Belfast Telegraph

Remarried RUC widows will now get pensions

By Staff Reporter

All widowed spouses of RUC officers are to finally get their pensions reinstated after a dispute over an eligibility date was resolved.

The Department of Justice said it estimated that the overall pension payments to the widows will total around £1m each year.

It was announced in June that police widows who had their pensions stopped when they remarried were to get it reinstated.

The new pension scheme - which came about as a result of a TUV amendment to the public pensions bill - was supposed to take effect in July. But by September no payments had been made.

It emerged that officials believe the change only applied to widows or widowers whose late spouses died in service from January 1, 1989 and those who retired after that date and subsequently died.

But TUV leader Jim Allister said the Department of Justice had now agreed to include all police widows - including those who were widowed and remarried before the cut-off date.

"The department has now acknowledged that the change in the law will indeed apply to all widows," he said. "This development will come as a welcome relief to remarried widows across Northern Ireland who can now know that their pensions will be reinstated as soon as possible."

A Department of Justice spokesman said everyone eligible for payments, including those who were initially thought to be excluded, will have their payments backdated to July 2014.

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson said Justice Minister David Ford had undone a wrong.

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