Cohabiting Couples Campaign: Stories

Hear from WAY members and campaign supporters about what the Cohabiting Couples Campaign means to them...

Laura's story

York-based WAY member Laura has been campaigning to extend bereavement support to unmarried parents since her partner Nigel died of a heart attack in February 2020, leaving her to bring up their 2-year-old son Noah on her own. Laura set up a campaign group called Equality in Grief and a petition that gathered more than 100,000 signatures.

Pete's story

WAY member Pete Bailey has been campaigning to extend bereavement support to cohabiting couples since his partner died in 2010, when the couple’s youngest son was just six weeks old. Their boys are now almost 13 and 16.

Georgia's story

Georgia Elms was widowed in 2006 when her husband Jon died suddenly from meningitis aged just 38 – the next day she discovered she was pregnant with the couple’s second child.

Siobhan's story

When Siobhan discovered through conversations with Citizen’s Advice that parents who were not married or in a civil partnership were unable to claim the support available at that time to married parents – Widowed Parent’s Allowance – Siobhan was stunned. She had to take on three jobs to support her family.

Kathy's story

WAY Ambassador Kathy Ford lost her partner Keith in November 2018 to a sudden heart attack. They had been together for 19 years and had two sons together. In June 2019, Kathy gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee explaining how the lack of support for non-married couples had impacted her family. She has been campaigning on this issue ever since Keith died and received the Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) back payments she was entitled to on 14 February.

Elanor's story

Elanor’s partner Robin died in 2005 after a motorbike accident. She was pregnant with their only daughter Sophie when Robin died and has struggled for the past 17 years to bring up Sophie as a lone parent, without any financial support.

Laura Banks' story

We asked Laura Banks from Siobhan McLaughlin’s legal team to share her perspective on taking Siobhan’s case all the way to the highest court in the land – and winning!

Michelle's story

Although Bereavement Support Payment has been extended to cohabiting couples with children, unmarried couples without children are still being denied support. WAY member Michelle shares their story…