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Cohabiting couples to benefit from changes to bereavement benefit rules

The Department for Work and Pensions has announced plans to extend bereavement support to cohabiting couples with children.

At present, a surviving parent can only claim the financial support if he or she was married or in a civil partnership at the time of their spouse or civil partner's death.

The government is now proposing that Widowed Parent's Allowance and Bereavement Support Payments will be extended to surviving cohabiting partners with children who were living with their partner at the time of death.

It is estimated that more than 22,000 families will now be able to claim this help, totalling an additional £320 million in support for bereaved children over the next five years.

Once approved by Parliament, the changes will apply retrospectively from 30 August 2018, with any backdated payments being made as lump sums.

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