HC Deb 18 May 2004 vol 421 c878W
Mr. Willetts

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department plans to lower the age at which the bereavement allowance is paid to widows. [172002]

Mr. Pond

Bereavement benefits were introduced on 9 April 2001, and for the first time extended support to both widows and widowers following the death of a spouse. These new benefits concentrate the help available where it is most needed; on immediate needs and on families with children.

The bereavement payment is a lump sum payment of £2,000 payable immediately to help with costs arising on bereavement. Widowed parent's allowance is a weekly benefit payable to widowed parents who satisfy the qualifying conditions. In addition bereavement allowance is a weekly benefit payable, for 52 weeks following widowhood, to widows and widowers aged 45 and over without dependant children.

We have no plans to change these arrangements.