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Volume 406: debated on Thursday 12 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on his policy on the eligibility of former carers of people affected by asbestosis under 45 years of age for bereavement benefit. [117110]

Bereavement Benefits were introduced on 9 April 2001, and for the first time extended support to both widows and widowers following the death of a spouse. These new benefits concentrate the help available where it is most needed: on immediate needs; on families with children; and on older widows and widowers, who are more likely to have been out of the labour market for some time.The Bereavement Payment, a lump sum payment of 2,000 payable mmediately to help with costs arising on bereavement, and Widowed Parent's Allowance are both available to those under 45 years of age where they satisfy the qualifying conditions.