Government responds to ruling on Widowed Parent's Allowance

05 September 2018

The new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance, Justin Tomlinson, made a statement in the House of Commons on 5 September 2018 on the Widowed Parent's Allowance (WPA).

Widowed Parent's Allowance is a bereavement benefit for surviving spouses and civil partners widowed before 6 April 2017, who are responsible for a child or young person for whom they are eligible to receive Child Benefit.

This statement followed a Supreme Court judgment on 30 August on WPA for unmarried widowed parents. The Court ruled that the WPA is incompatible with the principles of European human rights law, as the benefit precludes any entitlement to widowed parent’s allowance for a surviving unmarried partner.

Tomlinson told the House, "we are carefully considering the Court’s judgment and how the Department should proceed in light of it. When we have looked at all the options, I will come before the House to update Parliament further".

In response, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Margaret Greenwood said:

"The purpose of financial support by the state for bereaved families is to try to ensure that, as far as possible, families struggling with grief at the loss of a parent or partner should not have to face the additional worry of how they will manage financially. That should surely apply to families regardless of whether the parents were married or not, as the Supreme Court said last week".

Image: DWP

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