Bereavement Support Payments to be extended to cohabiting parents

bereavement spelled out in letter tiles

bereavement spelled out in letter tiles


The bereavement of a long-term partner or spouse is difficult enough, without worrying about finances on top of everything else. Until very recently, unless you were married, or in a civil partnership, a surviving partner was unable to claim any extra financial support following a bereavement.

New plans for bereavement support

Under new plans proposed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) however, this is set to change, and cohabiting partners will also be able to access much needed financial support. The existing Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payments are to be extended to surviving cohabiting partners who were living with their partner at the time of death, if they have children together.

This change in the rules is set to affect around 22,000 families, offering an additional £320 million over the next five years to support bereaved children. The draft plans will allow the surviving partner to claim the benefit if they were living with the deceased on the date of their death.

DWP Minister, Baroness Stedman-Scott 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.”

When the plans are approved by Parliament, they will also be retrospectively applied from 30 August 2018, which means that many families who would not have been eligible can now claim a backdated payment as a lump sum.

What are Bereavement Support Payments?

Bereavement Support Payments consist of one large payment, followed by 18 smaller monthly payments, paid out after the death of a spouse/partner. Families with children are eligible for a higher rate. For families who are not eligible for Child Benefit, there is a lesser payment, also paid over one larger instalment and 18 smaller.

Bereavement Support Payments do not affect an individual’s benefits for the year following the first payment, but after the first year, any money received may affect the benefit entitlements if they are renewed or a different benefit is applied for.

The payments must be claimed within three months of the bereavement to receive the full amount, although it is still possible to submit a claim for up to 21 months following the death; but there will be fewer payments and less money.

To be eligible, you or your partner must have either:

  • paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks in one tax year since April 6, 1975.


  • died because of an accident at work or a disease caused by work.


When they died, the claimant must have been:

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

For advice about family law and financial issues, contact Vanessa at Gillbanks Family Law.




Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash