Martin Lewis shared the warning on the recent episode of the Martin Lewis Money Show this week as the deadline to claim cash is in two weeks time on February 8 2024
Martin Lewis has issued an urgent warning for parents as they could potentially be owed £40,000 from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The Money Saving Expert (MSE) website founder shared the warning on the recent episode of the Martin Lewis Money Show this week. He told viewers that unmarried parents whose partner had died could claim backdated payments of Bereaved Parent’s Payment or Widowed Parent’s Allowance after a rule change last year. These are benefits aimed at providing financial support to parents who have lost a partner and have children together.
However, he warned that people don’t have long left to claim as the “rock hard deadline” is in two weeks’ time on February 8 2024.
Previously the benefits were only available to bereaved parents who were married or in a civil partnership, however, in February 2023 it was changed and is now available to cohabiting parents with dependent children. The DWP then opened a 12 month window for cohabitating parents to backdate their claims – potentially as far back as 2001.
Martin Lewis told viewers that parents can claim backdated support worth up to £40,000, he said: “If you are unmarried and have children and your partner died since 2001, you can possibly claim up to £40,000 of backdated bereavement support, but that is a rock hard deadline on February 8.
“Watch back our show on December 5, 2023, and there’s free information available online. Spread the word to anyone you think fits the bill. It is so important, it’s huge money, it’s life-changing, and once we get to the eighth of February it’s closed for so many people.”
The MSE newsletter was posted later this week and explained how you can claim the backdated payments. It also linked to the Bereavement support payments MSE page which shared the stories from people who had successfully claimed.
Admin assistant Joanne from Bradford successfully claimed £22,000 earlier this year. She told the MSE team: “I was going through my emails and almost deleted the MSE weekly email when I spotted the reader success about bereavement support. I clicked on the link and followed the guidance in the story to make a claim.
“I was told I was eligible but I was totally shocked when £22,000 dropped into my bank account. I had to ring the Department for Work and Pensions to make sure it was correct and not a mistake.”
Another success story came from Janice who emailed the MSE team to thank Martin for bringing the change of law to her attention, she said: “My partner died suddenly in December 2016 and because we weren’t married I received nothing despite the fact we had a 12-year-old son. Following you highlighting the change in law, I submitted a claim and have recently received a payment of over £30k! Many Thanks!”
How to make a claim for Bereaved Parent’s Payment or Widowed Parent’s Allowance
The amount you may be able to claim from the DWP is dependent on when your partner died. If your partner died on or after April 6, 2017, then you might be able to claim Bereavement Support Payment and if they died before this date, you may be entitled to Widowed Parent’s Allowance – you have to be under state pension age to apply.
The Bereavement Support Payment is worth £2,500, plus £100 a month for 18 months for those eligible. If you get Child Benefit or you were pregnant, you receive higher rates. This includes a first payment of £3,500, plus £350 a month for 18 months – this means you could receive up to £9,800 in support.
Widowed Parent’s Allowance is based on how much your partner paid in National Insurance contributions. The maximum is £139.10 a week and you might be entitled to claim this until you either stop being entitled to child benefit or reach state pension age. The MSE website says this means you could be eligible to tens of thousands of pounds depending on how old your child was when the partner died.
Bereavement Support Payment claims can be made online, over the phone or through a paper application form. Widowed Parent’s Allowance claims are only processed by paper forms and these can be downloaded from the GOV.UK website or requested through the Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 151 2012.
The DWP says people can make a claim after the February deadline however those who do will not receive as much money.