Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has said she is pleased legislation enabling cohabiting couples to be treated the same way as married couples on some benefits has passed the Assembly.
The Strangford MLA was speaking as the motion involving the bereavement support payment made it through the Assembly. She said it would see cohabiting couples recognised as equal in the law.
“Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in the McLaughlin case, benefits legislation needed to be updated to ensure couples who were not married but cohabiting could be recognised as equal in the law.
“I was pleased to vote for this legislation, to ensure bereavement payments could be extended to the remaining half of the couple and for their children.
“I appreciate there needs to be more done to review benefits to ensure they provide improved support for the person whose partner has died, especially if they have dependent children.
“However, today we took the step to support this legislation to ensure support can be extended to the many cohabiting couples and their families across Northern Ireland.”