IMPORTANT PENSION NEWS
Were you a serving officer in 1972 or 1990?
If so you will have been given the opportunity to uprate your widow[er] pension.
We have recently been made aware of an issue in relation to the inadequate retention of important pension records around the election made by Officers in 1972, when an option was given to uprate their widows pension entitlement from a third to a half.
The issue initially arose where a NARPO member died and told his wife before he died to make sure she received the half–rate pension as he had decided to uprate. The Pension Authority could find no records relating to the officer’s pension in 1972 and as a result made the decision that they would only pay the widows pension at the rate of a third. The officer in question had transferred from another Force and it would appear that his pension record was not transferred over with him. The widow was adamant, but nevertheless the Pension Authority refused to uprate the pension despite their being no record whatsoever covering his previous service.
Owing to the widows’ persistence and with assistance from our local NARPO Branch, the widow managed to find her late husband’s records in a separate location. That file contained a form signed by her husband in 1973 showing that he had elected to increase the widow pension entitlement through reduction in his own pension.
In correspondence with the Force concerned they have confirmed that in the absence of any records being found from 1972 they would automatically pay the widows pension at the rate of a third.
This record keeping issue could also affect those female officers serving in 1990, when an opportunity was given for them to ‘buy back’ previous service so that it attracted a half rate widower’s pension. This should be recorded on their pension records. Make sure your loved one receives the pension to which they are entitled.
YOU ARE ADVISED TO CONTACT YOUR PENSION ADMINISTRATOR TO MAKE SURE THEY STILL HAVE A RECORD OF YOUR ELECTION.
The Southend Branch of NARPO have been contacted by former ACC Jim Dickinson with regard to this post:
It will be noted that the Force involved in the case in question have taken the stance that if they do not hold a record establishing that an officer elected to uprate the pension payment then the widow(er) would be paid at the lower, one third, rate.
I have spoken to Megan Wallace, Pensions Consultant, Essex Pension Fund, Essex County Hall Tel 01243 431666 (Email firstname.lastname@example.org } and she has confirmed that the pension administrator, cited by NARPO, as having mislaid member’s elections was not Essex Pension Fund. The records held by Essex are very thorough with a large archive of historical documentation, including members pre 1972 elections.
Most importantly she stated ‘In the event of an appropriate election not being held on your pension record and, in the case of any doubt as to the amount of widow’s pension falling due, we would always calculate the higher amount.’
I have Emails from Megan containing the above information.
I share this with you as the information may provide some reassurance to colleagues.
You may also wish to consider whether some one on behalf of NARPO –(Essex branches) should write to Essex Pension Fund so that a more formal response is held on behalf of members in case difficulties occur in the future.