Work and Pensions Committee

Support for the bereaved

Inquiry status: Support for the bereaved open

The deadline for written submissions was Friday 17 May. However, the Committee is still accepting written submissions.

Scope of the inquiry

This follow-up inquiry comes two years on from the implementation of Bereavement Support Payment. It will look at how the new benefit it is working in practice, and press the Government on its progress in responding to the 2018 Supreme Court ruling, which found that the restriction of Widowed Parents Allowance to only those parents who were married to their partner is incompatible with human rights law.

In light of the CMA investigation into the funeral market, and the Treasury’s recent consultation on whether the pre-paid funeral market should be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Committee will also be looking at what progress has been made on its previous recommendations to tackle funeral affordability.

Three years ago the Committee reported on the “opaque, outdated” and inadequate state support for the bereaved. The Committee had particular concerns about the operation of the funeral industry—based on which the Competition Markets Authority has since opened an investigation. The Committee was also deeply worried about what the Chair described as the “profound injustice” that sees bereaved, unmarried parents denied support for their children that is granted to a parent that has lost their spouse.

Send us your views

The Committee would like to hear your views on the following questions. You can respond as an individual, a group or an organisation. You can answer any or all of the questions – please submit your evidence here by Friday 17 May.

  • Is the new bereavement benefit (Bereavement Support Payment) working well?
  • How well has the Government done at explaining and promoting when people are eligible for the new bereavement benefit?
  • Do people who are eligible for Bereavement Support Payment find it easy to claim?
  • What should be done to support bereaved parents who were not married to their partner, who aren’t currently eligible for the Bereavement Support Payment?
  • Should entitlement to bereavement benefits be given to children, but claimed by the parents?
  • What can be learned from other countries’ bereavement benefits systems?
  • Has any progress been made on the Committee’s previous recommendation that the Government and industry agree the cost of a simple funeral? 
Terms of reference: Support for the bereaved

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