Equal rights for unmarried parents when one dies

By Claire Harris

Equal rights for unmarried parents when one dies

By Claire Harris
Claire Harris
My name is Claire. I had 3 children with my partner Gary, we had been together 16 years when he died. I was not entitled to Widowed parents allowance as we were not married.
Funded
on 01st December 2016
£2,325
pledged by 58 people
Claire Harris
My name is Claire. I had 3 children with my partner Gary, we had been together 16 years when he died. I was not entitled to Widowed parents allowance as we were not married.

Funded

Dec. 1, 2016

We hit our first target!

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I am fighting for unmarried parents to receive equal rights as married parents. My aim is to be the first person in England to win my case, paving the way for a change in law in line with the changes in society over the last 20+ years.

My name is Claire, I met my partner Gary when I was only 18, we fell instantly in love, moved in together after only a few months, and had 3 children together over the next 4 years. We were very happy just as we were, just the 5 of us.

When Gary died age 36 of cancer, I assumed I would be entitled to widows parents allowance to help support our children (this is based on the persons NI contributions) when I found out I was not entitled on the basis we were not married I was devastated. I wrote to my MP who said there was nothing they could do. I fought the decision at a tribunal, no luck. I have even been on the BBC news to campaign, and on the radio. The government will not listen.

Widowed parents allowance is not a benefit, it is based on the deceased's National Insurance contributions, as Gary worked for 20 years he had contributed into the system continuously throughout his working life. This is what we are fighting for, the right to be entitled to what Gary has worked for.

My children are now losing out on money which they are entitled to through their fathers continued National Insurance contributions. This has impacted on them massively. As I was a stay at home mum I did not earn any money. The loss of the only income and the entitlement of WPA (widowed parents allowance) which my children were denied has meant we have struggled financially, the children have missed out on not only luxuries like days out, fun events, birthday parties but essential things like food, heating and new clothes.

My children should not be punished because their parents chose not to marry. My children have not only suffered the loss of their father they have suffered in this life of poverty through no fault of their own.

I am not asking for handouts. I am happy to work full time and pay my way. I am not asking for support with children I chose to have. I am asking my children be entitled to what their father spent 20 years paying into.

This doesn't just affect me, but every single person out there who is not married to their partner and have children. I am fighting for others like me who if their partner died they would not be entitled to any help. This affects thousands of people across the country.

A recent case in Northern Ireland has paved the way I hope. Siobhan McLaughlin has successfully won her case.

Hitting my target will allow me to take this case to court and fight for justice not just for myself but for all those parents who have chosen to love each other without taking their vows. My initial target will be to get the back ground work done to support my case. The final target is to take it to court

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Funded

Dec. 1, 2016

We hit our first target!

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