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Bereavement benefits to be made available for cohabiting families with children

On 25 January, after a decade long campaign co-ordinated by The Childhood Bereavement Network (CBN) with other charities including Widowed and Young (WAY), MPs approved the Bereavement Benefits Remedial Order 2022.

The order will ensure that bereavement benefits, crucial support that thousands of bereaved children were missing out on, extends to surviving cohabiting couples with children who were living together at the time of one of their deaths.

More than 20000 families could be eligible for retrospective payments

Currently around 1,800 parents a year are denied benefits because they were living with but not married to or in a civil partnership with their partner when they died. 

This change means that an estimated 1,800 additional bereaved cohabiting parents a year will now be able to claim Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) on behalf of their grieving children.

Additionally, it's estimated that more than 21,000 families will be eligible for retrospective payments going back to 30 August 2018, if claimed within a 12-month window.

Calls for payment scheme to be set up

Last year the number of live births registered outside of a marriage or civil partnership exceeded the number of births registered within a marriage or civil partnership since records began in 1845.

What happens to the families bereaved earlier than 30 August, 2018? Charities are calling on the Government to set up an ex-gratia payment scheme to provide a further, proper remedy as families bereaved before this date will not get the same amount as their counterparts.


Although it shouldn't have taken as long as it has done, there's a sense of relief that this injustice has been reversed. Once the changes come into law, it's vital that affected families are made aware of the change so that they can make a claim.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people following a fatal accident at our dedicated fatal accident and bereavement support section.