Following the Supreme Court decision in McLaughlin v SSWP  UKSC 48 and the High Court decision in Jackson & Orrs v SSWP  EWHC 183, the Government has altered the law to allow bereaved cohabiting parents to claim bereavement benefits.
The deadline to claim this backdated entitlement ends on 9 February 2024.
What does this mean?
The changes to the eligibility criteria mean that cohabiting parents and carers whose partner dies from 9 February 2023 will be able to make a claim for Bereavement Support Payment if they meet the other eligibility criteria. We expect around 1,800 more families to be able to make a claim each year.
Around 21,000 families will also be able to make retrospective claims. Because the eligibility criteria were found to be unlawful on 30 August 2018, the Government will also make retrospective payments back to that point to those who had missed out because they were not married or in a civil partnership. Some of these families will have been bereaved as long ago as 2001.
What you should know about making a retrospective claim
You will have until 9 February 2024 to put in a retrospective claim and get the full amount you are entitled to. Make sure you have the advice and information you need about how a retrospective payment might affect previous and future tax, tax credits and benefits before you put in a claim.
Find out more from The Childhood Bereavement Network website.
8 September 2023:
Due to building safety issues, some parts of Whitchurch Civic Centre are closed to the public for the time being, so the weekly information drop-in session is not currently running.
To find out other ways to access information and advice go to get advice page
When the safety net fails: Experiences of navigating local support services during the cost of living crisis
In Winter 2022/23 we surveyed and interviewed people of Shropshire to find out about the impact of rising costs on their lives. The people we spoke to told us they have to make tough choices with their money all day, every day, with no room for errors.
“We’re in a position where the income coming into the house is way less than the bills going out. We have been in an immensely difficult position for a very long period.”
For those we spoke to, this balancing act was often impossible. It was common for people to have gone without essentials such as adequate shelter and food.
In this report, we explore learnings from conversations we had on the local support system in Shropshire, along with recommendations for how we can work together to best support residents facing financial crises. By sharing lived experiences, we want to raise awareness of the stigma people face when accessing support.
Key themes that emerged from this research are:
- Navigating the social support system is not an easy task for people in Shropshire.
- Stigma is huge, but positive experiences of support can help to alleviate it.
- Not Having access to enough support has far-reaching implications for people’s lives.
- The cost of living is hitting Shropshire harder because of its rurality.
- The national safety net sets context for local support.
Based on those 5 key areas we recommend:
Shropshire needs a coordinated approach if we are to support our residents effectively.
- Our local system needs to effectively triage those seeking support.
- Shropshire’s key forum for partnership working, the Social Taskforce, must continue and be adequately resourced.
- Ongoing training for staff and volunteers to ensure they feel confident in helping people to navigate the system.
- Data sharing between organisations to help proactively identify local residents who may be in need of support.
Support system design
Local services should be designed to protect people’s dignity and help individuals to come forward for support.
- There should be multiple points of entry to access support. There must be alternatives to digital, and some face-to-face support available in each town.
- Services should be trauma-informed and raise awareness of the challenges and stigma caused by financial difficulty.
- Review and improve the design of application systems for local support to ensure it is distributed fairly. Clear and transparent criteria for local support schemes and simple and accessible forms are particularly important.
- There should be a preference for a ‘cash first’ approach when delivering local crisis support.
Recognition of the value of the local voluntary sector
The voluntary sector plays a vital role in local support systems, but resources are needed to be able to do this.
- Invest in building trusted relationships across sectors. Clear communication and recognition of the expertise, professionalism and reach of the sector will help to make sure that all players in the local support system feel like equal partners.
- Identify funding for local advice services. Local advice services bring more money to the local economy by encouraging uptake of underclaimed benefits. They also save other services money by preventing people from falling into crisis and costing the local system more in the long-term.
- Funding for the voluntary sector needs to be future proofed, to ensure the sector is able to recruit and retain the skilled staff it needs.
Advocating for ‘big picture’ change
While there is much change that can be effected at a local level, it is important to make sure the wider context of the challenges we face is not forgotten.
- Local leaders and decision-makers should advocate for changes in the funding formula for rural areas to ensure it accurately reflects the needs of a rural population and the additional costs of delivering services in rural counties.
We want to thank everyone who engaged with this research project. Most of all those who agreed to be interviewed. We recognise that sharing your personal experiences and perspectives was not easy. We want to thank you for your time, courage and openness.
Date: Monday 5 June 2023
Time: 12pm – 1pm
Venue: Online event – register for free on eventbrite Citizens Advice June Cost of Living Briefing Tickets, Mon 5 Jun 2023 at 12:00 | Eventbrite
Register now to join Citizens Advice and a panel of experts for the June cost-of-living briefing where we will analyse the latest front-line data.
Foodbanks and the rapidly escalating numbers of people who depend on them to survive is the focus of our June cost-of-living briefing.
We’ll be joined by Emma Revie, Chief Executive at The Trussell Trust and Dr Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive at Mind alongside Dame Claire Moriarty, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice to explain how the crisis is escalating and what collective support is needed to help people overcome what often becomes a downward spiral of debt and anxiety. Our data will be presented by Tom MacInnes, Chief Data Analyst.
A recording of this event will be available afterwards for anyone who was unable to attend or would like to watch it back.
We wanted to reach out and let you know that our operating hours will be slightly affected during May. We will be closed on the following days:
- Monday 1st May, and will reopen as usual on Tuesday, 2nd May at 10 am
- Monday 8th May, and we will reopen as usual on Tuesday 9th May at 10 am
- Monday 29th May, and we will reopen as usual on Tuesday 30th May at 10 am
Additionally, will operate at reduced capacity on Wednesday, 10th May from 1.30 pm to 5.00 pm due to monthly staff training. We apologize for any long wait times to speak to an advisor during this period, and we hope to return to normal levels by Thursday, 11th May.
We understand that your time is valuable, and we want to ensure that you can access the support you need. Our self-help and information are available 24/7 online at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.
Citizens Advice Shropshire have announced their plans to reopen in person appointments in Ludlow and South West Shropshire in the spring and are recruiting a new Community Adviser to work in the community to support those who need face-to-face support.
Jackie Jeffrey, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Shropshire, said:
“Life remains very difficult for many of our clients and cases are more complex than ever. In the last year, we have helped South West Shropshire residents with over 2,807 problems, many of these problems impacted by the cost of living. So, we are really happy to be expanding our reach in the south of the county with face-to-face services.”
Citizens Advice Shropshire will be working with existing community organisations, like Hands Together Ludlow and local foodbanks, as well as maintaining their free telephone Adviceline and as a result will not be reopening their office in the Ludlow Youth Centre.
Jackie added: “We want to reassure people that not reopening the office does not mean we are withdrawing services from Ludlow, quite the opposite. We need to be imbedded in the community where people need us most and we are looking forward to our Community Adviser doing just that.”
More details will be available soon. If you require information or advice, contact Citizens Advice Shropshire FREE Adviceline on 0808 278 7894 , open Monday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm. You can also access self-help and information 24/7 on their webpage www.citizensadvice.org.uk and for information on support with the Cost of Living in Shropshire visit https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living-help/.
From 2nd February 2023, we are holding face-to-face advice sessions in Church Stretton Library on the first and third Thursday of the month.
This service is available by appointment only.
To book an appointment call our Adviceline on 0808 278 7894 (Open Monday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm).
We’d love to see you among us at our in-person
Annual General Meeting!
Join us on Thursday 24th November 2022 5.15 pm to 8.00 pm at Shropshire Wildlife Trust, The Abbeygate Hall, Shropshire Wildlife Trust, The Cut, 193 Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury SY2 6AH to celebrate another year of making a difference to the lives of over seven thousand people in Shropshire.
If you would like to join our celebration please let us know by 17th November by emailing
5:15 to 5:30 pm
5:30 to 6:30 pm
6:30 to 8:00 pm
Refreshments and reception
Opening welcome and thank you to our staff and volunteers – Chris Boote (Chair of Trustees, Citizens Advice Shropshire)
Review of the year – Jackie Jeffrey (Chief Executive, Citizens Advice Shropshire)
Annual General Meeting
Apologies for absence and courtesies
To approve the Minutes of the AGM held on 25 November 2021
To accept the Directors’ & Trustees’ Annual Report 2021/22
To accept the Auditor’s Report and Annual Accounts
To elect Trustees/Directors of the Company
To report appointed Trustee/Directors and declaration of fitness to be a trustee
To appoint auditors James, Holyoak and Parker
Election of Volunteer observer/ representative
Close of meeting by 8:00 pm
Directions to the venue
The difference we make
We provide free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities. We value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination.
Our Impact in 2021/22