Group Life and Bereavement Support changes

01 Jun 2017

Group Life Assurance pays out without the need for probate and provides bereavement counselling, says GRiD, following the bereavement benefit changes

From 6 April this year, the new Bereavement Support Payment replaced the current suite of State bereavement benefits (Bereavement Payment, Bereavement Allowance and Widowed Parent’s Allowance).

On the face of it, the changes appear to be beneficial, with a refocus on the additional and more immediate costs of bereavement support for the 18-month period immediately following the bereavement (rather than for 12 months), and no loss of benefit on remarriage or re-partnering. However, many families will be worse off, especially those with children where the current Widowed Parent’s Allowance is paid until such time as Child Benefit stops.

As if to add insult to injury, the Ministry of Justice is also abolishing the current fee structure for probate and introducing a new banded structure based on the value of an estate – meaning that many people will be hit by much higher charges than they expect.

The combination of these changes could leave even more bereaved families significantly worse off.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: “Group life assurance via the workplace has always played a valuable part in financially supporting dependants when a member of a family dies whilst in employment. However, we believe it is likely to become increasingly appreciated as families could now receive less in the way of State bereavement benefits, and are required to pay out more for probate.

“Crucially, in the event of the death of someone whose employer provides group life assurance, benefits are generally paid within a few days without the need for probate, which ensures that families are not left on the bread line or with immediate financial concerns.”

The extra help on top of a financial pay-out

As well as providing a financial benefit, most group life assurance providers offer built-in bereavement counselling services and probate helplines, which are free to access for dependants. This can provide a valuable emotional and practical lifeline for survivors at a particularly difficult time.


For more details of Group Life Assurance schemes and their ancillary benefits please contact the team on 01883 332260 or at


About GRiD: Group Risk Development (GRiD) is the industry body for the group risk protection sector, promoting the value to UK businesses of providing financial protection for their staff, enhancing their wellbeing and improving employee engagement. Wingate are proud to be active members of GRiD.

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