The Department for Work and Pensions have confirmed that a new modernised Bereavement Support Payment will be introduced for those bereaved from 6 April 2017. The new Bereavement Support Payment will replace the outdated and complex 3-tier system of Bereavement Payment, Bereavement Allowance and Widowed Parent’s Allowance.
The new benefit will be available to people of any age up to the state pension age and will offer support for 18 months (an increase from the current 12 months). The new payment will also not be taxed and will be subject to a disregard in the calculation of means-tested benefits and the benefit cap, helping those on the lowest incomes by providing extra cash at a time when it is needed.
Minister for Welfare Delivery Caroline Nokes said:
‘Losing a spouse or civil partner can be devastating and we want to provide people with easily accessible support to help them through the difficult period following bereavement. The old system could be unfair, complex and also act as trap preventing people from moving on with their lives. That’s why we are modernising this support into a simple, uniform and easy-to-understand benefit that better reflects society and helps people through what can be a very difficult time.’
The Bereavement Support Payment will be made up of:
- an initial lump sum of £3,500 for people with children and £2,500 for those without children
- a further 18 monthly instalments payable to the surviving spouse or civil partner of £350 for those with children and £100 for those without.