Mark Whitehead 23 June 2016

Campaigners hit out over lack of reform in bereavement payments

Campaigners hit out over lack of reform in bereavement payments image

Thousands of bereaved families will suffer continuing confusion and stress because of the Government's failure to push through reforms to support payments, campaigners have warned.

They say the Government has agreed to review the period bereavement support payments are paid but refused to extend it to children of cohabiting couples.

Alison Penny, coordinator of the Childhood Bereavement Network, also accused the Government of failing to resolve complexities for the lowest-paid widowed parents on the old benefits.

She said: 'Problems with these reforms could have been swept away by the stroke of a pen on the statute book, but instead thousands of bereaved families will face ongoing confusion, stress and lack of support when they and their children need it most.

'We are dismayed that the Government has resisted cross-party recommendations to support bereaved children of cohabiting couples after their mum or dad dies.

'In doing so, the Government has ignored the campaigns of widowed parents and numerous support organisations, recommendations from the work and pensions select committee and a recent ruling in the Belfast High Court.

'Making these families eligible for bereavement benefits could have helped over 2,000 widowed parents and their children each year to get back on their feet.'

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