Almost 3.3 million cohabiting couples could now be eligible for national insurance bereavement benefits after Prime Minister Theresa May announced that heterosexual couples will be allowed to enter into civil partnerships.
The ruling means that heterosexual couples could be able to receive survivor benefits, which are currently only provided to married couple and civil partners, but not cohabiting couples.
The decision came after a Supreme Court judgment in June, which ruled that Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan should be allowed to enter into a civil partnership, stating that current UK law is “incompatible” with human rights laws on discrimination, and the right to a private and family life.
Quilter tax and financial planning expert, Rachel Griffin, said: “Importantly, this may mean that national insurance bereavement benefits will be extended to these couples. Today, cohabiting couples miss out on thousands in bereavement help so this is will also be another reason for them to enter into a civil partnership.”
According to Royal London, the decision could lead to a “multi-billion pound windfall”.
The Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths Bill, currently at report stage, will be debated in the House of Commons on 26 October 2018.
Tweeting about the news, Royal London director of policy, Steve Webb, said: “Key question about the plan for civil partnerships for heterosexual couples is whether government will now deliver national insurance bereavement benefits to such couples - would be completely indefensible to continue to exclude them.”