Bereaved parents whose partner died between 9 April 2001 and 8 February 2023 are being urged to check if they are eligible for backdated financial support before the window closes on 8 February 2024.
Eligibility for Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment was extended to cohabiting parents with dependent children by the Department for Communities in February 2023 with a 12-month window for backdating claims. The extended eligibility means parents with dependent children who were living with their co-habiting partner at the time of their partner’s death may be eligible. The financial support was previously only available to bereaved parents who were married or in a civil partnership.
Bereaved parents whose partner died before 6 April 2017, have three months left to make a backdated claim for Widowed Parent’s Allowance or to claim Bereavement Support Payment if their partner died on or after 6 April 2017.
Bereaved parents claiming Bereavement Support Payment after the backdating 12-month window of 8 February 2024, may still receive some monthly payments, but fewer than if claimed before 8 February 2024.
Even if their children are no longer dependant, bereaved parents can make a claim as both Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment could be backdated to 30 August 2018 subject to eligibility.
Claims for Widowed Parents Allowance can be made over the telephone by ringing 0800 085 2463 option 3 or through a paper application form, which can be downloaded from NI Direct.
More details on eligibility and how to make a claim for Widowed Parents Allowance can be found at: NI Direct
Claims for Bereavement Support Payment can be made online via NI Direct or over the phone by calling 0800 085 2463 option 1 or a paper application form that can be downloaded from NI Direct.
More details on eligibility and how to make a claim for Bereavement Support Payment can be found at NI Direct
Further bereavement help and support can also be found at NI Direct
Notes to editors:
- Following approval of the Bereavement Benefits (Remedial) Order 2023 by Parliament, this law change took effect from 9 February 2023, and the Order has retrospective effect to 30 August 2018.
- Cohabiting bereaved parents eligible for BSP who claim after the backdating cut-off of 8 February 2024 could still receive some monthly payments, but fewer than they would have originally entitled to. If parents claim after 8 November 2024, they will not receive any payments.
- For Widowed Parents Allowance (WPA) the dependent children criteria states that the claimant must have been entitled to Child Benefit at the time of their partner’s death and entitled to Child Benefit at or from 30 August 2018. They must also meet the other eligibility criteria for WPA.
- For Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) the dependent children criteria states that the claimant must have been either getting Child Benefit, or eligible for Child Benefit, or pregnant at the time of their partner's death. They must also meet the other eligibility criteria for BSP.
- If parents claim for WPA after 8 February 2024, they will not receive any payments because the 12-month window to claim will have ended.
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