Forces Pension Society

Fighting for the forces and their families

The War Widows’ Pension & Survivor’s Guaranteed Income Stream

October 10, 2018

When a member of the Armed Forces dies, and the cause of death is deemed to be attributable to their service – and they leave their spouse/partner an entitlement to either a War Widow’s Pension (WWP) or a Survivor’s Guaranteed Income Stream (SGIS) – there appears to be a misconception that these payments are made free from any income tax assessment.

It is perfectly true that lump sums paid to spouses/partners in such circumstances are not taxable, and also that War Pensions and/or a Guaranteed Income Stream paid to members of the Armed Forces who are, in cases of disablement, paid free of income tax; this is because they are the individual who has suffered the disability, and who is likely to have opportunities of future employment restricted because of the injury/disease that has led to the award. Whilst spouses/partners may be awarded benefits following the greatest disability a single person can suffer (death), it is not the spouse/partner who has suffered that disability and thereby had their employability restricted because of that disability.

Therefore, whilst the MoD recognises the moral necessity to provide financial support to the spouse/partner of a deceased member of the Services, it can only do so on the premise that this form of regular payment is treated as ‘another’ form of regular taxable income.

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