Recognition of same sex marriages/civil partnerships under Public Service ‘Original’ Spouses’ and Children’s Contributory Pension Scheme’
Brief background /explanation
This Circular relates to spouses and children’s pension benefits for same sex couples.
It is of limited application; it is relevant only to:
former members of ‘original’ public service spouses’ and children’s (‘S&C’) schemes (introduced in 1970s and 1980s for PDF); or
former pensionable public servants who elected not to join an original S&C scheme when the membership option was made available to them
The Circular deals with new obligations which arise under legislation (1)
and apply to same sex couples (one partner being a member of a public service pension scheme) where the individuals concerned entered a same sex marriage or civil partnership after retirement and within three years of enactment of the legislation (2)
that enabled them to do so.
The legislation (1)
applies to same sex couples (one partner being a member of a public service pension scheme) in circumstances in which the former public servant elected not to join an original S&C scheme when such schemes were introduced into the public service, and did not subsequently become a member of a revised scheme.
Under the legislation (1),
the right of entitlement of a former public servant to pension benefits is specifically linked, and limited, to:
the individual having been in a committed relationship with another person of the same sex at the time he or she reached the date of retirement, (2)
he or she having, within a period of three years from the date of enactment of the relevant legislation (2)
enabling legal recognition of same sex relationships in Ireland (that is, the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 and the Marriage Act 2015), entered into a civil partnership or marriage with that other person or had their foreign civil partnership or marriage legally recognised within the State under that legislation, and
payment being made in respect of the contributions, and any interest applied in respect of those contributions, that are required to be paid into the scheme for the purpose of obtaining entitlement to those benefits
the Circular will not be relevant to members/former members of the ‘revised’ S&C schemes (introduced in 1980s for PDF). nor the Single Public Service Pension Scheme, as these schemes provide for marriages or civil partnerships that are entered into post-retirement
the legislation (1)
does not provide for a right to pension benefits in respect of persons who are not, or never were, members of a public service pension scheme
reference to ‘member’ includes a member who has died
Section 27 of the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Act 2018 (the ‘2018 Act’) which inserted a new Part VIIA into the Pensions Act 1990 (the ‘1990 Act’)
the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 and the Marriage Act 2015
Any queries regarding this Circular can be directed to the Pensions Administration Section, Department of Defence as follows: