Widowed Parent’s Allowance after child’s death

A client in receipt of widowed parent’s allowance recently suffered the loss of her only child. She informed Tell Us Once promptly, but has received a demand for overpaid WPA, seemingly for the whole period following her child’s death.

One clear defence is that by informing Tell Us Once she discharged her obligation to disclose a change of circumstances, and so any overpayment shouldn’t be recoverable.

But it also seemed to me, looking at s.39A, SSCBA 1992, that there shouldn’t be an overpayment in the first place, at least for the 8 weeks following her child’s death, because of the client’s continuing entitlement to CB during that period under s.145A SSCBA.

When I rang the Dover Benefit Centre, however, they were clear that their practice is to stop WPA immediately upon the child’s death (assuming it is the parent’s only child for whom they are getting CB).

To me it seems clear that entitlement to WPA is based on simple “entitlement” to Child Benefit, rather than on the relevant child being alive. Am I missing something?

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