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Unmarried co-parents can now claim Bereavement Support Payment

February 2023

Written by Frankie Entwistle, Digital Content Lead

A change in the law means that, married or not, co-habiting parents can claim up to £9,800 in Bereavement Support if their partner dies.

What’s changed?

Previously, Bereavement Support Payment was paid to people when their partner passed away, but only if they were married or in a civil partnership. That condition has been lifted for those who shared parental responsibility for dependent children with the person who died and were claiming (or entitled to claim) Child Benefit.

That means if you lived with the co-parent of your children and they passed away, you may be able to claim money from the government to help you raise your children. The rule also applies if you were pregnant when your partner died.

But it’s important to claim as soon as you can as the amount of money you can get falls over time and, if you leave it too long, you won’t be able to claim at all.

You can apply on the government website: Bereavement Support Payment.

What are the updated Bereavement Support Payment eligibility rules?

For you to be entitled to claim, at the time of your partner’s death you must have been:

  • under state pension age
  • living in the UK (or another country that pays bereavement benefits)
  • married or in a civil partnership with your partner, or living at the same address and with shared parental responsibility of dependent children (and entitled to Child Benefit).

Your partner must have paid National Insurance for at least 25 weeks in one tax year since 6 April 1975 (unless their death was the result of an accident or disease caused by their work).

If you’re not sure if you can claim Bereavement Support Payments or not, it’s worth contacting the Bereavement Service helpline, which is run by the UK government, to find out.

Bereavement Service helpline: 0800 151 2012 (Welsh language: 0800 731 0453)

Unfortunately, at OneFamily we can’t tell you with any certainty if you can claim or not as these payments aren’t connected to us.

How much are payments worth?

If you’re eligible for Bereavement Support Payments, you’ll be given a lump sum followed by a monthly amount for 18 months.

  • Those who receive Child Benefit will get £3,500 followed by £350 a month for 18 months.
  • Those who don’t receive Child Benefit will get £2,500 followed by £100 a month for 18 months.

If you weren't married or in a civil partnership, you must be entitled to Child Benefit to be able to claim Bereavement Support Payment.

When can you apply?

Although it’s likely to be a difficult time with competing priorities, it’s important to apply for Bereavement Support Payment as soon as possible after your partner passes away.

Partners will need to claim within three months to get the full payment. After this, the amount you’re entitled to will fall every month that you don’t claim and, if you leave it for 21 months or longer, you will miss out entirely.

This change to Bereavement Support Payment eligibility was backdated, however you needed to make a backdated claim by February 2024.

Woman sat on sofa looking upset while children play behind her

Further financial support

Child Benefit

This is available to people who become the main carer for a child or children after the person who had parental responsibility dies.

More about Child Benefit

Widowed Parents’ Allowance

If your partner died before 6 April 2017, you may be able to apply for Widowed Parents’ Allowance instead of Bereavement Support Payment.

More about Widowed Parents’ Allowance

Guardian’s Allowance

If you are bringing up a child or children whose parents have died, you may be able to claim a weekly Guardian’s Allowance to help, even if one of the parents is still alive.

More about Guardian’s Allowance

State Pension

If you were above the state pension age when your partner died, you may be able to claim extra state pension.

More about State Pension

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