Widow’s pension (Ofer Abarbanel online library)

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 satisfied the country’s requirements, including contribution, cohabitation, and length of marriage.[1]

United States

In the United States, the widow’s pension was introduced in the Senate in 1930.[2] 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. Hopkins generally kept her first marriage a secret, fearing that the resulting gossip (of marrying a much older man) would damage her reputation.[3]

In 2003, Congress approved a payment of $11,750 of widow’s pension owed to Harriet Tubman.[1][4]

United Kingdom

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

In New Zealand, a widow’s pension was introduced in 1911 to help families with no other way of supporting themselves.[7]


  1. ^ Jump up to:ab 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. ^“National Affairs: Widow’s Pension”. Time. May 19, 1930.
  3. ^Barron, James. “The ‘Last Civil War Widow’ Has a Successor, It Would Seem”, The New York Times, June 16, 2004; retrieved January 29, 2017.
  4. ^Johnson Publishing Company (17 November 2003). Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. pp. 6–. ISSN 0021-5996.
  5. ^ Jump up to:ab http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/851454.html
  6. ^http://www.dsdni.gov.uk/index/ssa/wi
  7. ^“History of Monetary Benefits”.

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Ofer Abarbanel online library