Anyone who has lost a close loved-one knows how traumatic it can be and how it often throws your family finances into turmoil, but there is meant to be a safety net in place to protect us from the worst financial pain imaginable.
However, for several years that support has been relegated to the dark ages, because in spite of being a supposed modern and progressive country and society the UK Government refused to accept that relationships have changed.
Case and point: In the last few hours I sent a carefully worded email to my Tory MP. No, I did not vote for him but he is still meant to represement me…. right?
That email reads as follows:
Dear Jesse Norman MP
My long-term partner of more than 20 years, Tina, sadly passed away on 21st May to heart failure and suspected Covid-19.
Since then I have looked to find out what kind of financial support, other than Universal Credit and Child Benefit, I may be entitled to claim.
Surprisingly, I have been told that I’m not eligible to claim Bereavement Support Payments because my partner and I we not married or in a registered civil partnership at the time of her sudden and unexpected death.
However, having done some research on this with help from my connections in the media I found about a legal case earlier this year. On 07 February 2020, the High Court handed down judgment in this case. It was held that the requirement under the Pensions Act 2014 to be married or in a civil partnership in order to claim bereavement support payment (BSP) was not compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
An application by the UK Government to the Court of Appeal was rejected and no subsequent appeals against the original decision have been made by the UK Government.
Despite this, the relevant legislation still has not been changed and information on the gov.uk website still clearly states that unmarried couples are ineligible to claim Bereavement Support.
Luckily, with the support of crowd-funding, I was able to find the money to pay for Tina’s funeral but without her income from working I am left significantly worse off and still have a child aged under 18 to support.
I would appreciate it if you could look into this and get back to me as soon as reasonably possible.
Mr. Steven Preece.
So, as you have seen, the UK Government has conveniently chosen to ignore a court ruling that could affect thousands of people like me.