Ian's Story: Challenging National Insurance discrimination

April 2023

When he was widowed to Covid-19 in 2020, WAY volunteer Ian from Coventry was shocked to hear that his family wasn’t entitled to Bereavement Support Payments either, because – like Suzzi – his wife hadn’t paid enough National Insurance contributions during her lifetime due to ill health.


Ian and family

Here’s his story…

“When my wife Sharon died, I applied for bereavement benefits in the usual way, but I was told that I wasn’t entitled to anything because she hadn’t paid enough National Insurance contributions. 

Sharon was 43 when she died and had suffered from health problems most of her life. She had contracted meningitis as a baby, which caused scarring to one kidney. This resulted in repeated kidney infections and, despite working briefly between 16 and 18, the daily pain was too regular to be able to hold down a job so she claimed disability living allowance. She also claimed National Insurance credits.

We had three children, two of whom were born via emergency Caesarean. The ongoing toll on Sharon’s health meant she never worked again and was bedridden for most of her life. She had a pulmonary embolism in 2018 and then the final straw was Covid-19 in April 2020, which she was unfortunately unable to defeat. 

To make things harder, I was forced to work part time for the last five years of her life so I could care for our autistic son – so we were very reliant on the benefits system as a whole. It was a real kick in the teeth to be told that the most needy are not eligible. 

Sharon wanted nothing more than to live a normal life and have a job paying tax and National Insurance like everyone else but, through no fault of her own, was never given the chance. Surely the fact that National Insurance stamps are collected towards state pension when claiming disability allowance should also count towards bereavement benefits for the spouse and children left behind?” 

Read more about the legal case.

We will bring you more updates on this case as soon as we hear any further news.

Read Ian’s story in inews.


Daniel and Suzzi

Daniel’s story

Daniel’s late wife Suzzi had severe disabilities and was unable to work throughout her life. This meant she was never in a position to pay National Insurance contributions, although she had a lengthy history of National Insurance credits. 

Read Daniel's Story...