Definition of Spouse

In order to ensure that the Trustees apply consistent and equitable rulings in deciding upon any contentious claims lodged by the “spouse” of a deceased member, the following guidelines shall be used by the Trustees in determining whether the “spouse” claiming the benefit is entitled to such benefit.

  1. Did the member elect to participate in the optional spouse’s benefit?
  2. Was the “spouse” nominated by the deceased member in writing?
  3.  Is there evidence of a relationship between the deceased member and the “spouse” where such relationship was of a long term nature and built upon mutual dependancy and trust?  Examples would include joint bank accounts, joint ownership of property, and long-term cohabitation etc.
  4. Is there any other evidence of a relationship such as a nomination of the “spouse” as a beneficiary in terms of the deceased member’s last will and testament?
  5. Was the “spouse” recorded as a beneficiary in terms of the deceased member’s medical plan?Note: In cases where the medical plan makes no provision for a member and spouse of the same gender, such absence of recognition as a “spouse” shall not prejudice, reduce or limit the rights of the “spouse” under this practice note.
  6. Had the deceased member and the “spouse” drawn up any other legal document which would support the claim to spouse’s benefits?
  7. Based on the balance of positive (or negative) responses to questions (b) to (f) is the “spouse” entitled to a benefit?