Articles of Association
The Articles of Association set out the parameters within which the Council and the Society’s Membership operate. Click here to open the REOWS Articles of Association approved by Special Resolution at the October 2020 AGM.
Rules of the Society
Rules of the Society which all Members must abide were adopted by Council Resolution on 15 October 2020 and amended by Council Resolution on 14 October 2021 (see amendments record at foot of page). The Rules also set out how benefits to widow(er)s are administered. The Rules are reviewed and can be amended from time to time via Council Resolution.
These Rules are supplemental to, and are adopted by the Council pursuant to, the authority granted by the Articles.
2.1. A reference to the Articles is a reference to the Articles of Association of the Society as amended, varied or adopted by the Members from time to time.
2.2. A reference to these Rules is a reference to these Rules as amended or varied from time to time.
2.3. Capitalised terms used in these Rules shall, unless stated otherwise herein or the context otherwise requires, have the same meaning as set out in the Articles.
2.4. Unless the context otherwise requires, words in the singular shall include the plural and in the plural shall include the singular and a reference to one gender shall include a reference to the other genders.
2.5. In these Rules the following words and phrases shall bear the following meanings unless inconsistent with the subject or context:
“Beneficiary” means a Spouse at the date of the Member’s death;
(a) a Partner at the date of the Member’s death;
(b) a Dependent Child at the date of the Member’s death;
(c) an Other Dependent at the date of the Member’s death.
“Benefits Table” the table setting out the amount of Benefits payable to Beneficiaries (subject to the terms of these Rules and the Articles) derived from Units of Membership held by a deceased Member, as amended or updated by the Council from time to time and including the notes thereto, which shall be published on the Website.
“Dependent Child” a child of the Member (including a legally adopted child and a dependent step-child under a Long Term Relationship or a Legally Recognised Relationship) who is formally notified to the Society pursuant to Rule 4.5 and:
(a) has not reached the age of 21, or
(b) has reached the age of 21 and, in the opinion of the Council, is dependent on the Member because of physical or mental impairment
and the term “Dependent Children” shall be interpreted accordingly.
“Long Term Relationship” means a relationship in which a Member has been co-habiting on an exclusive and continuous basis with the same partner for a period of not less than 12 months and is recognised as such by the Council.
“Legally Recognised Relationship” means marriage or civil partnership.
“Other Dependent” a person who is not a Spouse, Partner or Dependent Child of a Member but who, in the opinion of the Council, is:
(a) financially dependent on the Member; or
(b) dependent on the Member because of physical or mental impairment.
“Partner” any person who is the partner of a Member in a Long Term Relationship with the Member and is formally notified to the Society pursuant to Rule 4.5.
“Spouse” any person who is married to, or a civil partner of, a Member and is formally notified to the Society pursuant to Rule 4.5.
“Subscriptions” means subscriptions payable for Units of Membership (subject to the terms of these Rules and the Articles) and as set out in the Subscriptions Table.
“Subscription Table” the table setting out the amount of Subscriptions payable by Members for Units of Membership as amended or updated by the Council from time to time and including the notes thereto, which shall be published on the Website.
“Units of Membership” or “units” means units of membership the holding ofwhich entitles Members’ estates and/or Beneficiaries (as the case may be) to the payment of lump sums and annuity payments from the funds of the Society in the event of a Member’s death.
3. APPLICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP
3.1. The provisions of this Rule 3 are made under the authority of Article 4 of the Articles and shall apply to applications for membership of the Society in addition to the provisions set out at Articles 2 to 8 (inclusive) of the Articles.
3.2. The medical examination referred to at Article 11.2 of the Articles shall be the Joint Medical Employment Standard (JMES, based on the PULHHEEMS system) at a standard not lower than P3 MLD(T). Applicants must sign a declaration of satisfaction of this requirement (on application forms) and shall agree that the Society may request their medical records in the event of a claim. This does not preclude applications from those with a lower JMES (due to, for example, musculoskeletal injuries) in respect of whom the Council may use its discretion and potential applicants are encouraged to present a case for Council consideration confirming the nature of their employment restriction. The Council may at its discretion approve any equivalent medical examination.
3.3. Any new Units of Membership for which a Member has subscribed (whether an initial application or additional units) shall be held for a minimum of 12 months.
3.4. The Council may offer ‘introductory offers’ for discounted subscription rates for Units of Membership (details of which are to be set out in the Subscription Table) to new applicants regardless of commission type to apply as long as any such new applicant who becomes a Member maintains the minimum number of Units of Membership mandated in that introductory offer. Should a member reduce his Units of Membership below such minimum, the full unit rate shall become payable from the effective date of the reduction. If increased to such minimum threshold again in the future, the original discounted subscription rate may become applicable from the date of that increase only (for the avoidance of doubt, not retrospectively).
3.5. In all cases the starting unit ‘base rate’ will be dictated by age upon application, before any introductory offers are applied.
3.6. Unless deployed on an operational tour or exercise (involving military or adventure training), cover will not become effective (and benefits will not be payable under Articles 56 or 57) until after six months of first payment for a Unit of Membership. The Council may exercise discretion depending on the individual case in the event of death within six months.
3.7. The liability of the Members as members of the Society is unlimited, so that in the event of insolvency of the Society the Members may be required to contribute to the Society’s liabilities without limit. In practice, the Council will, through obtaining actuarial advice, seek to ensure that the liabilities of the Society will at no time exceed the assets of the Society by amending the Subscription Table and Benefits Table accordingly.
4.1. Members may apply to reduce their Units of Membership to the minimum allowable holding applicable provided they have held the units for at least 12 months.
4.2. Members may apply for additional Units of Membership up to the maximum allowable at the time of application, but at the current rate scale and according to their age at the time of applying for such additional Units of Membership (as set out in the Subscription Table from time to time). A fresh medical declaration is required (in accordance with Rule 3.2) when additional Units of Membership are subscribed for.
4.3. Any introductory offer made pursuant to Rule 3.4 which includes a lifetime discount on the subscription rates for Units of Membership shall only apply to the original Units of Membership purchased and subscribed to upon admission to membership of the Society.
Single or Full Rate Subscriptions
4.4. Members may pay subscriptions for Units of Membership at the single or full rates as are set out in the Subscription Table from time to time.
4.5. Members must provide details to the Secretary of their relationship status, number of dependent children and any other person who may be dependent on them and any changes to such details at any time. Failure to do so will result in arrears in the payment of Subscriptions and, potentially, reduced cover which would otherwise be payable pursuant to Articles 56 and/or 57, in accordance with Rule 6.6.
4.6. Those Members previously subscribing for Units of Membership at the single rate who are in Long Term Relationships or Legally Recognised Relationships, and any new Members who are in Long Term Relationships or Legally Recognised Relationships may transfer to or join at (as the case may be) the full rate of subscription for Units of Membership to extend cover to Spouse or Partner and Dependent Children subject to the terms of these Rules.
4.7. A Member in a Legally Recognised Relationship must, at the request of the Secretary, provide such evidence of the Legally Recognised Relationship as the Secretary shall reasonably require (to include a copy of the relevant marriage or civil partnership certificate) when moving from the single rate to the full rate of subscription for Units of Membership. Increases to the full unit subscription rate for Units of Membership which are associated with Spouse and/or Dependent Children are to be paid in respect of all periods from the actual date of marriage or civil partnership (and backdated to such date) in order to ensure ‘actuarial equilibrium’.
4.8. A Member cohabiting in a Long Term Relationship must, at the request of the Secretary, provide such evidence as the Secretary shall reasonably require to demonstrate a genuine, enduring relationship involving co-habitation for a minimum period of 12 months. A written application available from the Secretary to extend cover to Partner and Dependent Children is to be submitted along with associated evidence. For the avoidance of doubt, relationships that have not involved co-habitation for a minimum period of 12 months shall not be deemed to be Long Term Relationships and shall not entitle a Member to transfer to the full rate of subscription for Units of Membership to extend cover to a partner and any associated dependent children.
4.8a. In order to qualify for full rate Membership benefits, Members must have commenced subscribing for their units at the full Membership subscription rate at least ten years before the end of their paying-in term. If a Member commences a Long Term Relationship or Legally Recognised Relationship within ten years of the end of their paying-in term, the term must be extended to a total of ten years. Previous periods of subscription at the full rate are reckonable in this respect. If eligible, additional units can be purchased at the most current [full] rate under Rules 4.2 and 4.3. For the avoidance of doubt, Members who have held single Membership throughout their paying-in term are not entitled to subsequently register a Long Term Relationship or Legally Recognised Relationship’.
4.9. In accordance with Rule 3.6, unless deployed on an operational tour or exercise (involving military or adventure training), full cover (including cover for Partners, Spouses and Dependent Children) will not become effective (and benefits will not be payable under Articles 56 or 57) until after six months of the date of the first subscription payment at the full rate for a Unit of Membership. The Council may exercise discretion depending on the individual case in the event of death within six months.
4.10. Subscription rates are not affected by the number of Dependent Children.
4.11. Members with Dependent Children may opt to remain on the single rate, having applied in writing (by letter or email) to the Secretary, in which case single rate death benefits to the deceased Member’s estate only will apply. If such a Member chooses to subsequently move to the full rate, arrears at the full rate of subscription will be due, backdated to the earlier of the date on which the relationship became a Legally Recognised Relationship or a Long Term Relationship, in order to maintain ‘actuarial balance’. Such retrospective applications must be accompanied by a medical declaration (i.e. an in-date JMES no lower than P3 MLD(T)).
Single Parent Members with Dependent Children
4.12. Whether through death, divorce, termination of civil partnership or Long Term Relationship or any other circumstance a new or existing Member who is or becomes a single parent with Dependent Children has the following options:
(a) such Member may subscribe at or continue paying subscriptions for Units of Membership at the full rate. In the event of death a single full lump sum would be split equally between any Dependent Children and Other Dependents. Full annuities would be paid to each of the Dependent Children.
(b) Subscribe at or revert to the single rate of subscription. Upon death, a half lump sum only would be split between any Dependent Children.
4.13. In each case referred to at Rule 4.12, if the Member subsequently enters into a Legally Recognised Relationship or a Long Term Relationship, the Member will qualify for full rate benefits subject to the conditions set out in Rules 4.4 to 4.11 (inclusive).
Widowed, Divorced or Separated Members with no Dependent Children
4.14. Widowed, divorced or separated Members with no Dependent Children may, upon application, revert to the single rate for Units of Membership and, upon death, the Member’s estate would receive the reduced (single rate) lump sum. Notwithstanding that such a Member may elect to remain subscribing at the full rate his estate shall nevertheless only be entitled to reduced single rate lump sum payment in the event of his death.
4.15. If a Member referred to in Rule 4.14 subsequently enters into a Legally Recognised Relationship or a Long Term Relationship, the Member will qualify for full rate benefits subject to the conditions set out in Rules 4.4 to 4.11 (inclusive)
4.16. Subject to the Articles and these Rules, only Beneficiaries shall be entitled to any payment from the Society. For the avoidance of doubt, former spouses or partners of a Member who are no longer the spouse or partner of a Member on the date of his death and any person who is not a Beneficiary shall have no claim whatsoever on the funds of the Society or to any benefits from the Society in the event of that Member’s death.
5. Leaving & Re-joining
5.1. In the event that a Member resigns his membership having given notice to the Secretary in accordance with Article 14 (by email or in writing), his membership and benefits cover will end at the point at which the next periodic subscription payment would have been due, provided that the Member has held the minimum required number of Units of Membership for a minimum of 12 months. If a Member has not held the minimum number of Units for 12 months, he shall be required to continue to pay subscription in respect of the minimum number of units for the entire 12 month period, at the end of which period his membership shall terminate.
5.2. A former Member who has resigned or whose membership is terminated under Rule 6.2 may be re-admitted to membership within two years of his resignation at the original rate (as adjusted in accordance with the then relevant Subscription Table) but must pay a sum in additional subscription equal to the amount he would have been required to pay in the period between his resignation or termination and the time of re-admission to membership had he been a Member during such period, together with compound interest on such an amount at the rate from time to time determined by the Council (calculated with half-yearly rests from the date when they respectively accrued) and together with such additional sum as the Council may in its absolute discretion determine. A fresh medial declaration must be made in accordance with Rule 3.2.
5.3. Any application from a former Member (who remains an Officer) to be admitted to membership more than two years following his resignation shall be treated as a new application at the then current, applicable subscription rates subject to the Articles and these Rules (including a medical declaration in accordance with Rule 3.2).
6. Dealing with Arrears & Benefits and Termination of Membership
Arrears generated by the Member failing to pay subscriptions or paying subscriptions at incorrect rates
6.1. A Member who has allowed subscriptions to fall into arrears by failing to pay subscriptions or paying subscriptions at incorrect rates shall, within 4 months of being given notice of such arrears by the Society (in accordance with Articles 89-93 (inclusive) either:
(a) pay a lump sum to clear the arrears and restore their subscription rate to the correct level; or
(b) in agreement with the Society make a series of overpayments to clear any deficit, (noting that in such instances any outstanding arrears at the time of a claim being made in the event of the Member’s death will be recovered from any lump sum benefit payment made by the Society; or
(c) reduce the number of Units of Membership (noting that in exceptional circumstances the Council may (but shall not be obliged to) agree to backdate the reduction to the last unit rate change (e.g. age milestone, date of marriage or interruption in payments); or
(d) resign his membership (noting that in this case arrears accrued to the point of resignation remain due and payable, at the discretion of the Council, and that the former Member shall not have any claim against the funds of the Society for the return of any subscriptions paid or benefits or otherwise).
In each of the scenarios a. to d. above, compound interest on such arrears may apply at the rate from time to time determined by the Council, calculated with half-yearly rests from the date when they respectively accrued.
The Society’s rights in relation to Members who fail to address arrears.
6.2. In accordance with Article 17 the Council shall have the right to terminate the membership of any Member in the circumstances where he has allowed his subscriptions to fall into arrears for a period of 12 months or more by failing to pay subscriptions or paying subscriptions at incorrect rates and where notice has been given to the Member by the Society under Rule 6.1 but the Member has failed to take any steps as set out in Rule 6.1 within the prescribed 4 month period. A notice of the termination of his membership may be placed on the Website and/or in the Corps Supplement (of the Journal) by the Society where attempts to communicate with the member as set out in Rule 6.5 have failed.
6.3. If, following termination or resignation from the membership, a former Member continues to make payments, these will be dealt with in accordance with Article 15.
6.4. In no circumstances will benefits be paid by the Society to any person in respect of a former Member whose membership has been terminated or resigned prior to his death, regardless of any previous subscription payments made (in accordance with Article 15).
6.5. The Society will use its reasonable endeavours to communicate with Members using telephone, email and postal contacts held on their respective records in relation to matters of subscriptions and arrears. It is therefore essential that Members maintain up to date contact details with the Society.
Arrears Detected Following a Claim.
6.6. Where a Member with a Spouse, Partner and/or Dependent Children had not informed the Society in writing of the existence of such individuals or the relationship, single member benefits only are to apply on his death regardless of the rate of subscription paid by him.
6.7. Where a Member has allowed his subscriptions to fall into arrears (but has not resigned his membership or had his membership terminated by the Society), then on the death of that Member the Council may reduce any lump sum (and/or annuity payments in the case of a Member registered with the Society as having a Spouse, a Partner and/or Dependent Children and paying the full rate of subscriptions) to be paid in respect of that Member by a percentage calculated as follows:
(A / T) x 100
A = total subscription payments in arrears; and
T = total subscription payments due over the period of membership
6.8. In all instances of arrears being incurred and/or in the event of any dispute, the decision of the Council shall be final and binding (save in the case of manifest error) and the Council. reserves the right to take into account the circumstances of individual cases which have led to the generation of arrears.
7.1. In the event of a Member’s death, and subject to the provisions of these Rules and the Articles, the Society shall make the payments set out in this Rule 7.1 to Beneficiaries and in accordance with the Benefits Table from time to time.
(a) Lump sum payments (either full in respect of Members with Spouse, Partner and/or Dependent Children notified to the Society, or half for Members without Spouse, Partner and/or Dependent Children notified to the Society notwithstanding the rate of paid for subscriptions during the Member’s membership) will be made as soon as reasonably practicable following notification to the Society of the death of a Member. The Secretary must be satisfied that the deceased Member was an eligible member who has died and may request documentary evidence, normally a copy of the death certificate.
(b) Annuities will be paid in arrears and will be set up as soon as reasonably practicable following receipt by the Secretary of a copy of the Member’s death certificate and the Spouse’s or Partner’s or guardian’s (in the case of Dependent Children without a Spouse or Partner) initial declaration form. Annuity payments are to be made quarterly with tax at the applicable basic rate deducted at source and paid to HM Revenue and Customs (“HMRC”). Beneficiaries not liable to pay tax are able to recover deductions via self-assessment or an HMRC R40 claim.
7.2. Beneficiaries are to confirm their continued entitlement to their annuity payments on an annual basis either in writing by post or online, as required by the Secretary. If not received and having taken reasonable and practicable steps to re-establish contact, annuity payments will be suspended until entitlement is re-established up to a maximum period of six years at which point no retrospective payments will be made. Suspended annuity payments will be retained within the Annuity Fund for the benefit of the wider Society.
7.3. Where Power of Attorney has been granted over a Beneficiary’s affairs, a certified copy of the Lasting Power of Attorney form or equivalent is to be provided to the Society.
7.4. Beneficiaries living overseas may opt for annual payments to reduce foreign exchange fees. Any associated fees will be deducted from the value of respective annuity payments. Beneficiaries who are non-domiciled for the purposes of payment of UK tax must secure the necessary HMRC authority for income tax at the basic rate not to be deducted from source by the Society.
7.5. The Spouse or Partner of a deceased Member who does not wish to receive their lump sum may choose to have it paid into a charity of their choice. If no preference is notified to the Secretary, the lump sum will be paid into the REOWS Samaritan Fund.
7.6. If the Spouse or Partner of a deceased Member no longer wishes to receive their annuity payments the funds will remain in the Society’s annuity fund with the provisos that the Spouse or Partner of the deceased Member can request annuity payments to be made again at a future date, but that no retrospective annuity payments will be made.
7.6a. Lump sum benefits must be claimed within a period of six years. During this period reasonable steps will be taken by the Society to get in touch with the deceased Member’s next of kin or relevant legal representative as follows. The Society is to write to the last known address either by post or by electronic mail informing the Member’s representatives that the lump sum will no longer be treated as a benefit and will be paid to the REOWS Samaritan Fund if the Society receives no instruction within 28 days. If no instruction is received with 28 days a further attempt to establish contact using a different means is to be carried out. After a further 28 days the Society will again write to the last known address informing the representatives that since no instruction was received the sum will be paid to the REOWS Samaritan Fund six years following the date of death. Should a claim be made on the sum within six years of the death of the Member, the relevant sum is to be paid to the Member’s entitled dependant or estate. In this instance any associated annuity benefits will also be paid out from the Annuity Fund.
7.7. In addition to annuity payments, the Society will pay annual subscriptions for any Spouse or Partner of a deceased Member to the Lady Grover’s Fund (LGF) where that Member was a paid up member of the LGF, regardless of the age of the Spouse or Partner in question. If, however, the deceased Member was not an LGF member and the Spouse or Partner of the deceased Member is under the age of 55 at the time of death, the Spouse or Partner of the deceased Member may opt to join the LGF under LGF Rule 4 (2) (b) and the REOWS will fund his/her annual subscription.
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