Citizens Advice Salford

Important changes to Bereavement Payments:

The government has been forced to change the regulations around the support for bereavement payments to include the parents of cohabiting partners with dependent children – these changes are tabled in The Bereavement Benefits (Remedial) Order 2021, which have come into effect as of July 15th, last week.

The order has retrospective effect to the date of the court case decision (McLaughlin 30 August 2018) for both Widowed Parent’s Allowance (WPA) and (Jackson 7 February 2020) for Bereavement Support Payment (BSP). These court cases mean that these benefits are being extended to ‘surviving cohabiting partners with dependent children, who were not in a legal union with the deceased’

This means that some claimants will be entitled to retrospective payments. These will be made as a single one-off payment. You will still need to meet the other conditions of entitlement to be eligible and will be protected by transitional provisions where other benefits have paid during the time period in which they should have received WPA or BSP. This means that benefit already paid to the claimant can continue and is not recovered as a result of any new entitlement arising from the retrospective provisions in the Order.

This is complicated and you should take advice.

The Government has said: 

“Previously, a surviving parent could only claim the financial support if they had been married or in a civil partnership at the time of their spouse or civil partner’s death.

“Under these plans, Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payments will be extended to surviving cohabiting partners with children who were living with their partner at the time of death.

“It’s estimated that more than 22,000 families will now be able to claim this vital help, totalling an additional £320 million in support for bereaved children over the next five years.

“Under these draft plans, a surviving partner with dependent children will only need to have lived with the deceased on the date of death.

“Once approved by Parliament, the changes will apply retrospectively from 30 August 2018, with any backdated payments being made as lump sums.”

A summary of Bereavement Support Payment

Eligibility

Bereavement Support Payment has replaced Bereavement Allowance (previously Widow’s Pension), Bereavement Payment, and Widowed Parent’s Allowance.

You could be eligible if your partner either:

  • paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks in one tax year since 6 April 1975;
  • died because of an accident at work or a disease caused by work.

When they died you must have been:

  • under State Pension age;
  • living in the UK or a country that pays bereavement benefits.

You cannot claim BSP if you’re in prison.

If your partner died more than 21 months ago you may still be able to claim BSP call the Bereavement Service helpline.

If your husband, wife or civil partner died before 6 April 2017, you may be able to get Widowed Parent’s Allowance instead.

What you'll get:

You’ll get a first payment and then up to 18 monthly payments. There are 2 rates.

First payment Monthly payment

Higher rate £3,500 £350

Lower rate £2,500 £100

If you get Child Benefit (or if you do not get it but are entitled to it), you’ll get the higher rate.

If you do not get Child Benefit, you’ll get the lower rate unless you were pregnant when your husband, wife or civil partner died.

You must claim within 3 months of your partner’s death to get the full amount. If you claim later, you’ll get fewer monthly payments.

Your payments will be paid into your bank or building society account.

If you get benefits Bereavement Support Payment will not affect your benefits for a year after your first payment. After a year, money you have left from your first payment could affect the amount you get if you renew or make a claim for another benefit.

You must tell your benefits office (for example, your local Jobcentre Plus) when you start getting Bereavement Support Payment.

Apply by phone

Bereavement Service helpline

Telephone: 0800 731 0469

Textphone: 0800 731 0464

Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0469

Video relay service for British Sign Language (BSL) users - check you can use this service

Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 3.30pm

Apply using a paper form:

To get a form, you can either:

download a Bereavement Support Payment form (BSP1)

contact your nearest Jobcentre Plus to get one through the post

Fill in the claim form and send it to:

Bereavement Support Payment

Mail Handling Site A

Wolverhampton

WV98 2BS

For help from Salford Citizens Advice visit your local bureau – details of which are on our website www.salfordcab.org.uk, or call us on 0808 27 87 802.

Tom Togher

July 2021.