Search Legislation

Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999

3.Bereavement Benefits

The Government’s reforms

The Government set out its proposals for reforming bereavement benefits in the consultation document A new contract for welfare: SUPPORT IN BEREAVEMENT (Cm 4104). This was published in November 1998.

The consultation paper proposed that:

  • All those currently receiving widows’ benefits would continue to receive them;

  • Both widows and widowers would be entitled to a tax-free lump sum “Bereavement Payment” of £2,000;

  • Widowed parents with dependent children would receive a weekly, taxable, but non means-tested benefit – the “Widowed Parent’s Allowance” – equivalent to and subject to the same entitlement conditions as the current Widowed Mother’s Allowance;

  • Widows and widowers aged 45 and over with no dependent children would receive a weekly, taxable, non means-tested benefit for six months only – the “Bereavement Allowance” – age-related as for the current Widow’s Pension, but with no SERPS component. While the Bill was before Parliament, this six month period was extended to one year;

  • Widows and widowers with children would be guaranteed up to an extra £10 a week through a new disregard of their Widowed Parent’s Allowance when calculating entitlement to income-related benefits;

  • Men and women over 55 at the start of the new arrangements and widowed within the subsequent 5 years would have access to income-related benefits without any job seeking requirements. They would also receive a special premium (worth £14.35 a week at April 1998 rates) to help them maintain their income when their transitional bereavement benefit ended after 6 months.

Following consultation, the Government legislated to make the proposed changes.

Back to top

Options/Help

Print Options

Close

Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

Close

More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources