The living together penalty

27 January 2016
Despite the fact that 6 million people are cohabiting couples in the UK, current bereavement benefits legislation ignores them completely.
More information

To find out more about the "Living together penalty" download the full policy paper.

In this Royal London policy paper Steve Webb looks at the implications for cohabiting couples and calls for fairer legislation. Currently if one half of a cohabiting couple dies, their surviving partner is not entitled to:

  • A lump sum Bereavement Payment
  • The weekly Bereavement Allowance
  • Weekly Widowed Parents Allowance

Steve estimates that the cost to couples that live together without being married is around £82 million each year. A typical older bereaved person could miss out on £7,800, but more worryingly those who lose their loved ones at an early age and have children to support could lose over £25,000.

Of the £82m ‘living together penalty’ that we have identified, more than half is among bereaved parents with dependent children, which ought presumably to be a source of considerable concern.

                                          - Steve Webb, The Living Together Penalty 

Find out more about the living together penalty and Steve’s call for change in the full policy paper.

Last updated: 13 Jun 2016

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