05:19, February 08 353 0 theguardian.com

2017-02-08 05:19:09
UK supreme court backs woman's right to receive late partner's pension

A Northern Ireland woman who was refused payments from her former partner’s pension has won her battle to extend benefits automatically to those who are unmarried.

Denise Brewster, from Coleraine, had been living with Lenny McMullan for 10 years. They were engaged on Christmas Eve 2009 but he died suddenly in the early hours of Boxing Day morning.

Her victory at the supreme court marks a significant extension of the rights of unmarried cohabitees and could affect the rights of millions of families across the UK. The five justices said that the refusal to pay her the pension was unlawful.

McMullan had worked for 15 years for Translink, which runs Northern Ireland’s public transport services. He had paid into Northern Ireland’s local government pension scheme.

It required members, using a designated form, to nominate cohabiting partners before they become eligible for a survivors’ pensions. That nomination had not been made for Brewster and she was denied the pension.

Brewster’s lawyers had argued that the requirement of the nomination form was disproportionate and effectively discriminatory.

More details soon . . .