PEI

Some ex-spouses of P.E.I. government employees could get a pension

Some spouses of provincial government employees involved in a marriage break-up could be getting their own pension, thanks to changes approved by the P.E.I. cabinet. In the past, the ex-partner of a government employee could get a lump sum payment if there was an ordered division of pension assets.

New rules will divide pension between both parties when ordered in marriage splits

(Shutterstock)

Some spouses of provincial government employees involved in a marriage break-up could be getting their own pension, thanks to changes approved by the P.E.I. cabinet.

In the past, the ex-partner of a government employee could get a lump sum payment if there was an ordered division of pension assets.

They wouldn't be able to access that money until the government employee turned 55.

But from now on in these cases instead of a lump sum, they will get a pension.

Terry Hogan, the province's manager of pension and benefits, says separating the pension takes the guess work out of the system. (CBC)
"Now we simply adjust the member's pension down and set the former spouse up as a new member," said Terry Hogan, manager of pension and benefits for the province.

"If the marriage breakdown hadn't occurred and the member drew the pension at 55, the spouse would have benefited, so we just try to mirror what would have happened."

Hogan said this means there's no longer a need to calculate what the pension could be worth at 55, and is fairer to both parties.

"When you are doing a lump sum calculation you are trying to estimate what the future value of a pension is going to be," he said. "So now you take away that guess work. You keep them in the pension plan so you make sure that the member doesn't get too much or too little or that the former spouse doesn't get too much or too little."

The new marriage breakdown rules in the civil service pension plan come into effect on March 12.

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