/fa...il-partnership Then, yes, they should be entitled to a 50% pension. If they were just ‘shacked up’ then I believe that AFPS75 does not provide for that. The new AFPS15 does provide for that:

If you have no surviving spouse or civil partner, an eligible partner may also be eligible to receive a pension, providing that a substantial and exclusive relationship existed with financial dependence or inter-dependence, and there was no legal reason preventing you from getting married or forming a civil partnership.
But if they are neither a Spouse, or formally in a Civil Partnership, then my understanding is that AFPS75 will not pay out.
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Old 18th Oct 2021, 20:20
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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49017783

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk...fings/sn06348/
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Old 18th Oct 2021, 20:38
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If he was on AFPS05(as I am)then, as long as they were living together, his partner would be entitled to about 60% of his pension although it's abated if there's more than a 12 year age difference. You're supposed to fill in a form which names your live-in 'significant other' in case of your death. AFPS75 made no provision for unmarried couples, as far as I am aware, and there's no such thing as a 'common law' wife I'm afraid.

Last edited by Specaircrew; 18th Oct 2021 at 21:30.
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Old 19th Oct 2021, 02:42
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I’m surprised the Gay Lobby hasn’t fixed this yet!
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Old 19th Oct 2021, 05:36
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There was a long running case about the death of Air Cdre Green who had lived with a lady for a number of years until his sudden death.

A long struggle ensued but my recollection is that she was eventually awarded something - but can't remember the details.

There are plenty of organisations: RAFBF, SSAFA etc who will be able to advise.

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Old 19th Oct 2021, 08:29
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The term Common Law Wife is often bandied about but in legal terms there is no such thing, well at least not in England. You are ether legally married, whether it be a civil partnership between male and female or both of the same sex or you are cohabiting when you have very few rights or legal protection. People who are cohabiting can obviously draw up legal agreements concerning financial and inheritance matters which can help but probably won't work under AFPS rules which don't, as far as I know take into account cohabiting couples
I know many unmarried couples that have been in a very loving and stable relationships for many years. Indeed my present neighbours are both in their 80s and have been together for over 20 years and good luck to them and they have taken professional advice regarding of disposal of assets when one of them dies. However how do you define a common law wife? Is it someone you picked up at the NAAFI bop last Saturday night and you have been shacked up with for the past week? Is it someone you have been living with for X number of months/years? Is there a time limit? Is it a case of you walking into SHQ and saying - person X is now my common law partner and gets my pension? Can you change this on a weekly/monthly basis depending on who you pick up at the NAAFI bop? Being a bit silly there but you can't easily define and regulate it. The easy answer is of course a legal marriage but I know that is not available to some people who for whatever reason can't get married.
Many civilian companies allow you to nominate someone to receive your pension when you die so perhaps this is the way forward for the military.
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Old 19th Oct 2021, 09:22
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Many civilian companies allow you to nominate someone to receive your pension when you die so perhaps this is the way forward for the military.
Is not some of the pension pot made up of funding left over from those that have died but had no spouse etc? would it not diminish the pot to pay that out to third parties?
I suppose one way to assertain their couple status is look at the electoral register, council tax register, however renters etc would show up.
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Old 19th Oct 2021, 12:43
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Is not some of the pension pot made up of funding left over from those that have died but had no spouse etc? would it not diminish the pot to pay that out to third parties?
I suppose one way to assertain their couple status is look at the electoral register, council tax register, however renters etc would show up.
Since this will be defined by salary and not by performance of investment, there is no pot. The money just comes from (certain) amorphous government finances
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Old 19th Oct 2021, 14:09
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In the opposite case, I know of one recipient of a war widow's pension who was 'encouraged' to relinquish that pension. Because of a subsequent supposed 'common law' relationship. [The pension would have ceased in the event of re-marriage.]

Surely they can't have it both ways?
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Old 19th Oct 2021, 14:35
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Originally Posted by KPax View Post
Can anyone point me to a link, a friend of mine has recently passed away and his partner of 12 years has been told she is not entitled to his pension, is this correct.
AFPS 75 pays pensions to a spouse or civil partner, KPax. Scheme booklet on the subject is attached. For an unmarried partner to qualify, the couple would need to meet the criteria set out in para 2.4 of the attached.

AFPS 05/AFPS 15 include provision for unmarried partners.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
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Old 19th Oct 2021, 16:48
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Google "jane langford pension" - a lady who fought the system and won a pension - her partner was a One star IIRC who died in service and they tried to cut her out
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Old 19th Oct 2021, 17:20
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Although I am married, my pension is sorted out if I die before my wife. I would not expect her to fight for it once I'm gone. Her pension is also taken care of.

My sympathies are somewhat reduced towards those who don't bother to sort out something that is quite important.
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Old 19th Oct 2021, 18:33
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Originally Posted by ForcesPensionSociety View Post
AFPS 75 pays pensions to a spouse or civil partner, KPax. Scheme booklet on the subject is attached. For an unmarried partner to qualify, the couple would need to meet the criteria set out in para 2.4 of the attached.

AFPS 05/AFPS 15 include provision for unmarried partners.
Reference para 2.4, then I believe that is only if the death was attributed to the Service???

Important to read the sentence in toto:


2.4 Eligible Partner Benefits – Your partner may be eligible to receive a pension where death was attributable to Service. This is the same as that paid to a spouse/ civil partner.
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Old 20th Oct 2021, 06:38
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The 'attributable' cause of death was just part of the criteria which is why I referred KPax to the whole para.
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Old 20th Oct 2021, 11:47
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How anyone can go along withe "common Law Wife" theme is really beyond me - it's been clear for decades that no such category exists in English Law
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Old 20th Oct 2021, 14:01
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Since we are talking about the entitlement to a widow's pension, may I perhaps point out that there are still some of us who retired before 1978, were then widowed, and were lucky enough to make a second marriage. Our widows will get nowt.
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Old 20th Oct 2021, 21:46
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According to EQUINITY, a service pension does not have a capital transfer value. In other words there is no pension pot to dig into especially if it is already being paid. The only thing they are authorised to do is pay a legal spouse.a percentage (depending on which scheme is applicable). Some legal action may be able to challenge that in specific cases, but there are no guarantees.
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Old 21st Oct 2021, 07:48
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Google "jane langford pension" - a lady who fought the system and won a pension - her partner was a One star IIRC who died in service and they tried to cut her out
A good place to start. This is the case to which O-D refers in his post No 7.

He was Chris Green, Station Commander and Commandant at Cosford and died in post; Jane had been a much liked and respected Station Commander's "wife" during his time there. He was a top bloke too.

There was a further complication; IIRC for some reason Jane had never actually divorced her first husband. This was a sticking point for some years, but she won in the end.
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