THE Forces Pension Society’s (FPS) campaign for all Service widows to continue to receive their pension even if they cohabit or remarry is gathering pace.
As we highlighted in the spring edition of Army&You, FPS argues that the rule, which confiscates the pension of a widow if they decide to live with a new partner or get married again, is a relic of a bygone age that will condemn widows to a solitary life.
The Justice for Widows campaign draws attention to the fact that anyone whose soldier is signed up to Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975 is also subject to the rules, affecting many of you in the future.
Labour MP Katy Clark recently tabled an Early Day Motion urging the government to amend the scheme so that widows do not have to give up their entitlement, acknowledging that Service spouses have often made enormous sacrifices to support their soldier’s career.
In their efforts to highlight the plight of widows, FPS produced an advertisement outlining the case and it was booked to appear in a number of key Service media until it was censored by the MOD.
FPS believes the ruling completely defies the spirit of the Armed Forces Covenant and will continue to work hard to get the rule abolished. If you would like to find out more, contact FPS at www.ForcesPensionSociety.org.uk
I am 61 years old and the widow of a WO1 who served in the military police until he retired with 23 years’ service. He was diagnosed with cancer and died when we were both in our early 50s.
Why should I have a pension for life?
I travelled the world with my husband – my three daughters were all born in different countries. I remember my mother being horrified when I took our two eldest daughters aged four and two to Northern Ireland for a two-year tour at the height of the troubles. My husband always said he would not have achieved so much if I had not always been at his side.
I was unable to pursue a career. Though I did work sometimes I always seemed to have to move on when promotion was in sight.
Being widows in your 50s is a difficult age as you face the prospect of possibly thirty or even forty years alone. I found the loneliness of widowhood very hard to bear and four years ago I met a man who has become very important to me. We are both in our 60s and we would now like to live together but the issue of losing my Army pension is preventing this.
I don’t feel that he should or would be able to support me financially. I receive only £346 after tax per month but it would make a big difference to my standard of living if I lost it, so we have decided that living together is not an option for us. I feel the current situation is condemning me to a lonely old age!
Thank you FPS for fighting for me and widows like me.