In this letter, a new power allocation scheme is proposed to improve the reliability of cooperative non-orthogonal multiple access (CO-NOMA). The strong user is allocated the maximum power, whereas the weak user is allocated the minimum power. This power allocation alters the decoding sequence along with the signal-to-interference plus noise ratio (SINR), at the users. The weak user benefits from receiving multiple copies of the signal whereas the strong user benefits from the higher power allocation. Numerical simulation results show that the proposed scheme has a lower mutual outage probability (MOP) and offers better reliability as compared to the conventional power allocation scheme for CONOMA. An exact closed-form expression of MOP is derived for the two-user CO-NOMA system and it is shown that each user achieves full diversity. The proposed allocation is able to achieve approximately 30% higher transmission rate at 15 dB as compared to conventional CO-NOMA in a practical non-power balanced scenario.