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Bereaved parents could claim £10k windfall

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Plans to equalise state benefits for married and cohabiting couples mean unmarried couples with children will be able to claim almost £10,000 from the government if their partner dies.

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

Currently a surviving parent can only claim a Bereavement Support Payment if they were married or in a civil partnership at the time of their partner’s death. The rule change means cohabiting couples with children can claim this cash too.

Bereavement Support Payments allow grieving partners to claim up to £9,800 which is paid out in an initial £3,500 lump sum followed by 18 monthly payments of £350.

People earning £60,000 a year or more who do not qualify for child benefit can claim up to £4,300. This is paid out via a £2,500 lump sum and 18 monthly payments of £100.

But these payments are only made if the couple is married or in a civil partnership – cohabiting couples aren’t eligible.

Under plans set out by Baroness Stedman-Scott, 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 £320m in support for bereaved children over the next five years.

Baroness Stedman-Scott, DWP minister, said: “The death of a loved one is devastating, and can also come with significant financial implications. This change will mean more families can access support during the most difficult of times, and I hope to make that possible as swiftly as I can.”