A GAY couple spoke of their fears of destitution yesterday unless the government changes discriminatory laws on occupational pensions.
Peter Armstrong-Luckhurst and his husband Kristofer have been together for 25 years and married last December.
Mr Armstrong-Luckhurst has contributed towards an NHS pension scheme and bought four years’ worth of pension credits since 1999.
But he said that “in the event of my death before Kris his pension is assessed as £793.18 per annum.
“An opposite sex widow would receive a half pension, £5,585.91 per annum — a difference of about £4,800 per year.”
Survivors’ pension benefits were reviewed by the government in 2005 to include same-sex couples, but claims still only apply to contributions made from that year onwards.
The TUC found that 70,000 of its members in same-sex relationships contribute towards defined-benefit pension schemes in the private sector alone.
It is estimated that one in four of these pension schemes discriminates against same-sex couples.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The government must remove the last hurdle to equality under the law and bring an end to the discrimination that could leave thousands of people in poverty at a time when they are grieving for a loved one.”