Mark Jackson, Marie Curie Policy Manager, England, responds:
“This decision will be warmly welcomed by families across the country. As the Supreme Court found in 2018, restricting financial support only to bereaved people who were married to their partner was unfair and discriminatory; today’s decision to make all cohabiting couples with dependent children eligible for the Bereavement Support Payment is a great step forward.
“Requiring a parent to have been married or in a civil partnership to claim the Bereavement Support Payment left over a million children at risk of being cut off from vital financial support in the event of the death of a parent – simply because their parents were unmarried.
“While we are pleased to see the Department for Work and Pensions announce this decision, we urge them to act fast and implement these changes as soon as possible so that each of the 1.2 million cohabiting couples with young children in the UK have peace of mind that, if the worst happens, they will not miss out on the lifeline of financial support simply because they weren’t married. When a family member dies, those left behind should be able to focus on what really matters, not worrying about how to make ends meet.
“Marie Curie remain concerned that despite these changes some bereaved parents may miss out on the support they need simply because of when their partner died, or due to the limited period for which the Bereavement Support Payment is paid for all claimants. We encourage the Government to make further changes to ensure that no bereaved parents miss out on the support they need.”