An Estimated 21,000 Households Might Be Entitled To Backdated Payments By Deadline Of 8th February 2024
In 2017 the Supreme Court disapplied the requirement for pension nomination forms to be completed for cohabitees to benefit. The following year, the Supreme Court deemed that the exclusion of cohabitees from entitlement to Widowed Parent’s Allowance (“WPA”) was unlawful, paving the way for payments to be extended to thousands of bereaved parents who weren’t married or in a civil partnership.
These changes, which were introduced by a Remedial Order in February 2023, mean that cohabiting parents and carers can make a claim for both WPA and the newer Bereavement Support Payment (BSP), which was introduced in April 2017, as long as they satisfy the eligibility criteria.
As many as 21,000 bereaved parents who missed out on these payments for years because they weren’t married or in a civil partnership may be eligible to claim for retrospective payments if their partner died as long ago as 2001, as long as certain criteria are met.
Expert Opinion“In recent years there have been a number of changes to the entitlement of cohabitees to bring them more in line with married couples and civil partners.
Those eligible for retrospective payments have just a matter of days left to claim what could be an incredibly helpful cash payment.
It is, however, important that claimants have the advice and information they need about how a retrospective payment might affect previous and future tax, tax credits and benefits before they put in a claim.
If you are in any doubt about the implications a retrospective payment will have on your wider finances, we recommend seeking independent financial advice before submitting your claim.” Stephanie Kerr, Partner
The charity WAY Widowed and Young, which supports young widowed people across the UK, was part of a decade-long campaign, alongside a coalition of other charities, that called for the reform. They are now spearheading the #Findthe21k campaign to make sure that as many widowed parents as possible find out about the retrospective payments before the deadline expires at midnight on 8th February.
Stephanie Patrick, Chief Executive at WAY Widowed and Young said: “We are calling for everyone to help us get the word out to bereaved parents who have been deprived of this vital support because they weren’t married when their partner died and who may not be aware of the change in the law. It would be truly heartbreaking if they found out about these retrospective payments, potentially worth thousands of pounds, after the deadline has passed. Please do help to spread the word.”
In 2023 Irwin Mitchell announced it was WAY Widowed and Young’s official legal partner.