The Government has extended eligibility to higher rate Bereavement Support Payment to parents and carers under State Pension age whose cohabiting partner dies leaving them bringing up dependent children. Formerly, these benefits were only paid to surviving parents who were married to or in a civil partnership with their partner.

This change is being backdated to 30 August 2018, when the Supreme Court ruled that denying these benefits to cohabiting families was unlawful. 21,000 families, some bereaved as long ago as 2001, could be eligible for backdated payments of Bereavement Support Payment (currently worth £9,800) or its predecessor, Widowed Parent’s Allowance.

The amounts you will be entitled to vary by when you were bereaved and other circumstances. You will have a 12-month window to put in a retrospective claim and get the full amount you are entitled to. If in doubt about the implications of retrospective payments on your wider tax, tax credits and benefits position, you should get benefits advice before putting in a claim.

For more information and to find out if you’re eligible and how to make a claim, visit the Childhood Bereavement Network website.