Written evidence from Anonymous (DBB0001)

 

By email

 

 

16 July 2021

 

Liz Saville Roberts MP

House of Commons

London

SW1A 0AA

 

                                          Draft Bereavement Benefits (Remedial) Order 2021

 

 

Dear Ms Saville Roberts,

 

 

I am writing to you as you have been involved with the proposed changes to bereavement benefits.

 

My partner of 25 years, the mother of my 3 children, died in 2015.  We were not married, but like many married couples we had paid National Insurance over a long period. My claim for bereavement benefits was refused.

 

I have read the draft paper and would like to make the following comments:

 

 

Lump sum payments

 

Married couples were also entitled to a £2000 lump sum payment in addition to regular WPA payments.  This should also be claimable by parents who were not married.

 

Likewise, the annual Christmas bonus of £50 should be paid for the period covered.

 

 

Backdating

 

Why are payments only backdated to 30 August 2018? 

 

If it is wrong to treat married and unmarried couples differently, surely it was wrong before the date of the date of the Supreme Court ruling and has been wrong since the adoption of the relevant ECHR legislation.

 

Taxation

 

Widowed Parent’s Allowance is a taxable benefit.  Many bereaved parents will have incomes below the tax threshold, but the late payment of a lump sum in one tax year would put some above the limit. In effect, this would again mean married and unmarried parents being treated differently. 

 

 

Late payment compensation

 

Interest or an ex-gratia payment should be paid in recognition of the late payment of the benefit. 

 

In my own case I had to take my pension much earlier than I had intended, resulting in financial losses and a restriction on future contributions into the pension scheme.  This would have not been necessary if my claim for bereavement benefits had been accepted.

 

 

In its current form the draft remedial order does not redress the different treatment of married and unmarried bereaved parents and it should be amended.

 

Please contact me if you would like any further information.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Anonymous

 

28/07/2021

2