The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government why, when determining the length of time for which Bereavement Support Payments would be paid, they considered 18 months a suitable timeframe for bereavement support. [HL6803]
Lord Henley: Bereavement Support Payment is intended to help people with the additional costs immediately following a bereavement. Income-related benefits are more suited for longer-term assistance with everyday living expenses. Evidence from the Government’s public consultation exercise in 2011 suggested the financial impact of spousal bereavement was more acute in the early months; and so this new benefit provides a significant cash boost of a lump sum followed by 18 monthly instalments. The Government originally proposed 12 monthly instalments, but in response to representations from the Social Security Advisory Committee, the Work and Pensions Select Committee and groups supporting bereaved people, this was extended to 18 months. This ensures that the payments do not end on the anniversary of the death.