With the 8 February 2024 deadline approaching, half of grieving families eligible for time-limited back payments of financial support are yet to claim, say the Childhood Bereavement Network (CBN).

Changes to eligibility for bereavement benefits


The Department for Work and Pensions announced in February 2023 changes to eligibility criteria for bereavement benefits, so that cohabiting parents and their children will be able to get financial support if one of the parents dies.

These families were previously denied support because the parents weren’t married or in a civil partnership. 

One of the charities that campaigned for this change, the Childhood Bereavement Network (CBN), estimates that around 21,000 families – some bereaved as long ago as 2001 – may be eligible for a retrospective payment, potentially worth several thousands of pounds. Around 1,800 more grieving families each year will now be eligible for support.

Data released by the Office of National Statistics shows for the first time ever, more babies were born in the UK in 2022 to parents not married or in a civil partnership, meaning that thousands of bereaved children have been missing out on this vital support, currently worth £9,800.

Retrospective payments deadline: 8 February 2024


Families who were previously unable to claim these benefits will also be able to make a new claim for retrospective payments if they were still eligible on or after 30 August 2018. Some families bereaved as far back as 2001 may be able to put in a claim.

The window to claim closes on 8 February 2024 to put in a retrospective claim and get the full amount they are entitled to. More than half of those eligible to claim have not yet done so.

Dying Matters and Hospice UK are helping to spread the word to help find the 21,000 grieving families who could benefit from this change, so that they don’t miss out for a second time.

See further information about claiming from the CBN.