The family unit has changed. The way people live their lives has changed.
We want all families to be treated fairly whether they are married or not. The 2016 census showed that there are over 75,000 cohabiting couples in Ireland with child dependents – a figure that is likely to be even greater at the next census.
If a couple is cohabiting the Department of Social Protection will assess both of their means when carrying out a means test for a social assistance payment like job seekers allowance or carer’s allowance. Yet, the State doesn’t provide any guarantee to contributory social protection payments like the widowers’ pension when one of them dies.
We want the Department of Social Protection to recognise cohabiting couples and provide the widow / widower’s pension to cohabiting couples.
There is a huge gap in our social protection system and it’s time to act to change it.
Please write to the Minister for Social Protection and ask her to support Labour’s Cohabiting Couples bill in the Seanad this Wednesday.