To mark Children's Grief Awareness Week, which runs from 15-21 November, WAY's campaign spokesperson Georgia Elms speaks out against cuts to bereavement benefits that are hitting widowed parents and their families...
“As the Government’s decision to scrap Widowed Parent’s Allowance begins to bite for bereaved families across the UK, Children’s Grief Awareness Week (15th - 21st November) reminds us that young children can often be the worst affected by the loss of a loved one. Families and children who have been bereaved should receive the best financial support possible, yet the Government’s new Bereavement Support Payment will prevent many widowed parents from receiving the support they need by slashing bereavement payments to just 18 months.
“Young children will be disproportionately impacted under the new system under the old system bereaved parents received support until their youngest child left school so parents with young families potentially stand to lose years of financial support that many WAY members have found to be a lifeline. These payments are not benefits – they are based on the National Insurance payments that have been paid into the pot by the parent who has passed away and represent the pension that they sadly never got the chance to draw down.
“To mark Children’s Grief Awareness Week, we are highlighting the importance of sufficient financial support for suffering families and calling on the Government to reassess the changes that they introduced in April 2017. We believe that financial hardship for grieving families who have already lost a source of income could have a prolonged negative impact on the future, wellbeing and mental health of many children across the UK. Grief lasts far beyond 18 months and it is crucial that children who have lost a loved one are able to live comfortably without placing unnecessary financial pressure on their parents.”
WAY's former Chair Georgia Elms is also Vice-Chair of Life Matters, the task force for bereaved families.
If you want to take action about these changes, read this guide to meeting your MP produced by the Childhood Bereavement Network.
See here for more information about Children's Grief Awareness Week.