Back in January I wrote about Bereavement Support Payments – but the law has changed since then, and now tens of thousands of bereaved unmarried partners are entitled to the benefit, as well as married ones.
The Government changed the law after the Supreme Court decided in 2018 that denying unmarried parents these benefits broke the European Convention on Human Rights. Bereavement Support Payment is £3,500 plus £350 a month for 18 months – a total of £9,800 – and to qualify, you must be a parent, under age 66, whose partner died.
The law applies from 30 August 2018, and any unmarried parent whose partner died is entitled to any benefits that would have been due back to then. The Government does not seem to have a plan to identify the estimated 21,000 parents in that position – so it is up to them to claim.
You’ll need to have been under state pension age at the time of death. The deceased person must have paid a certain number of National Insurance Contributions, but their age is not relevant. An unmarried parent under 66 whose partner dies from 9 February 2023 can claim £3,500 and £350 a month for 18 months. They should claim within three months of the death. An unmarried parent who was under state pension age when their partner died between 30 August 2018 and 8 February 2023 will get total benefits of £9,800. An unmarried parent whose partner died from 6 April 2017 to 29 August 2018 will get the money due from 30 August 2018.
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An unmarried parent whose partner died before 6 April 2017 may be entitled to an earlier benefit called Widowed Parent’s Allowance. It is currently £126.35 a week while you receive child benefit for a child with the deceased partner. You may be entitled for the death of a partner
as long ago as April 2001 if you still received child benefit after 30 August 2018. Backdated claims must be made by 8 February 2024.
For more information, search gov.uk for ‘bereavement support payment’, or call the Bereavement Support helpline: 0800 151 2012.
QUESTIONS? Send any questions to Paul.Lewis@radiotimes.com. I cannot answer you personally, but I will reflect them in this column.