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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Adam Toms & Kate Lally

Woman loses £45,000 benefits after boyfriend died in sleep

A woman says she has lost out on £45,000 in benefits after the father of her child died in his sleep.

Alice Evans is raising daughter Imogen alone after her partner Daniel Sillwood died in 2014. Daniel worked as an inspector at Rolls-Royce and was the family’s main breadwinner.

The mum has now slammed a bizarre law which has seen her struggle to carry the burden of her household's expenses alone.

READ MORE: Mum's warning after boy makes new 'friend' in their garden

Currently, those who lose a partner are not entitled to bereavement payments if they were not married. Alice, 45, from Smalley, told Derbyshire Live this law is outdated and those who lose loved ones who were not their legal spouse should also be entitled to extra financial support.

The Department of Work and Pensions introduced Bereavement Support Payments in April 2017, which replaced the Widowed Parent Allowance and other previous bereavement payments for new claimants.

The family would have been paid approximately £45,000 in total since 2014. Alice added that she and Daniel’s 10-year-old daughter, Imogen, would have a better standard of life as a result, more closely aligned to the one she would have had were her father still alive.

Imogen was just two when her dad died, aged 35. But Alice adds that this is not just about money, as Daniel’s death, from pneumonia, meant the family lost a “very devoted father and partner”. She said: “He thought the world of Imogen would do anything for her.

"He would come home from his night shift and take her to nursery in the morning, then come back home in the evenings and cook meals. He was a family orientated person.”

Alice thinks the current law is not fit for purpose in 2022 as fewer people today decide to marry but still live in a family setting with people dependent on them. She said: “We were living together as man and wife, we just never got married. Maybe we would have one day - we just didn’t get the opportunity.

“The payment would be around £120 a week. It’s unfair because I wasn’t married to him but still felt the benefit. The bereavement payment used to be called the ‘Widowed Parent Allowance’. I’m a widowed parent - I don’t see the relevance.

“When he passed away he was the breadwinner. We lost the wage that he brought in. I was left raising a child and running the household singlehandedly. Imogen would be able to live a life today that she would have if her father was alive.”

Alice added that she believes there are over 20,000 other people in the UK who are in a similar situation to her own who would be eligible for this benefit.

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