We are actively campaigning to improve provision for bereaved families around three key areas: unmarried cohabiting partners and bereavement benefits, changes to bereavement benefits from April 2017 and the rising costs of funerals and funeral poverty.
CAMPAIGN WIN Bereavement benefits and cohabiting couples
From 9 February 2023, families will be able claim bereavement benefits if the parents were living together but not married when one of them died. Previously they were denied these benefits: we have been campaigning against this injustice for the last decade.
The courts have ruled that denying Bereavement Support Payment (and its predecessor Widowed Parent's Allowance) to cohabiting families is incompatible with parents and children's human rights. After a long delay, the Government has now extended the eligibility criteria. Read more about the background and what this means for parents here.
Changes to bereavement benefits from April 2017
In April 2017, the government replaced Bereavement Payment and Widowed Parent's Allowance with the new Bereavement Support Payment (BSP). We remain concerned about the impact of these changes on families.
We estimate these changes mean that 91% of newly widowed parents are supported for a shorter time than they would have been under the old scheme, and 75% are worse off than they would have been. A minority of widowed parents are better off than they would have been under the old scheme, as BSP isn't be taken into account for calculating entitlement to means-tested benefits.
If you want to take action about these changes, read our guide to meeting your MP.
We've been leading a coalition of organisations concerned about these changes. Read our latest briefing.
We joined the Life Matters taskforce to think about solutions and recommendations on how the nation could better support bereaved parents, partners, and children both financially and emotionally. Read our news release or watch our film below.
What about families who are worried about the impact?
For parents who are terminally ill and worried about the future of their family, it is important to make sure they are claiming all the benefits they are currently entitled to. There is a good guide here.
The Plan If website has more suggestions for parents of things they might want to put in place in case they die before their children grow up.
Funeral costs are rising faster than inflation. Concerned about the impact on children in families forced into poverty through funeral expenses, we have joined the Funeral Poverty Alliance. Read more here.