Changes to nominated partner benefits

Nominated partner benefits (also known as adult partner benefits in the police schemes) were introduced to public service schemes between 2006 and 2009. As part of entitlement to those benefits it was a mandatory requirement that a nomination form had to be completed (this requirement was removed from the Local Government Pensions Scheme with effect from 1 April 2015). This requirement was in addition to meeting the underlying conditions which must be satisfied for a continuous period of at least 2 years for a nominated partner pension to be paid.

Broadly these are:

· The scheme member is able to marry, or form a civil partnership with their partner;

· The scheme member and partner are living with each other as if they were a married couple or civil partners;

· Neither the scheme member nor the partner is living with a third person as if they were a married couple or civil partners; and

· The member and partner are financially interdependent or the partner is financially dependent on the member.

Nominated partner benefits were not introduced to the Police 1987 or the Firefighters 1992 schemes but members were given the opportunity to transfer to the 2006 schemes on preferential terms which do provide these benefits.


What’s changed?

On 8 February 2017, the Supreme Court decided that refusing a claim on the grounds that a nomination form had not been completed despite the underlying conditions being met is incompatible with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and was therefore unlawful

The Supreme Court's decision also applies to other public service schemes, and since February SPPA has removed the mandatory requirement to complete a nomination form, although a form can still be completed on a voluntary basis. However the underlying conditions mentioned above have not changed and must still be met for a claim to succeed.

Scottish Ministers have decided that this change should be applied to any case that has previously met the underlying conditions but which would not have gained entitlement due to the lack of a nomination form. In those cases the member concerned should contact SPPA for guidance. It is important to note that to enable a nominated partner pension to be paid the underlying conditions must be met.

SPPA has applied this change for claims received from 8 February 2017 but this change will also apply to any claim disallowed where a nomination form was not held but the underlying conditions were met.

My claim was refused because my partner had not completed a nomination form- what do I need to do?

If you made a claim for a nominated partner benefit before 8 February 2017 and were refused on the grounds that a nomination form had not been completed then you should contact the SPPA as soon as possible for further advice.

Although the mandatory requirement for a completed nomination form has been withdrawn a form will still be available for anyone who would like to inform SPPA of their partnership details. This will only be used for administrative purposes but may provide useful additional information in the event of a claim being made. As mentioned above any entitlement to a nominated partner benefit will be based on the underlying conditions being met.


Teachers Schemes only

Nominated partner benefits are based on a member's service from 1 April 2007. There is an opportunity for existing scheme members to increase the amount of nominated partner benefits by buying pre 1 April 2007 service. This was previously offered on receipt of a nomination form but as completion of these forms will no longer be mandatory anyone interested in purchasing additional service for nominated partner benefits should contact SPPA. To  elect to buy pre 2007 service  an application must be made within 6 months of the partnership meeting the underlying conditions, as shown above, and which must be satisfied for a continuous period of at least 2 years.

Link to Scottish Government Website