Thousands of parents urged to claim benefit worth £10,000s government extend criteria - all you need to know
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Bereaved parents are being urged to check if they can claim benefits potentially worth tens of thousands of pounds before a crucial deadline. The Government has extended the eligibility criteria for Bereavement Support Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance.
Previously, these benefits were only available to couples who were married or in a civil partnership. However, couples who are cohabiting and have dependent children will also now be eligible for this support, which is designed to offer financial help following the death of a loved one.
Bereaved parents who lost their partner between April 9, 2001 and February 8, 2023 may be eligible for backdated payments - but you only have until February 8, 2024 to apply.
When the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) extended the eligibility criteria in February, it opened a 12-month window for cohabiting parents to backdate their claims. This means parents whose partner died before February 9, 2023 have until February 8, 2024 to claim.
After the deadline, you won’t be able to claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance and parents will not get their full entitlement to a backdated payment of Bereavement Support Payment. If your partner died before April 6, 2017, you would need to claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance.
The amount you could get through Widowed Parent’s Allowance is based on how much your partner paid in National Insurance contributions. The maximum is £139.10 a week and you’ll continue to claim this until you either stop being entitled to Child Benefit or reach state pension age.
If your partner died on or after 6 April 2017, you would need to claim Bereavement Support Payment, which has replaced Widowed Parent’s Allowance. Bereavement Support Payment is paid at one of two rates.