UK Parliament Votes Down Symbolic Amendment to the Bereavement Support Payment

UK ministers voted down a symbolic amendment to the Bereavement Support Payment program that UK courts ruled as unjust for children of cohabiting parents. The amendment was put forward by 54 Ministers of Parliament in their desire to fully comply with the court rulings. However, the move was defeated by a vote of 366 Nays vs. 265 Ayes.

Nonetheless, the Department of Work and Pensions said it is making careful considerations on how to implement the changes that will provide full remedy, to what the Supreme Court has ruled as unjust and against human rights. The remedy aims to give children of cohabiting parents the right to receive bereavement payments.

Since the UK courts issued the ruling, a cross-party group of MPs have been working with child poverty campaigners to update the legislation pertaining to the Bereavement Support Payment program.

What is the Bereavement Support Payment Program?

Bereavement Support Payment was enacted in April 2017 as a single benefit replacing various support programs, namely the Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance

While the new bereavement support payment aimed to simplify matters for new claimants, payment of benefits still excluded families of unmarried couples. This despite the fact that the National Insurance calculates and determines the eligibility of dependents based on thebNI contributions of the deceased husband, wife or civil partner but excluding unmarried couples.

The bereaved family of the deceased NI contributor will receive bereavement support for 18 months. However, children born out of wedlock are not eligible to receive the benefit.

Campaigners against the existing rule has called on MPs to comply with the court judgment, saying that on a yearly basis, around 2,000 families do not receive bereavement support after a husband, wife or civil partner passes away.

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