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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Social security benefits: widowed parent's allowance

Section 39A Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992

Widowed parent’s 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 EIM76177).

WPA is a weekly benefit that consists of:

  • a taxable basic allowance for the surviving parent equivalent to the state retirement pension (£72.50 in 2001/02)
  • a non-taxable allowance for each dependant 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.

Living together as husband and wife, re-marriage and forming a new Civil Partnership will end Widowed Parent’s Allowance.

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