Guernsey

Widows pensions a 'non-starter', says minister

The idea of re-introducing widows pensions in Guernsey has been described as a "non-starter", by the department that would oversee them.

Deputy Barry Paint has put forward a motion to reverse changes made in 2004, which is due to be debated in June.

The pensions, which lasted until the age of 65, were replaced by a year long bereavement allowance.

Social Security Minister Mark Dorey said: "The new rules on widows and widowers' pensions are right."

He said: "The changes were made over seven years ago and it's far too late and costly to be trying to undo them."

The system prior to 2004 was only available to women, but the 12-month bereavement allowance can be claimed by both men and women who are over the age of 45 when widowed.

'Personal choice'

The Social Security Department said other benefits were available for any islanders who needed help.

It said approximately half of the women who had been widowed since 2004 had been in paid employment when widowed, while others who were very capable of working chose not to.

Deputy Dorey said: "As a principle, we think it's wrong to pay benefits to people of working age who are not working as a matter of personal choice.

"Benefits should be paid to those who cannot reasonably be expected to support themselves, because of sickness or unemployment or low earning potential.

"Based on that principle, widows who are unable to work or have limited earning power and are at risk of financial hardship are encouraged to claim supplementary benefit."

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