New reforms are set to make bereaved cohabitees with dependent children eligible for additional financial support.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is in its “final stages” of extending the Bereavement Support Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance to working age parents who were not married or in a civil partnership with their late partner.
While this change falls short of reforms that have been unsuccessfully called for in recent history, it nevertheless marks one small victory for those who have long campaigned for widespread reform to cohabitation law, with Resolution’s Graeme Fraser last year describing the law as “completely unfit for purpose”.
Subject to final Parliamentary approval of the draft Bereavement Benefits (Remedial) Order 2022, the application window is expected to open early this year, allowing more parents to claim.
Some people may be eligible for backdated payments if their partner died before the law was changed. Full details are set to be announced by the DWP soon.
Minister for Work and Pensions Viscount Younger of Leckie said:
“I am pleased to see this important change is nearing its very final steps to becoming law, so more bereaved parents can access this support.”
Claims for Bereavement Support Payment will be made on gov.uk or by calling DWP’s Bereavement Service helpline. Claims for Widowed Parent’s Allowance will be processed by paper, with applications downloadable via gov.uk.