DWP ministers tweak benefits law to support cross-government digital bereavement service

Update made to social security legislation to ensure that Universal Credit and Maternity Allowance services are notified after citizens use ‘Tell us Once’ service to inform departments of a death

Ministers from the Department for Work and Pensions have tweaked benefits legislation with the intention of supporting the operation of the digital service through which citizens can inform government of the death of a loved one.

The Tell us Once digital service – created by the DWP – was first introduced in 2011 and is designed to provide users with a single means through which they can inform various government departments of a death.

Once a citizen has completed the online process, details of the death will be provided to deceased person’s local authority, as well as to HM Revenue and Customs, the Passport Office, Veterans UK, Social Security Scotland, and the DWP itself. A number of public sector pension schemes are also connected to the service.

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Online guidance that accompanies the service states: “HMRC and DWP will contact you about the tax, benefits and entitlements of the person who died.

In a newly published amendment to the UK’s social security law, Viscount Younger of Leckie – a junior minister at the DWP – announced slight tweaks to the language of legislation. According to explanatory notes published to accompany the amendment direction, the department indicated that the alterations have been made to support the Tell us Once service in its remit to provide data to officials working on benefits.

“These ensure that legislation allows for Universal Credit and Maternity Allowance claims to be notified through the Tell Us Once service when someone dies,” the notes said.

The amendments themselves will see specific references to the two benefits in question – as well as to Bereavement Support Payment – added to the relevant section of the legislation.

Sam Trendall

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