This chapter examines the significance of marital status, and explores the relationship between family, gender and social policy in Britain through the first half of the 20th century. It takes as its starting point the ways in which family life and the meanings of familial relationships were understood in 20th century legislation and policy making through the breadwinner husband, dependent wife and children. The chapter discusses the strength of the male breadwinner model in the gendered constitution and allocation of family responsibilities in British law, policy and practice. It considers the ways in which welfare policy and practice shape understanding and experience of familial responsibilities outside marriage through four key moments in the 20th century. The chapter focuses on the Spinsters' Pension Campaign, within the context of the Depression in 1930s' Britain, which witnessed widespread anxieties about the effects of poverty on the nuclear family and a perceived challenge to the status of the male breadwinner because of growing unemployment.