Reforms to Britain’s welfare system, intended to limit polygamous marriages, may backfire as immigrants with more than one wife might qualify for more benefits.
Britain recognizes polygamous marriages, which are common in Muslim families, only if the marriage took place in a country where it is legal. A loophole was pointed out by a House of Commons library paper last month in which additional wives coming to the U.K. could claim a full single person’s benefits while the husband and first wife continue to collect their own, according to Breitbart.
Currently, the system allows subsequent wives to receive reduced allowances while the husband and first wife are entitled to full income support. But under the new universal credit system, polygamous marriages will not be recognized at all, in an effort to end a program that has allowed multiple wives to claim extra welfare payments. As a result, additional wives in polygamous marriages would be seen as single, and could claim separate and full allowances.
The paper stated:
“The Government decided that the universal credit rules will not recognise additional partners in polygamous relationships.
“This could potentially result in some polygamous households receiving more under universal credit than under the current benefit and tax credit system.
“Treating second and subsequent partners in polygamous relationships as separate claimants could in some situations mean polygamous households receive more under universal credit than they do under the current rules for means-tested benefits and tax credits.”
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