Thousands of parents urged to claim benefits worth £10,000s before deadline

365     0
Bereavement Support Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance are designed to help families (Image: Getty Images/Tetra images RF)
Bereavement Support Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance are designed to help families (Image: Getty Images/Tetra images RF)

Bereaved parents are being urged to check if they can claim benefits potentially worth tens of thousands of pounds before a crucial deadline.

The Government has extended the eligibility criteria for Bereavement Support Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance. Previously, these benefits were only available to couples who were married or in a civil partnership.

But now, couples who are cohabiting and have dependent children will also be eligible for this support, which is designed to offer financial help following the death of a loved one. Bereaved parents who lost their partner between April 9, 2001 and February 8, 2023 may be eligible for backdated payments - but you only have until February 8, 2024 to apply.

When the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) extended the eligibility criteria 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, you won’t be able to claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance and parents will not get their full entitlement to a backdated payment of Bereavement Support Payment. Which of these benefits a parent is eligible for will depend on the date their partner died.

Greggs, Costa & Pret coffees have 'huge differences in caffeine', says report rriddqikeiqtkinvGreggs, Costa & Pret coffees have 'huge differences in caffeine', says report

If your partner died before April 6, 2017, you would need to claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance. The amount you could get through Widowed Parent’s Allowance is based on how much your partner paid in National Insurance contributions.

The maximum is £139.10 a week and you you'll continue to claim this until you either stop being entitled to Child Benefit or reach state pension age. In some cases, people have claimed backdated payments worth tens of thousands of pounds.

One man wrote in to MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis to explain how his mum received a payment worth £37,000.

If your partner died on or after 6 April 2017, you would need to claim Bereavement Support Payment, which has replaced Widowed Parent’s Allowance. Bereavement Support Payment is paid at one of two rates.

If you got Child Benefit or were pregnant when your parent died, you will receive the higher rate which includes a first payment of £3,500, plus £350 a month for 18 months. If you didn't have children - but you were married or in a civil partnership - you get one payment worth £2,500, plus £100 a month for 18 months.

In order to qualify for Bereavement Support Payment, your partner must have either paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks in one tax year since April 6, 1975, or died because of an accident at work or a disease caused by work.

You must claim within the first three months of your partner's death to get the full amount - you can claim up to 21 months afterwards, but you will get fewer monthly payments.

When your partner died, you need to have been under state pension age. The earliest payments can be backdated to is August 30, 2018, even if your partner died before this date.

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.”

'I tricked my sister into giving her baby a stupid name - she had it coming''I tricked my sister into giving her baby a stupid name - she had it coming'

Alison Penny MBE, 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.”

Levi Winchester

Print page

Comments:

comments powered by Disqus