Q. My partner has just passed away, and we had lived together for many years, but never married.
Q. My partner has just passed away, and we has lived together for many years but never married. I have been told that we had to have been married for me to claim a bereavement payment, is there anything else I should be claiming? We had a joint claim for Employment and Support Allowance based on my health problems and that has been changed into a single claim.
A. Both the bereavement payment and bereavement allowance can only be paid if you were married or in a civil partnership. You can apply for help with the funeral costs if you are receiving Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (or certain other means tested benefits). An application can be made on an SF200 form – which are available from the Bereavement Service on 0345 60 60 265 – and must be made within three months from the date of the funeral. If your partner had any savings or a funeral plan, you would only get help with anything that wasn’t included in the plan. You have not mentioned if you had any children in your relationship, and you may have seen recently that unmarried couples who have children were discriminated against because the surviving partner could not claim support for any children in the relationship. The courts have confirmed this was unlawful discrimination, however, it is for the Government to introduce legislation to end this discrimination. If you do have children it is worth seeking specialist advice to protect your position until corrective legislation is introduced. Contact your local Citizens Advice centre for further information on this subject by searching on the website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/