Widows’ pension campaign moves toward Parliament

Posted on December 11, 2014 | Category :Uncategorized | Comments Off

House of Commons

A CAMPAIGN to grant the widows and widowers of fallen police officers their spouse’s pension if they remarry or cohabit gathers pace – and has moved to Parliament.

MPs heard from a group of surviving widows how the current rules force those fortunate enough to form new relationships after the death of a husband or wife to choose between love and money. At the time of writing, more than 70,000 people had signed an online petition on the matter. 

It calls on Home Secretary Theresa May to allow widows of police officers to keep their spouse’s pension if they remarry or cohabit.

The campaign – which has the support of Care of Police Survivors – follows on from a decision in Northern Ireland to reinstate pensions for widows and widowers whose spouses died from 1 January 1972.

Under the RUC Pension Regulations 1988 these survivors will now have their widows’ pension reinstated from 1 July 2014.

The petition was started by police widow Kate Hall – whose West Midlands Police officer husband Colin died from a heart attack at the scene of an incident in 1987.

In 2001 she “was faced with a very difficult decision: to keep my police widows’ pension, or move in with my partner; although I could ill afford to lose the money living apart was becoming intolerable.”

The campaign further gathered momentum when news emerged in November that from April 2015 all survivors’ pensions awarded to armed forces spouses and civil partners will be for life.

Those already in receipt of such a pension will continue to receive payments if they decide to remarry, cohabit or form a civil partnership after this date.

Kate said: “The Home Office are contradicting themselves every time they speak to us or contact us.

“We are being told that in the current climate it cannot be considered [for police spouses] as it is unaffordable, but Mr Cameron went on TV and said we can afford to do it with the army because we have got such a strong economy. You can’t have it both ways.”

COPS Co-founder Christine Fulton said: “Our loved ones all signed up to the same sort of pension scheme and all we are asking for is parity, to be allowed to fall in love and move forward with our lives the way our husbands and wives would want.”

In October, Kate, Christine, Amanda Keylock, Alison Mayle and Helen Walker along with Clint Elliott, CEO of NARPO attended the House of Commons. That month, the police minister Mike Penning was quizzed in Parliament by Cathy Jamieson MP over “widows of police officers continuing entitlement to dependants’ pensions on remarriage.” She said she will be “following up with [a] letter to ministers.”

You can sign the pension here https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-grant-police-widows-pensions-for-life-don-t-make-them-choose-between-future-happiness-and-pensions

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