On 12th February 2017, the Sunday Times reported the "streamlining" of bereavement payments and sumarised these as,
"Under the old system
A taxable allowance of up to £487.71 a month for widowed parents (on top of a £2,000 tax-free payment to all bereaved spouses or civil partners). The allowance rises with inflation and continues until child benefit is no longer payable for the youngest child or the child leaves school, whichever comes first.
Under the new system
A £3,500 tax-free payment to bereaved spouses or civil partners with children, plus a bereavement support payment of £350 a month, which does not rise with inflation, for 18 months only. "
Bereavement benefits have long been strangely configured so that those receiving the state pension (i.e. the group most commonly bereaved) are not entitled to any benefits.
Until April 2017, the following are available (the explanations are simplified, check the rules in full):
- Bereavement Payment - a £2,000 tax-free payment for married or civil-partner couples where the survivor is under pension age.
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance - if under pension age with at least one dependent child, up to £112.55per week (depending on the partner's NI contributions) so long as entitled to Child Benefit.
- Bereavement Allowance - (previously widow's pension) for one year from the date of bereavement if between 45 and pension age. The amounts range from £33.77 to £112.55 per week, depending on the recipient's age and the partner's NI contributions.
- Note that you cannot get both WPA and BA and that both stop if you enter a new relationship.
After April 2017, entitledto states,
The "simplified system will focus support on the 12 month period immediately following the bereavement in a bid to cover the additional costs of bereavement - this is a big departure especially in terms of Widowed Parent's Allowance which is currently paid until your youngest child leaves education. Age will no longer be a factor in determining eligibility and National Insurance contribution conditions will be simplified in a bid to make entitlement easier to understand. In the current system, bereavement benefits are taken into account when calculating entitlement to means tested benefits and Bereavement Allowance and Widowed Parent's Allowance are both included within the Benefit Cap. Bereavement Support Payment on the other hand will not affect Universal Credit entitlement and will not be included within the Benefit Cap."