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Ending Widowed Parents Allowance after a year

(40 Posts)
myfriendflicka Sat 18-Aug-12 07:11:31

The Government is proposing to stop Widowed Parents Allowance after a year. Those who receive it now will not be affected, but people whose partners or spouses die in the future will be.
At the moment it is paid monthly, and is a lifeline for bereaved families. It is based on the partner who died's national insurance contributions, and it is also taxed. It is certainly not enough to live on on its own, and most people who receive it work too.
It helps to pay bills, including childcare for a working parent who has lost their partner and their income. Partners will have paid many years contributions towards their state pension which they will never collect, so the least that should be done is that their partners and children get help at a terrible time.

Anyone who thinks that you are over a bereavement after a year is deluding themselves. Please write to your MPs about this. I have written to Lord Freud, the architect of these changes, as well as my MP.

Please see link below to Telegraph article. The debate contains very offensive language about saving bereaved parents from dependency and how receiving this benefit will discourage people from remarrying. Words fail me.

exoticfruits Sat 18-Aug-12 07:22:42

I am very shocked and think it offensive that it is thought to start widows on a lifetime of dependency. I will write.

IcanandIwill Sat 18-Aug-12 07:29:11

Being very very recently widowed with a newborn and two other small DC, I do not think the people behind this have any concept of what we are going through. Twelve months is no time at all. My children (and I) will grieve at different times and in different ways throughout their lives. To say that we should be moving on in 12 months is an insult. sad

RottenRow Sat 18-Aug-12 07:39:47

I feel very strongly about this. It wasn't given to widowers when I was a child and my mum had died. Yes we managed without it but my god it was a struggle. For a few years my dad did not work with 4 small children and there was no breathing space at all, every penny was accounted for, every bill dreaded. Even something as simple as cooking at school was a source of tension. This benefit would have made such a massive difference to us. Will be writing to MP thank you to myfriendflicka for highlighting this.

exoticfruits Sat 18-Aug-12 07:44:00

My DS was a baby when I was widowed. I don't think that Lord Freud has any concept of what it was like.

EdithWeston Sat 18-Aug-12 08:07:58

"the system does not create enough incentives for widows to marry again"

WTF? I wonder if that was actually said by a minister or in an official paper (it might just be the journos angle).

exoticfruits Sat 18-Aug-12 08:34:49

Surely a government minister can't be saying 'marry them off and save the taxpayer money'!! It also sounds like something from 1950's-perhaps the widow was the main breadwinner in the first place.

EdithWeston Sat 18-Aug-12 08:39:41

If all components of this are contributions based, then this also represents a further weakening of the whole concept of a National Insurance system.

That would be bad, not because NI represents what it used to, but because removing it would mean a huge tax hike on pensioners (which would include bereaved families in receipt of occupational pensions already far lower than they might otherwise expect).

myfriendflicka Sat 18-Aug-12 18:48:51

Thank you for posting about this.

The whole debate (from the article) is so utterly offensive. It won't have been the journalists's angle, she is reporting what Freud was saying.

WPA has been a lifeline for me and my children since my husband died four and a half years ago.

I do work, but do the Government realize how hard it is to be the sole breadwinner, sole support of your children, sole everything? It is really hard to be working and paying for child care out of one salary, and some of you here are talking about being bereaed with very young DC and my heart goes out to you.

I thought the way they were talking about widows/widowers and people who have lost their partners was so insulting, I am absolutely fuming.

They were also very careful to downplay the fact it is based on partners NI contributions. As you say Edith Weston, it represents a further weakening of the NI system.

Words fail me - it's disgraceful.

IcanandIwill Sat 18-Aug-12 18:59:31

To add to what I wrote earlier I will be writing to my MP.

expatinscotland Sat 18-Aug-12 19:05:46

How disgusting!

mercibucket Sat 18-Aug-12 19:08:39

That is disgusting! How low can this govt go! I will write to my MP for sure. It is also imo sad that it is taxed and that it is only for married couples. That comment about a disincentive to remarry is quite horrible sad

mercibucket Sat 18-Aug-12 19:08:40

That is disgusting! How low can this govt go! I will write to my MP for sure. It is also imo sad that it is taxed and that it is only for married couples. That comment about a disincentive to remarry is quite horrible sad

Molehillmountain Sat 18-Aug-12 20:30:42

This is so, so wrong. My father became a widower when my sister was a baby and in those days there was no financial support for widowers at all, only widows. It was so difficult and he still remembers it.

NatashaBee Sat 18-Aug-12 20:51:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

expatinscotland Sat 18-Aug-12 21:03:06

Exactly, Natasha! 'Back into the mainstream world.' And the twaddle about going back to work and remarrying! First of all, many of those who receive this benefit ARE in work! This assumes they are not. And that rot about remarrying just beggars belief, as if a person can just be replaced. Sick, twisted crap. Pensioners exempt, of course. Can't piss them off.

expatinscotland Sat 18-Aug-12 21:08:15

So the 'welfare reform minister' with the title 'Lord', wants to cut an NI-contribution-based benefit for a person who will never draw a state pension because they died before reaching pension age.

What a pathetic excuse for a human being!

TheCrackFox Sat 18-Aug-12 21:18:43

Wow, I didnt think the Tories could sink any lower, turns out I was wrong.

expatinscotland Sat 18-Aug-12 21:37:32

I don't see anything, either, to exempt the widows and widowers of those who died in service to their country.

It's an NI-based payment for those who did not live to pensionable age. To help with the cost of the loss of that person's income to their widow or widower.

But hey, to the wall with them! Lazy scroungers just need to get back to work, ignoring the fact that it's not based on the work of the widow or widower. Just assuming they're all feckless lowlives.

myfriendflicka Sun 19-Aug-12 07:15:56

Expat in Scotland, the widowers/widows of those who died in service to their country are exempt.

However, it is still going to cause suffering to a lot of other people who lose their partners, and all the rest of what you say is true. It is disgraceful, and there is an important principal at stake - this is a contributory benefit.

I think the Government sees widows and widowers as easy pickings. All the stuff in the Telegraph article about dependency and remarrying is Victorian, and apparently the Tories believe all their benefit cutting is popular with the electorate, who they want to be baying for the blood of 'scroungers' through the Daily Mail.

I know a lot about the way the media works and anyone who thinks that story just arrived in the Telegraph is naieve. There will have been a meeting with someone senior on the paper and someone from the Tory party, who will have had a list of topics they want covered.

I think this needs a wider audience - do we really want to end the link between paying national insurance and receiving that kind of benefit? And widows and widowers are scroungers? Really?

I am going to do my best to see it gets a wider audience, but in the meantime it would be great if people could write to their MPs.

An easy way to do that is through the website They Work For You (just google that) and they make it easy for you to send an email to your MP directly, and they will also fax your letter to Lord Freud.

HalleLouja Sun 19-Aug-12 09:17:47

Here is a link I found for contacting MPs

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sun 26-Aug-12 19:43:00

I was widowed 23/1/2011 with 2 teenagers at home and 1 at university. I work full time but our household income fell by over £80,000 pa and whilst life insurance paid the mortgage and income it is pitiful compared to our previous income. My husband paid NI contributions for over 25 years and will never get a pension/we never claimed any benefits; if he had died later I would not get the money I am getting for 3 years until my youngest is 18. The government will save thousands compared to what they would have paid in pension to DH. The crass comment that it stops people getting married again is insensitive and cruel implying that my husband is replaceable and he wasn't.

HiHowAreYou Sun 26-Aug-12 19:59:10

This is a dreadful and cruel idea. Can mumsnet do a campaign I wonder?

DestinationUnknown Tue 28-Aug-12 22:25:09

Basically the DWP has chosen to ignore anything in consultation responses about the long term impacts that spousal bereavement entails on parents of small children. They pretty much acknowlege this in the opening Lines if their response. They are in effect scrapping WPA and increasing the one-off Bereavement Benefit.

The DWP draft policy (ths is a fair way beyond initial consultation stxages alas) states The Government recognises the important role that the contributory principle plays in people’s experience of accessing benefits by creating a sense of entitlement that removes the stigma often associated with claiming means-tested benefits. Yet at the same time, bereavement benefits are paid in the event of the premature death of a working-age spouse or civil partner. Expecting a complete National Insurance record in such circumstances is clearly inappropriate. CLEARLY INAPPROPRIATE?? So govt won't have to pay out anything for a pension, and your spouse may have contributed 10,20 or more years of NI payments but it's inappropriate to expect any sort of help based on that contribution?

I did write to my MP in rather emotional terms at the time of this consultation, and I also questioned with the DWP whether they had done enough to publicise it. Apparently it was too expensive to tell those in receipt of WPA about the consultation, yet they can write to tell us about our £10 "Christmas bonus" payment. I got Nothing back from MP and DWP felt consultation had been perfectly open and sufficiently publicised. I will write again to my MP.

The bit about remarrying is not explicit in the DWP response btw so must be some other ministerial or press office comment.

DestinationUnknown Tue 28-Aug-12 22:26:26

Bad typos sorry.

DWP response here btw

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