Dáil Éireann - Volume 595 - 16 December, 2004

Written Answers. - Pension Provisions.

  104. Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the pension entitlement of the spouse of an established civil servant after the [1070] death of the pensioner in circumstances in which the couple are living apart, legally separated, and divorced, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33914/04]

  Mr. Cowen: There are a number of spouses and children’s schemes for civil servants. While the rules of the schemes are broadly similar, entitlements and restrictions can vary from scheme to scheme. Under the rules of these schemes the term “spouse” means the surviving spouse of a marriage which is accepted as valid under the law of the State. Accordingly, the rules of the spouses and children’s schemes recognise the entitlement of a surviving spouse, as defined above, who is either living apart from or legally separated from the deceased member of the scheme. Entitlement ceases, as a general rule, in cases of divorce.

It should be noted, however, that the terms of a valid pensions adjustment order issued by the courts will take precedence over the rules of the schemes. In the case of the spouses and children’s pension schemes an order in relation to benefits may be made in favour of the dependent spouse and-or a person for the benefit of a dependent child, subject to certain conditions. Such an order is served on the trustees of the pension scheme and requires that a specified part of the benefit or benefits must be paid by them to the person or persons named in the order.