UK - The government has announced plans to legislate to allow same-sex partners to pass on pension benefits to their survivor, giving them equal legal rights to married couples.
Under the changes, a homosexual who pays into an occupational or private pension scheme will be able to insist that when they die, the money be passed on to their spouse.
Announcing the move in the House of Commons, Trade minister Jacqui Smith, said the Civil Partnership Bill would be amended so that contracted-out pension schemes are required to provide survivor pensions for civil partners from rights built up all the way back to 1988, replicating the current position for widowers.
While some schemes already offer equal pension benefit rights to same-sex couples, the amendment will legally require the remaining pension schemes to toe the line.
The new law will apply to gay couples who have “contracted out” of the government’s State Second Pension, formerly known as Serps, by joining a private pension scheme.
Commenting on the move, secretary of state for work and pensions, Alan Johnson, said: “The Civil Partnership Bill is all about equality so I am delighted that with these changes civil partners will be able to pass on survivor pensions as married people do.
“This has important practical applications: often a pension will be the most valuable asset an individual has, so their ability to pass it on is crucial.”
The Civil Partnership Bill was introduced to the House of Lords on March 30 this year.
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