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Bereavement Support for cohabitees

ROBBO
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Welfare rights team - Stockport Advice

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“DWP Minister, Baroness Stedman-Scott said:

The death of a loved one is devastating, and can also come with significant financial implications.

This change will mean more families can access support during the most difficult of times, and I hope to make that possible as swiftly as I can.

Under these draft plans, a surviving partner with dependent children will only need to have lived with the deceased on the date of death.

Once approved by Parliament, the changes will apply retrospectively from 30 August 2018, with any backdated payments being made as lump sums.”

Does a bereaved cohabitee need to make a claim to BSP now?

Any idea how the DWP will deal with claims made until this is approved?

S Taylor
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Welfare benefits adviser - Macmillan Caring Locally, Christchurch

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I am wondering the same thing. Should I be advising people to claim now and expect to be turned down? Bereavement is hard enough without applying for something you don’t need to. Does anyone know what the position is?
Thanks everyone, Sally

Daphne
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I asked for an update on this via stakeholders and have received this reply -

The process for making a remedial order is an extensive one involving consultation and parliamentary scrutiny. Remedial orders are laid before Parliament for two separate 60-day periods, excluding any days for recess. The first 60-day sitting period is the ‘consultation stage’, during which time the Joint Committee on Human Rights will scrutinise the proposals and comments will be invited from parliamentarians and stakeholders. On conclusion of the first 60 sitting days, and once all representations made on the proposals have been considered, draft orders are laid for a second and final 60-day period. On conclusion of the second laying period, the draft Order must be debated in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords before the proposals can be passed into law.

The draft Bereavement Benefits (2021) Remedial Order 2021, to extend Widowed Parents Allowance and the higher rate of Bereavement Support Payment to surviving cohabitees with dependent children, was laid before Parliament on 15 July 2021. The draft Order concluded the first laying period on 12 November 2021 and we are now considering representations made during this time. Due to the lengthy process involved in making a remedial order, we cannot say at this stage when the draft Order will become law.

The draft Order proposes to extend Widowed Parents Allowance and the higher rate of Bereavement Support Payment to surviving cohabitees with dependent children with effect from 30 August 2018. Potential claimants will have up to 12-months from the date the Order comes into force to submit a claim. There is nothing that potential claimants need to do now, as the Order is not yet law.  We will be updating the GOV.UK website at key points during the process and recommend that potential claimants check the website from time-to-time to keep themselves updated of developments: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bereavement-benefits-proposal-for-implementation-of-the-mclaughlin-2018-and-jackson-2020-judgments.

NB - Regulation 3 of the draft remedial order makes amendments to the Claims and Payments Regs to provide for the claims up to 12 months after the Order coming into force

 

[ Edited: 15 Dec 2021 at 10:56 am by Daphne ]
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Information and advice resources - Age UK

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Thanks Daphne, that’s really useful to know (even if a little frustrating about how long this is taking).

dizzymare
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Welfare benefits adviser - Dudley MBC

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https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bereavement-benefits-proposal-for-implementation-of-the-mclaughlin-2018-and-jackson-2020-judgments/draft-explanatory-memorandum-draft-bereavement-benefits-remedial-order-2021

finally seems like there is some movement on this. Does this mean that we have to wait another 60 days for the consultation before this amendment is in place?

(I have an ongoing case) and would be great to update her that things are finally progressing

Daphne
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Bereavement Benefits: Proposal for implementation of the McLaughlin (2018) and Jackson (2020) judgments has been updated to say -

The 60 day period to provide comments on the draft order has now concluded and representations made during this period are currently being reviewed. A further update will follow in due course.

We’ve updated our story of 15 July to reflect this.

dizzymare
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Welfare benefits adviser - Dudley MBC

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that’s good news - thank you (sorry missed the update as I was off for christmas and havent yet caught up on everything)

Daphne
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to be fair it’s an update on an old story so you wouldn’t see unless you were searching ;)

CalMcM
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Financial Inclusion Team, East Ayrshire Council

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Just piggybacking onto this.

I have inherited a case where a colleague was advised to challenge a decision noting the Jackson verdict (by CPAG), however the MR has been refused. Is the appeal likely to fail at this stage as the remedial order is not yet law?

Thanks in advance.

SarahBatty
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Durham Welfare Rights

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My colleague at Durham who has been following this very closely has advised our team that it’s best to wait for the Remedial Order and then make a new claim as the draft order has the ability for claims to be backdated to 2018

Daphne
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Recent update via stakeholder forum on progress of remedial order -

The process for making a remedial order is a complex one, requiring extensive consultation and parliamentary scrutiny. As well as being laid before Parliament for two separate 60-day sitting periods, remedial orders must also be scrutinised by the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) and debated in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords before they can be passed into law.

The draft Bereavement Benefits (2021) Remedial Order 2021, to extend Widowed Parents Allowance and the higher rate of Bereavement Support Payment to surviving cohabitees with dependent children, was laid before Parliament on 15 July 2021. On 12 November 2021, the draft Order concluded the first 60-day laying period and the JCHR also published its report on the proposals. We are now considering whether to make changes to the draft Order in light of the JCHR recommendations and other representations received during this time. Due to the complexity of the points raised and the need to give these careful consideration, we cannot say at this stage when the draft Order will be laid for its second 60-day sitting period. We are progressing this work as a priority and will continue to update the GOV.UK website at key points during the process: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bereavement-benefits-proposal-for-implementation-of-the-mclaughlin-2018-and-jackson-2020-judgments.

 

MaggieB
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Dorchester CAB

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Does the person who has died have to be the father/mother of the children to allow their cohabitee to make a claim for BSP or is the fact they were living together and one of them a ‘step parent’ sufficient to allow a claim. Does anyone know what kind of proof is likely to be required?