The Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC) is building consensus on what the landmark Brewster judgement means for the awarding of death benefits to unmarried couples.
On 8 February the Supreme Court ruled that Denise Brewster should receive the pension of her deceased unmarried partner, William Leonard McMullan, who paid into the Local Government Pension Scheme for Northern Ireland.
NILGOSC, which administers the scheme, will hold a meeting with public sector funds next month to discuss the Brewster ruling and broader questions about how schemes should award death benefits.
It is urging schemes to co-operate and think hard about how death benefits are awarded in light of the judgement.
Speaking exclusively to PP, NILGOSC chairman Trevor Salmon (pictured above) said it was important to hear from other scheme representatives about whether they were affected by similar issues and rulings.
"We have accepted the judgement without reservation but the government has been silent on the matter of the case and we would like to build a consensus on the way forward. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the impact of the Brewster decision.
"There might be other cases where the awarding of death benefits to surviving partners of unmarried couples may arise. This is not a straightforward issue."
A big part of the discussion will focus on how schemes should treat the nomination form, which was required by local government schemes so they could award a deceased member's pension to the surviving cohabitee.
In the Brewster case, the Supreme Court determined the nomination requirement for a surviving cohabitee to receive a pension is unnecessary.
Salmon added: "Many of the civil service schemes were relying on these nomination forms but what will be put in their place? How do schemes deal with these cases?"
The conference will take place on 27 April at the Park Avenue Hotel in Belfast, and will be attended by The Pensions Regulator and The Pensions Ombudsman.PP has examined the implications of the Brewster decision for private sector schemes.
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