Bereaved unmarried partners with children can now apply for backdated benefit payments
- Bereaved partners with children who were not married or in a civil partnership at the time of their partner’s death can now access bereavement benefits
- Partners need to apply for backdated payments before 8th February 2024
- Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire is offering help and advice to anyone wanting to apply for the support
Bereaved partners with dependent children who were not married are now eligible for the same bereavement benefits as married couples.
And it is currently possible to apply for backdated payments covering back to 2001. But the window for applications closes on 8th February 2024.
Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire wants to get the message out that support is now available for partners who were cohabiting.
And the charity would like to offer its support to people with questions around eligibility and entitlement.
Earlier this year, the Government allowed cohabiting parents to be eligible for Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) and Widowed Parent’s Allowance (WPA).
Previously, this had only been open to partners who had been married or in a civil partnership.
The Government has said it made the change in order to be fairer to children.
WPA applies if the partner died before 6th April 2017. BSP has now replaced WPA, so if their partner died on or after 6th April 2017, they would need to claim BSP.
Eligibility for bereaved parents
To qualify for either benefit, parents must:
- be under the State Pension age both when their partner died (between 8th April 2001 and 5th April 2017 for WPA/after 6th April 2017 for BSP) and crucially also on 30th August 2018
- have been pregnant or been entitled to Child Benefit on the day their partner died and on or after 30 August 2018
- in addition, the partner must have paid a certain amount of National Insurance contributions or died because of an accident or disease caused by work
BSP for parents consists of an initial payment of £3,500, followed by up to 18 monthly payments of £350.
The amount of WPA to be paid depends how much the partner paid in national insurance contributions, with a maximum of £139.10 per week or £7,233 per year.
Emmanuelle Claverie is Lead Supervisor at Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire and leads a team of Advisers.
She said: “Up to 9th February 2023, it was only married parents and people in a civil partnership who could claim BSP or WPA.
“It’s finally been changed so people who were cohabiting when the partner died and have children can put in a claim for back payments of BSP or WPA.
“The conditions are that when their partner died they were either pregnant or responsible for children and still eligible for child benefit on 30th August 2018.”
Anyone in South Gloucestershire seeking free, independent, impartial and confidential advice from Citizens Advice South Gloucestershire can call 0808 278 7947.
The charity’s opening times and contact details are available at: www.southgloscab.org.uk/get-advice/visit-us/