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Armed Forces: Pensions

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what records his Department holds on (a) the number of personnel (i) serving and (ii) serving less than 22 years in the (A) Army, (B) Royal Navy and (C) Royal Air Force between 1949 and 1975 and (b) the amount of the gratuity paid to ex-service personnel who did not serve 22 years during that period. (138422)

The information is not held in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the reasons are for the policy on the payment of a pension to a former spouse of a retired member of the armed forces under 65 years. (138606)

Pension sharing was introduced by the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999. The legislation is the responsibility of the Department for Work and Pensions. Under the provisions of the Act, it is possible to share the value of a pension between both parties as part of a financial settlement on divorce. The Act stipulates pension credit benefit (the income from the share of the value of the member’s pension awarded to the former spouse) is not payable in an occupational pension scheme before ‘normal benefit age’. The legislation prescribes that normal benefit age under a scheme must be between 60 and 65.

The MOD applies this principle to the Armed Forces Pension Schemes and under a Pension Sharing Order the ex-spouse is generally treated in the same way as a member who leaves with a preserved pension. Prior to 6 April 2006, personnel in the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975 (AFPS 75) who left before the immediate pension point, having completed at least two years reckonable service, had their benefits preserved to age 60. From April 2006, the preserved pension age was changed to 65 to take account of the impact of longevity and the age at which an ex-spouse could receive their pension share also rose to age 65.

For the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2005 (AFPS 05) the preserved pension age and the age at which pension shares become payable has been 65 since the scheme’s introduction on 6 April 2005.