Stark drop in bereavement benefits
From 6th April this year, bereaved parents will no longer receive the same benefits that widowed single parents have benefited from since 1925.
90 years ago, it was pretty standard practice for the women of the house to stay at home and it was the men who brought in an income. If the man of the house passed away, then evidently the family left behind needed support. Times have obviously changed & as such, the government now wants to encourage the bereaved to ‘re-adjust’ faster, and become less reliant on the government benefits.
If these changes go ahead, 75% of people will be worse off in cash terms & there is a strong argument to suggest that you are forcing people who aren’t ready to go back to work, earlier, and for longer hours, to the detriment of the family ‘re-adjusting’.
Trying to modernise the current bereavement support system also includes not paying out to unmarried couples. In a time when cohabiting couples are starting to receive the same benefits as married couples when alive; Thus stripping them of their bereavement benefit when one dies seems an unfair development.
Indeed, since the change in rules were announced, MPs have received over 32,000 letters of complaint, urging Philip Hammond to re-asses the plans & pause any imminent changes. The original plan was to provide clarity & fairness, but it seems that at present, neither of these are evident, but a significant government cost saving is clear.
To summarise, this is what is changing:
- Bereavement support will amount to a maximum of £112.55 per week (dependent on NI contributions).
- Benefits will be paid for 18 months only – previously they were paid until the child turned 16 years.
- Married couples will benefit but un-married couples will receive nothing. However, unmarried couples can continue to benefit from funeral expenses help and other means tested benefits.
These changes provide more evidence that having a protection plan in place is an important part of your financial planning. Relying on the government benefits is always risky & we strongly encourage couples, both married and un-married to put in place a plan.
For more financial information like this and to sign up for our newsletter please click here
The value of investments can fall as well as rise and past performance is not a guide to the future. The content of this publication is for information only. It does not represent personal advice or a personal recommendation, and should not be interpreted as such. Please do not act upon any part of it without first having consulted an Independent Financial Advisor.