Transgender women wins state pension back payments

A transgender woman from Londonderry has settled a case against the Department for Communities to back date her state pension payments.

According to a BBC report, Frances Shiels, 67, was entitled to her state pension in 2014, however, after she made the transition, she needed proof she was a woman with a certificate she could not receive while she was married.

As a result, Frances did not receive her Gender Recognition Certificate until May 2015 and was told her state pension would only be paid from that date, meaning she missed out on nine months of payments.

In Northern Ireland, unlike the rest of the UK, a Gender Recognition Certificate cannot be obtained if a person if still married.

Speaking to the BBC, Shiels said: “Society in general discriminates, however unconsciously, about being transgender and I suppose this case that I took is an example of that in that I took it quite personally that as a genetic female I would have been allowed to claim my state retirement pension from age 63."

"When I went to do that, I discovered that it could not be backdated until then because of my late transition and my inability up until then to get a Gender Recognition Certificate.

"I had never really thought of going for a Gender Recognition Certificate because I was in a marriage and I took those vows very seriously and it was not until the need for other people as well as myself to get that divorce that I was able to embark on that recognition process."

Shiels started her transition at aged 60 and approached the Human Rights Commission to help fight her case.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission chief commissioner, Les Allamby, felt the case was discriminatory.

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