WIDOWS BENEFITS FOR COHABITING COUPLES

Created 04/09/2018
The Supreme Court  has ruled in favour of a client with 4 children who had been refused Widowed Parents Allowance and Bereavement Payment after cohabiting with her deceased partner for 23 years. Both benefits are contributory and non means tested. The law states that the benefit is normally only payable where the partners were either married or in a civil partnership but not cohabiting. The new Bereavement Support Payment(replacing those benefits from April 2017) is similarly denied to cohabiting couples.
 
Means tested benefits such as Universal Credit or tax credit, on the other hand,  routinely treat cohabiting couples as living together as though married, often meaning less benefit is payable.
 
The representing law firm said '“In making this ruling, which could affect tens of thousands of cohabiting couples with dependent children … the supreme court is effectively requiring government to revisit its policy and decide whether, and if so, how, the law should be changed.'