A change in legislation could see bereavement benefits extended to co-habiting partners with children.

The extension could see parents who were not married or in a civil partnership, but who lived together and had dependent children, receive the benefits.

If approved by members at this month’s Tynwald sitting, changes in legislation would be backdated to August 30 2018 and include expectant mothers, in line with a recent change to legislation in the United Kingdom.

The changes are being brought forward after UK courts ruled that, by restricting eligibility to bereavement benefits to people in a legal union, legislation discriminated between children on the grounds of the legal status of their parents’ relationship.

This was therefore incompatible with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

A remedial order was subsequently made under the UK’s Human Rights Act and extended entitlement to bereavement benefits for co-habitees who have dependent children.

Tynwald members will be asked during the January sitting to approve the order which makes the same changes to legislation covering bereavement benefits in the island.

Treasury Minister Dr Alex Allinson said: ‘The order to be considered replicates changes introduced in the UK and will mean co-habitees with dependent children will become eligible to claim the same amount of support as spouses and civil partners.’