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Armed Forces Pension Scheme

Volume 401: debated on Thursday 20 March 2003

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The Government is aware of the concerns of Service personnel whose unmarried partners are currently ineligible for pension benefits. While this is being considered as part of the reviews of pension and compensation arrangements for the Armed Forces, we have concluded that it would be appropriate to address now the particular risks associated with conflict. We have therefore decided that, as of today, where a Service person dies as a result of service related to conflict, ex-gratia payments equivalent to benefits paid to a surviving spouse under the Armed Forces Pension Scheme may be awarded to their unmarried partner, where there is a substantial relationship. Eligibility for such benefits will be assessed against a set of criteria which would include financial dependence or interdependence, children, shared commitments such as mortgage, prime beneficiary of a will, shared accommodation, the length of the relationship and no legal spouse. The decision on eligibility would be based on a broad assessment of the substance of the relationship and not all of these criteria would need to be met for entitlement to exist.