She legitimately claimed widows' benefits
and allowances and had to sell the family home to survive.
Social Security Secretary Mr Alistair Darling, publishing a consultation paper on proposals to reform widows' benefits
, said changes would apply only to people of working age who lose a spouse and not to existing widows, widows over state pension age and war widows.
THE Tories last night accused the Government of resorting to "desperate" measures after reports that ministers are considering scrapping widows' benefits
It said they should be allowed to water down their pension schemes by scrapping widows' benefits
and removing any protection against inflation.
The Bill also contains plans to reform widows' benefits
by enabling men to qualify for the first time but cutting payments for men and women over 45 without dependent children.
He will be looking at ways of cutting costs and stopping fraud in child benefit, pensions and widows' benefits
Removing widows' benefits
would condemn millions of women to poverty in old age.
Today, long-term widows' benefits
may go to many who don't need them - because they don't have the extra costs of bringing up children or because they have good incomes from jobs, pensions or insurance.
The Tories claim the move was to deflect attention from the row over alleged plans to cut widows' benefits