UK

Bereaved parents urged to make sure they are not missing out on payments

Bereaved parents are being urged to check whether they could be eligible for backdated payments (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Bereaved parents are being urged to check whether they could be eligible for backdated payments (Dominic Lipinski/PA) Bereaved parents are being urged to check whether they could be eligible for backdated payments (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Bereaved parents are being reminded by the Government to check whether they could be eligible for backdated payments.

In February the Government extended eligibility for bereavement support payment and widowed parent’s allowance to cohabiting parents with dependent children – benefits which are 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.

Those whose partner died between April 9 2001 and February 8 2023 may be able to receive backdated payments.

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 February 9 2023 have until February 8 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.

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) minister Viscount Younger of Leckie 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 April 6 2017, they would need to claim widowed parent’s allowance.

If their partner died on or after April 6 2017, they would need to claim bereavement support payment, which has replaced widowed parent’s allowance.

The earliest point to which payments can be backdated is August 30 2018, even if someone’s 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, director of the Childhood Bereavement Network, 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.”

Those living in England, Scotland and Wales should apply to the UK Government.

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 a paper form, which can be downloaded from gov.uk or requested over the phone.

Further bereavement help and support can be found at www.gov.uk/after-a-death/bereavement-help-and-support.

Bereaved parents in Northern Ireland who could be eligible should apply to the Department for Communities (DfC) in Northern Ireland.

The equivalent pages for bereavement benefits for people in Northern Ireland are www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/bereavement-support-payment  and www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/widowed-parents-allowance.