Bereavement benefits consultation

Bereavement benefits worth

New proposals for better supporting people on benefits after the loss of a spouse or civil partner are set out by the Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud today.

The proposals and the publication of a Command Paper, Bereavement Benefits for the 21st Century: Government Response, addresses concerns that the current system is too complex and out of sync with the needs of bereaved people. Under the current system, some people qualify for a lump sum payout, while others receive regular payments for up to 20 years with no encouragement or support to return to work - essentially abandoning them to a life on benefits following bereavement.

The Government remains committed to providing financial support after spousal bereavement, but Ministers believe that the payment should provide immediate support, instead of longer term income replacement, which can discourage rehabilitation into mainstream life, and harm long term job prospects.

Lord Freud said:

Losing a spouse or civil partner is a life changing event emotionally, socially and economically - so it’s really important that we offer immediate financial support to people whilst they readjust. But the current system can lead some people into a lifetime of dependency.

We have, in consultation with wider groups, looked at the rules again and taken the view that future claimants of bereavement benefits should be supported back into mainstream life and helped back into the labour market after a time of recovery.

The Bereavement Payment is expected to be set at around £9, 800 for a bereaved spouse or civil partner with children and £4, 300 for those without children and will be paid in a lump sum, followed by instalments over 12 months. The payments will also be disregarded from Universal Credit and the Benefit Cap for a period of 12 months.

This period is not intended to reflect the time required for ‘recovery’, but instead to provide a buffer for the immediate financial impact of bereavement.

Ongoing financial need will be addressed through contributory Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit, depending on circumstances.

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A little clarification

by AuroraBlue

If you got severance, you won't get UI benefits until it runs out. they cannot reject your claim if you don't apply for a different position at the company, but they could if you declined to accept an official job offer. the HR guy is just following protocol, is required to tell you that you are welcome to apply for other jobs within the company since your position was eliminated. the company could be sued if he didn't.
same thing happened to me a few months back. didn't bother to apply for other jobs within the company, already knew it would be a waste of time as that was what got me laid off in the first place