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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My ladyfriend and I would like to get married (we are both 70 years old). However, as a widow she gets a pension from her deceased husband's former employer, which indicates her pension will stop if she remarries.

A friend of mine says that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled some years ago that this type of restriction is no longer valid. Is this correct? -- E.A.H. IN POMPANO BEACH, FLA.

DEAR E.A.H.: I am not permitted to practice law in Florida -- or any other state. However, I checked with my legal experts who informed me that most pension plans are covered by ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act). The pension administrator for the deceased husband's company can verify for your ladyfriend whether or not her pension is covered by ERISA. If it is, then that provision is not valid.

If the pension is not covered, she should check with a Florida lawyer who is an expert in pension law.

DEAR ABBY: In my opinion, we need a national slogan that reminds us to care about everybody and everything. Of course, the Golden Rule represents this. It should be taught to children in the schools. At the beginning of the first class, its meaning could be explained. At the end of the day, teachers could remind the students, "Don't forget the Golden Rule."

What do you think, Abby? -- NANDOR LAZAR, NORFOLK, VA.

DEAR NANDOR LAZAR: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is an excellent philosophy to live by. The message is simple and powerful. However, children learn by imitation. I feel that principles such as this are most effective when they are taught at home by parents who not only preach the rules but practice them as well.

DEAR ABBY: My problem involves my best girlfriend's brother and mother. Her brother -- I'll call him Ben -- and I have become very close. I love him a lot. The problem is his mom. She hasn't forbidden us to see each other (she probably knows we'd see each other anyway), but she won't let me come over if she's not there.

She never gives us any privacy or any time alone. She's overprotective and babies him a lot. If I say anything, she tells me it's none of my business. I should tell you that I'm 21 and Ben is 16. Is there any way to reassure her that we know what we're doing?

Please print this because I would like to show her your answer. -- KNOWS WHAT I'M DOING

DEAR KNOWS: You are an adult, but the boy is underage, so I implore you to back off. If you refuse to do so, his parents could take legal action against you.

The best way to reassure Ben's mother is to respect the rules of her household.

DEAR ABBY: Circumstances beyond our control prevent us, a single man and single woman, from marrying.

When one of us dies, in the obituary, along with the listing of family survivors, may the term "significant other" be used in listing the surviving partner? Or do you think just "dear friend" would be better? -- LONGTIME READER IN FLORIDA

DEAR LONGTIME READER: "Dear friend" would be my choice.

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