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Widow's pension

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A widow's pension is a payment from the government of a country to a person whose spouse has died.

Generally, such payments are made to a widow whose late spouse has fulfilled the country's requirements, including contribution, cohabitation, and length of marriage.[1]

United States[edit]

During the Progressive Era, there was a proliferation of laws introducing widows' pensions (generally called "mothers' pensions) at the state level.[2]

At the federal level, the widow's pension was introduced in the Senate in 1930.[3] It was not especially uncommon for young women in Arkansas to marry Confederate pensioners; in 1937 the state passed a law stating that women who married Civil War veterans would not be eligible for a widow's pension. The law was later changed in 1939 to state that widows born after 1870 were not eligible for pensions.

In 1899, Congress approved a payment of $11,750 of widow's pension owed to Harriet Tubman.[1][4]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the Widow’s Pension was discontinued in 2001.[5] A widow's pension can be paid to childless widows aged 45 or over, or to those whose husband died before September 4, 2001.[6]

When it was offered, for a woman to qualify, her husband had to have paid 25 flat-rate contributions before April 6, 1975.[1]


In Israel in 2007, a court ruled that the female partner of a deceased lesbian was entitled to a widow's pension.[5]

New Zealand[edit]

In New Zealand, a widow's pension was introduced in 1911 to help families with no other way of supporting themselves.[citation needed]


In 1953, the Government of India launched the Widow Assistance Scheme. Under this scheme, a pension of ₹20 per month was provided to widows above 40 years of age.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Chris Smith; David C. Hoath (1 January 1975). Law and the Underprivileged. Routledge & K. Paul. pp. 21–. ISBN 978-0-7100-8259-6.
  2. ^ Leff, Mark H. (1973). "Consensus for Reform: The Mothers'-Pension Movement in the Progressive Era". Social Service Review. 47 (3): 397–417. doi:10.1086/643020. JSTOR 30021515. S2CID 154238579 – via JSTOR.
  3. ^ "National Affairs: Widow's Pension". Time. May 19, 1930. Archived from the original on May 14, 2008.
  4. ^ Johnson Publishing Company (17 November 2003). Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. pp. 6–. ISSN 0021-5996.
  5. ^ a b Sinai, Ruth. "Homosexual partner deserves full widow's pension, court rules". haaretz.com. Archived from the original on 2007-04-28.
  6. ^ http://www.dsdni.gov.uk/index/ssa/wi[dead link]
  7. ^ "Vidhwa Pension List". 3 January 2024.