Terminally Ill Former RAF Officer's Children Given Rights To Inherit Military Pension

Samantha McConnell was previously told that her children wouldn't be able to inherit her military pension.

Samantha McConnell pictured with her children (Picture: SWNS).

A former RAF officer diagnosed with terminal cancer has been told that her children will be able to inherit her military pension - after initially being told the rules meant they would not be entitled to the money.

In September, Samantha McConnell was told that she had pancreatic and liver cancer and was given just weeks to live.

Soon after receiving the news, the RAF veteran discovered that her pension would not transfer to her children after her death – because she joined the Air Force in the 1990s under an old pension scheme.

Speaking with Forces Radio BFBS' Hal Stewart Samantha revealed that under the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975, her children would not legally be entitled to her pension.

"Why should my children be penalised because of what I chose to do whilst I was in the Air Force?"

After the death of a service member, the pensions will only transfer to their children if the service member was married.

"If I had been married then the pension would have gone to my spouse and then the children obviously could have had some of the pension from then.

"I've had lots of wonderful friends who are all offering me marriage to make sure the children could get the pension."

The children would also have had to have been born when they were serving or up to nine months after leaving the forces. Her eldest was born three years after she left the forces.

The former RAF officer travelled the world on many operations during her service (Picture: SWNS).

Since then, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has personally intervened. In a statement he said:

“I was deeply saddened to hear of these tragic circumstances. Since learning about this case, I have instructed the Department to reverse this decision.

"I hope that this gives Sammi, her son and daughter the peace of mind that they deserve, knowing they have financial security for the future. They remain in our thoughts.”

The Forces Pension Society said they welcomed this as "excellent news" after the Defence Secretary had agreed to the special circumstances in this case.

The former RAF Intelligence Officer has a son and a daughter conceived through IVF using a sperm donor.

She became a mum at the age of 40 with her daughter Grace, after a £10,000 course of fertility treatments.

Three years later, she gave birth to Grace’s non-identical twin brother Rory from the same frozen embryo.

Ms McConnell has now been given a life expectancy of just six to eight weeks (Picture: SWNS).

She said: “I don’t intend to give up without a fight and doing lots of positive mantras.

“I’m going to dye my pink and spend my remaining days all boho in a kaftan, shouting ‘Yeeha’, watching funny movies, laughing, cuddling, singing, going through photos and days out if I’m up to it.”

In a heartfelt message she added:

“Anything you’ve fancied doing but have put off doing – do it now! The crazier the better. Make sure you’ve written your will, tell people how you feel, love them.”

She continued by saying: “Live for me, do anything.”

And how is Samantha making sure her children always feel her presence even after her death? Some people think seeing a white feather after someone's death is a sign that they're OK. Samantha has a unique take on this and tells her children the following.

"When I'm gone when you have an itchy nose that's just to let you know that I'm thinking of you and that all is OK and you're doing alright."