Bereavement – Retrospective
Losing a much loved partner is a devastating blow both emotionally and financially.
Up until recently only a spouse or civil partner could possibly claim either the widowed parents allowance (WPA), if their partner died on or before 5th April 2017, or the bereavement support payment (BSP), if their other half has passed away since that date.
BSP is a combined payment of up to £9,500, whilst its predecessor, WPA, is an annual payment which a person can continue to receive until they cease to be entitled to child benefit. The current maximum annual amount is £7,233.
Following a successful Supreme Court challenge, the law has changed in February this year to allow unmarried, co-habiting couples to make a claim in broadly similar circumstances.
The good news is that the surviving co-habitee can potentially make a retrospective claim for either WPA or BSP, depending upon when their partner died, to as far back as 8th April 2001.
Assuming the eligibility criteria is met, this could result in many thousands of pounds of retrospective bereavement financial support.
Depending upon the person’s total income for each tax year in which the WPA is due, you may find that HMRC could deduct tax from any arrears received. It is possible that HMRC may only go as far back to tax the last four years of WPA and not the period prior to that. WPA may also impact upon certain state benefits you might be receiving such as universal credit.
The combined BSP payment is not liable to tax and does not have any immediate impact on any state benefits that you may be in receipt of.
The bad news is that, if you believe you may be eligible for a retrospective claim, you only have until 8th February 2024 in which to make it.
To make a claim for WPA you need to go online and download the WPA form, complete and send it off to the relevant address stated on the form itself, which will vary dependent upon where you are in the UK or if you are an ex-pat now living abroad.
For a BSP claim you have a choice, you can either do it online or download the BSP form and post it once completed.
Don’t leave it until the last minute if you think you may be eligible to make a retrospective claim as potentially the bereavement support arrears could be quite significant. It would be a pity to miss out. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like us to see if you fit the eligibility criteria or need assistance in completing the relevant documents.
We can help you by ensuring that you’re aware of the changes that will affect you, your family and your business. To find out more about the ways that we can help you, do not hesitate to contact us on 01484 685413.