Extending Bereavement Support Payments

WAY member Lauren and family

In April 2017, in spite of campaigning by WAY and other charities, the Government voted to ‘modernise’ the bereavement benefit system, slashing Widowed Parent’s Allowance and replacing it with Bereavement Support Payment, which is payable for just 18 months. This change left 91% of families with grieving children supported for a shorter time. Under the old system, widowed parents potentially received support until their youngest child left full-time education.

Stopping payments after 18 months has a significant impact on grieving families’ finances. This can force widowed parents to increase their working hours to replace the income before their children are ready for them to be less available. It can necessitate moving house – and school. Families face great anxiety and stress, knowing that their payments are coming to an end.

Alongside other bereavement charities, and supported by the independent UK Commission on Bereavement, WAY is calling for Bereavement Support Payment to be extended to at least six years or until the youngest child has started secondary school. We believe this would help to give families the financial security they need to rebuild their lives.

We supported WAY member Lauren, who launched a petition to raise awareness of this issue.

Read Lauren's story

In January 2024, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed to meet with SNP MP Hannah Bardell to discuss this issue following a question during Prime Minister’s question time. Read more

In the run up to the General Election, we are calling on people to write to their MPs to share their stories and to explain why Bereavement Support Payments need to be extended.

docx file iconLetter to MP template (21.97 KB)