Remarried widows and widowers of prison officers have pensions reinstated

HMP Maghaberry

HMP Maghaberry

Pensions will be reinstated for widows and widowers of prison officers in Northern Ireland whose allowances stopped when they remarried, the finance minister said.

All widows and widowers whose husbands and wives were members of the Civil Service pension scheme are covered.

Mervyn Storey noted overwhelming support for the proposals.

“I have now decided to act and reinstate pensions from April 2016 to those widows and widowers who lost their pensions when, for example, they remarried.

“The changes I’ve announced today will benefit widows and widowers whose husbands and wives have served our community in Northern Ireland over many years, including prison officers, civilian members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Police Service of Northern Ireland,” he said.

Payments will be made from April onwards and will apply to all members in the future.

The minimal costs of this change will be met by the employer and spread over the lifetime of the pensions.

A number of consultees to the changes saw them as long overdue.

One civil servant commented that the existing regulations effectively penalised those who wished to move on in their life and made them financially dependent on their new partners.

Another saw the current policy as discriminatory in that a widow/widower should lose their pension entitlement in the event of remarriage or cohabitation.