This morning, Wednesday 17 July, the Department of Work and Pensions Minister gave evidence to the Select Committee as the final part of its inquiry into the Bereavement Support Payment.
Sue Ryder previously made a submission and gave evidence after consulting with its online bereavement community and family support service.
The Minister called for an evaluation of the Bereavement Support Payment.
Elinor Jayne, Head of Influencing at Sue Ryder, said:
“Sue Ryder welcomes the recommendation for an evaluation of the Bereavement Support Payment. However, this must be carried out as a matter of urgency to end the inequities in the system and make sure the bereavement benefit works for all, for as long as people need it.
"In the meantime, there is no justification for excluding unmarried partners from the benefit - this can and should be changed now, regardless of the evaluation."
Sue Ryder had urged the Committee to:
- Extend the eligibility for Bereavement Support Payment to include unmarried couples, in addition to married or civil partners.
- Extend the deadline within which people must apply for the benefit from three months to two years, or find a way to ensure it is paid automatically without having to apply. A bereaved person is likely to still be coming to terms with their loss in the first three months and applying for benefits during that period can often feel like a task too high.
- The 18 month period for payments should be extended or be made more flexible to allow for individual circumstances. This could be particularly supportive for those with dependent children or older adults.
- Create a simple, easy to navigate hub offering advice on all of the practical aspects of handling a death, including benefits and financial assistance.
For more information on the Work and Pensions Select Committee Inquiry on Bereavement Support Payment, visit parliament.uk.