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Government agrees better support for bereaved

The government has agreed to better support for bereaved people.

The new modernised Bereavement Support Payment was announced by Minister for Welfare Delivery Caroline Nokes.

It will be introduced for those bereaved from 6 April 2017.

It aims to provide more accessible help for spouses and civil partners in the difficult period following a family death.

Bereavement Support Payment replaces the outdated and complex 3-tier system of Bereavement Payment, Bereavement Allowance and Widowed Parent’s Allowance.

Caroline Nokes said:

“Losing a spouse or civil partner can be devastating and we want to provide people with easily accessible support to help them through the difficult period following bereavement.

“The old system could be unfair, complex and also act as trap preventing people from moving on with their lives. That’s why we are modernising this support into a simple, uniform and easy-to-understand benefit that better reflects society and helps people through what can be a very difficult time.”

The new Bereavement Support Payment restores fairness to the system by being available to all people under state pension age whose spouse or civil partner made sufficient National Insurance contributions.

Instead of the notion of bereavement benefits replacing the deceased spouse or civil partner’s earnings, the new Bereavement Support Payment is designed to help people with the additional and more immediate costs of the grieving period. This means a higher initial lump sum, and extending payments to 18 months to support them through a difficult time.

The Bereavement Support Payment consists of:

  • an initial lump sum of £3,500 for people with children and £2,500 for those without children
  • a further 18 monthly instalments payable to the surviving spouse or civil partner of £350 for those with children and £100 for those without

The monthly instalments are being extended from 12 months following recommendations from bereavement support groups.

The regulations for the new Bereavement Support Payment were laid in Parliament.

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