Bereavement Benefits for Cohabited Parents

News and Blog

The government recently announced that bereavement benefits will be extended to cohabiting parents. 

Until now, Bereavement Support Payments (BSP) were only available to eligible bereaved parents who were married or in a civil partnership. From 9 February 23, cohabiting parents or carers of dependent children, whose partner died on or after 9 February, can now also claim BSP – providing they meet all the other eligibility criteria.  

This change to legislation means that around 1,800 more people are expected to be able to claim BSP each year, and will ensure children in bereaved families are equally well supported –  regardless of their parents’ legal relationship status.  

Rosie, our Welfare Advisor, reflects on just how many families this affects: 

Here at St Catherine’s, we are delighted by these changes to the law. Evidence released by the Office of National Statistics shows more babies were born in the UK last year to parents not married or in a civil partnership, meaning that thousands of bereaved children have been missing out on vital financial support. 

An estimated 21,000 people will also be able to make a retrospective claim for either BSP or Widowed Parent’s Allowance (WPA), depending on when their partner died.  

Rosie says: 

Many families will also be eligible for back payments. This is fantastic news. Families will no longer be refused financial support following the death of their partner simply because they weren’t married. This sends an important message – crucial financial support for all bereaved families whatever their circumstances.  

Retrospective claims need to be made within 12 months from the law change (9 February 24). A back payment may impact on tax or wider finances, so if any doubt, people should seek advice before making a claim.  

More information on this change in legislation can be found on the government website here. Applications for BSP can be made online here or by calling the Bereavement Service Helpline on 0800 151 2012.