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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Social security pensions: widowed parent's allowance

Section 39A Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992

Widowed parents allowance (WPA) replaced widowed mother’s allowance (WMA) from 9 April 2001, but WMA continues to be paid to claimants receiving that benefit before 9 April 2001 (see EIM74605).

WPA is a weekly benefit that consists of:

  • a taxable basic allowance for the surviving parent equivalent to the state retirement pension
  • a non-taxable allowance for each dependent child (children under the age of 16 or under the age of 19 when still in full-time education)
  • additional state earnings related pension (SERPS) if the surviving parent qualifies (taxable).

Entitlement to WPA requires:

  • the deceased parent to have made sufficient National Insurance contributions prior to his or her death or for death to be caused by his or her job and
  • the surviving parent to have a child and be entitled to child benefit or for a woman to be expecting her late husband’s baby (this includes any pregnancy arising as a result of artificial insemination or in vitro fertilisation) as long as the woman was living with her husband immediately before his death.

In the case of a man whose wife died before bereavement benefits were introduced on 9 April 2001, a claim to WPA can be accepted from that date if the entitlement conditions are met.

The allowance ceases when the widowed parent’s entitlement to child benefit ceases.

A parent who is aged 45 or over when the WPA ceases will be entitled to claim bereavement allowance, see EIM76173.