1. Prior to 1 January 2007, all surviving partners of teachers lost their teachers’ survivor  pension (such as a widow’s pension) if they remarried, entered into a civil partnership or an ‘interdependent relationship.’

  2. On 1 January 2007, the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) Regulations changed, so that surviving partners retained their teachers’ survivor pension if they remarried, entered into a civil partnership or an ‘interdependent relationship.’

  3. This meant that two sets of Regulations began being applied to teachers’ adult survivor pensions: those which were applied to pensions before 1 January 2007 and those which were applied to pensions after 1 January 2007.

  4. There are fewer and fewer recipients of pre-2007 teachers’ survivor pensions and they are increasingly elderly. Nonetheless, Teachers’ Pensions surveys these recipients regularly to determine whether they have remarried, entered into a civil partnership or an ‘interdependent relationship.’ If they have, their survivor pension is withdrawn.

  5. In some cases, recipients of pre-2007 survivor pensions do not realise that they will lose their pension if they enter into another legal or independent relationship. They can end up having to pay back tens of thousands of pounds of their pension under these circumstances, causing genuine hardship.

  6. Teachers’ Pensions sends correspondence to recipients of pre-2007 survivor pensions asking them about their personal and sexual relationships which many pensioners find intrusive and upsetting. The NASUWT does not believe that it is necessary to send such correspondence.  

  7. The NASUWT is campaigning for all recipients of survivor pensions to be allowed to find happiness in another relationship after they have been bereaved, without their pension being at risk. The NASUWT does not consider that it is in the public interest to try to claw back any survivor pensions, given that the TPS Regulations have now been changed.

  8. In 2014, HM Government changed the Regulations for the Armed Forces Pension Scheme, so that pre-2005 war widows could remarry without losing their survivor pension. The NASUWT supports this, but does not see why the same approach should not be applied to teachers’ survivors (both male and female).

  9. The relatively low number of recipients of pre-2007 teachers’ survivor pensions means that the cost of allowing these pensioners to enter another legal or interdependent relationship would be negligible.

Writing to MPs

  1. Survivor benefits in public service pension schemes are reserved to HM Treasury, so members should contact their MP to ask for discrimination towards recipients of pre-2007 teachers’ survivor pensions to be ended, and for all pensioners to be allowed to keep their pension if they find happiness after bereavement and enter into another legal or interdependent relationship.

  2. MPs should also be asked to intervene to stop Teachers’ Pensions from sending intrusive correspondence to pensioners asking about any relationships after bereavement.  

  3. If you have a personal story to tell about the unfairness of your treatment as a recipient of a pre-2007 teachers’ pension, or the hardship which this causes, please do focus on this. Personal stories are particularly effective if MPs receive more than one piece of correspondence on the same issue.