Bereavement Support Payment came into effect in April 2017
The new bereavement support payment should simplify matters, as it wasn’t always clear which, if any, of the three benefits it replaces a bereaved person was entitled to. The calculation of National Insurance contributions, on which eligibility for the benefit depends, has also been simplified, with a single NI contribution condition.
Bereavement Allowance was only available to people aged over 45 at the time their spouse or civil partner died. The new bereavement support payment is paid irrespective of age, up to state pension age.
People who are currently receiving the existing bereavement benefits will continue to do so, until the normal lifespan of the benefit is ended.
Anyone whose partner dies on or after 6th April 2017 will instead be eligible for the new payment.
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Bigger lump sum, but less generous ongoing support for parents
Widowed parent’s allowance is paid until the youngest child leaves full-time education. The new replacement will be paid for 18 months only.
18 months of the new bereavement support payment replaces 12 months of bereavement allowance, but at a much lower rate.
The current lump sum Bereavement Payment is £2,000.
This will increase to £3500 for widowed parents and £2500 for those without children.
The current average award for Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Allowance (for people who don’t have children) is £104.51 a week.
For 18 months, they will receive monthly payments of £350 and £100, respectively.
New benefit will be outside the Benefit Cap
At the moment, bereavement benefits are considered when calculating entitlement to means tested benefits. Both the Bereavement Allowance and Widowed Parent’s Allowance are included within the Benefit Cap.
Bereavement Support Payment will not affect Universal Credit entitlement or be included within the Benefit Cap.
It will also not be subject to income tax.
Negative effects for most families
It has been calculated that almost nine out of ten working families will be worse off as a result of the changes.
The monetary value of support for bereavement has fallen by £5.2 billion since 2003, and a further £45 million will be saved by 2019.
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How to apply?
You can’t apply if any of the following are true:
• you were divorced from your husband, wife or civil partner at the time of their death
• you are living with another person as husband, wife or civil partner
• you are in prison
You can download the claim form to complete from this page of the Gov.uk website (it will open in a new browser window)
Once completed, the form can be sent by post to:
Dover Benefit Centre
Post Handling Site B
If you prefer, you can take it into your local Jobcentre Plus.
You can also apply by phone:
Bereavement Service helpline
Telephone: 0345 606 0265
Welsh language: 0345 606 0275
Textphone: 0345 606 0285
Welsh language: 0345 606 0295
Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
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