Department for Work and Pensions
Bereaved parents reminded to check eligibility for financial support
Bereaved parents who lost their partner between 9 April 2001 and 8 February 2023 may be eligible for backdated government payments.
In February the Government extended eligibility for Bereavement Support Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance to cohabiting parents with dependent children - benefits designed to help with the financial impact of losing a partner.
Previously these benefits were only available to eligible bereaved parents who were married or in a civil partnership, but the law was changed to make it fairer to children.
When the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) extended eligibility in February, it opened a 12-month window for cohabiting parents to backdate their claims. This means parents whose partner died before 9 February 2023 have until 8 February 2024 to claim. After this, it will not be possible to claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance and parents will not get their full entitlement to a backdated payment of Bereavement Support Payment.
DWP Minister Viscount Younger of Leckie recently said:
This is an important law change which extends support to many more bereaved families with children, regardless of whether parents were married or in a civil partnership.
I would urge any parents eligible for backdated money to put in their claim now so they can benefit from this financial support as soon as possible.
The benefit a parent is eligible for will depend on the date their partner died. If their partner died before 6 April 2017, they would need to claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance. If their partner died on or after 6 April 2017, they would need to claim Bereavement Support Payment, which has replaced Widowed Parent’s Allowance.
The earliest point payments can be backdated to is 30 August 2018, even if your partner died before this date.
To qualify for these bereavement benefits, parents must be under the State Pension age, have paid a certain amount of National Insurance contributions and be either pregnant or having a dependent child on the day their partner died.
Alison Penny MBE, Director of the Childhood Bereavement Network recently said:
It has been very moving to hear stories from parents who have received a backdated payment after years of being unable to access this lifeline benefit for them and their children. We think there are many others out there who could be in line for a payment. We encourage anyone who thinks they might be eligible to look into this, and seek specialist welfare benefits advice if they are in any doubt about the effects that a back payment could have on their wider tax and social security entitlements.
More details on eligibility for Bereavement Support Payment can be found at [www.gov.uk/bereavement-support-payment] Parents can claim Bereavement Support Payment online via gov.uk, over the phone or through a paper application form.
More details on eligibility for Widowed Parents Allowance can be found at www.gov.uk/widowed-parents-allowance. Parents can claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance by paper. Paper forms can be downloaded from gov.uk or requested over the phone.
Further bereavement help and support can also be found at www.gov.uk/after-a-death/bereavement-help-and-support
- This law change came into effect on 9 February 2023, following Parliament’s approval of the Bereavement Benefits (Remedial) Order 2023
- Parents eligible for Bereavement Support Payment claiming after the backdating cut-off of 8 February 2024 can still receive some payments, but this will be a reduced amount. If parents claim after 8 November 2024 they will not receive any payments.
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance claims will not be accepted after 8 February 2024
- Parents in Northern Ireland should apply to the Department for Communities (DfC):
- Bereavement Support Payment: www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/bereavement-support-payment
- Widowed Parent’s Payment: www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/widowed-parents-allowance
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