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Working to achieve fairness in the administration of bereavement benefits

Our legal and policy teams work to ensure recently bereaved parents receive the financial support they need.

Challenging the law which denies bereavement support to unmarried parents.

A Law Centre NI client has been granted leave in the High Court to seek judicial review of the decision not to award her Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) following the death of her partner.

BSP provides vital help to families faced with the financial strain that arises in the immediate aftermath of losing a partner.

Law Centre NI’s client is challenging the law that requires a person claiming BSP to have been married or in a civil partnership with the deceased prior to their death.

Law Centre NI challenges denial of vital bereavement support benefit.

Securing bereavement benefits for husband of severely disabled woman.

In 2020, we challenged a law excluding the partners of severely disabled people from receiving BSP.

Our client, Michael O’Donnell, applied for BSP following the death of his wife who had been unable to work during her lifetime due to serious illness.

Mr. O’Donnell’s application was refused because his wife had not paid National Insurance contributions during her working life. With our help, he challenged this decision and was successful before the NI Court of Appeal.

The Court decided that the decision to refuse Mr. O’Donnell BSP breached his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Read our summary of Michael O'Donnell's case.

Bereavement Support Payment and Cohabitees

Read our guidance on Bereavement Support Payment and action to take if you or your client is refused an award because of marital status.

Contact our social security team for further advice and assistance on bereavement benefits: 028 9024 4401 or