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RACHEL RICKARD STRAUS: All grieving families must get fair treatment

RACHEL RICKARD STRAUS: It’s time that ALL grieving families are treated fairly – weaselling out of giving many their fair due is not a good look


Maybe you believe that children should be born in wedlock. Or perhaps you think that notion is outdated. 

Either way, we can agree that children have no say over whether or not their parents choose to marry. 

That is why it is so cruel that the children of unmarried parents are left worse off if they lose a parent than the children of married parents. 

Unfair: It is so cruel that the children of unmarried parents are left worse off if they lose a parent than the children of married parents

The grief when a child loses a parent is devastating. I lost my dad when I was still a girl; I know this all too well. 

There is nothing that can change that. But bereavement support payments are there to help lighten the practical load just that little bit in those first, difficult months. 

They can help with funeral costs, or allow the surviving parent a little breathing space to spend time with their child rather than having to rush back to work or worry about paying the bills after losing their partner’s income. 

These payments are made from the National Insurance contributions of the deceased, taking some of the state pension funds they will never be able to claim and diverting them to their grieving family when they most need it. 

Charities have pointed out for years that it is unfair that bereaved families with unmarried parents are denied these benefits. 

In August 2018, the Supreme Court agreed. 

But Tuesday marks three years since the court ruling and still the Government has not fixed this imbalance. Why is it taking so long? 

For every day that passes, another five cohabiting families are bereaved on average, and left without the financial support to which they are entitled. 

The Department for Work and Pensions has said that those eligible will receive a lump sum backdated to August 2018 when the rules are finally updated. 

No doubt families will be glad to receive this money, in some cases several years after the death of their loved one. 

But there is a reason the bereavement support payments are structured with a lump sum immediately after the death followed by smaller monthly payments. The first few weeks after the death are likely to be when this money is most needed. 

Yes, the Government has been dealing with a lot of other issues of late, but that is no reason to ignore some of those in society with the quietest voices. 

As we reveal on page 135, even when the new rules are finally introduced some families of unmarried parents will still receive thousands of pounds less. 

When a company is found to have treated its customers unfairly, it is not allowed to say, ‘Fine, we’ll be good from now on’. 

They are ordered to go back and make good what it did wrong in the past. Why should the Government be held to a different standard? Weaselling out of giving bereaved families their fair due is not a good look. 

It’s time to do the right thing and level up. Now.

Increase in contactless payment spending limit may cause friction 

The spending limit for contactless card payments is set to rise from £45 to £100 on October 15, it was announced on Friday. 

The move will come just six months after the limit was raised from £30 to £45. 

It means paying for things will be easier than ever. 

I don’t know about you, but I prefer if my payments are not completely frictionless. 

I never save my card details when I pay for items online. Partly because I’m wary of data breaches, but also because it’s too easy to pay without thinking if you can do it with the click of a button. 

Finding my handbag, getting out my purse, and typing in the number on my credit card only takes a minute. But it’s time in which I reflect on what I am purchasing and whether I really need it. 

I’ll be interested to see how our spending habits change when we’re able to spend £100 simply by waving a card at a reader.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up spending more on things we don’t need. 

Please let me know if your habits change and how – and if you’ve learned any good tips to counter it. 

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