A widower who took the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to court after being denied Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) must now face them in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday 13 June.

The DWP are appealing a judgment by the High Court from September 2022 which found the decision to deny BSP to people in Daniel Jwanczuk’s position was a breach of human rights and that provisions under the Pensions Act 2014 must be read so that surviving partners of those unable to work throughout their working life are able to access government support.

Daniel’s late wife Suzzi Jwanczuk had severe, lifelong disabilities and so was unable to work throughout her working life.  As a result, she never paid National Insurance contributions, which is one of the criteria to obtain BSP.

Daniel Jwanczuk, and others in his situation, have not had access BSP while the case is under appeal.

Daniel Jwanczuk said:

Daniel Jwanczuk with his late wife Suzzi

“Following the successful judgment in the High Court it felt like Suzzi’s existence as a human being had been validated. This appeal has been devastating for me. 

“I hope the Court of Appeal upholds the original judgment so that people in my situation are able to access Bereavement Support Payment like other widowers and don’t have to go through what I’ve been through at such a difficult time in their lives.  I also hope the Secretary of State attends next week’s appeal to hear how this issue is impacting on me and people in my situation.”

Alice Stevens, Daniel Jwanczuk’s solicitor from Public Law Project said:

“Being unable to make National Insurance contributions because of a life-long disability should not shut the door to state support for those who need it.

“The law as drafted discriminates against people in Daniel’s position, and, with human rights on the line, we hope the Court of Appeal preserves the High Court’s decision which will make it easier for people like Daniel to access BSP after losing a loved one.”


Notes to editors

  • The hearing will take place in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 June
  • Counsel for Daniel Jwanczuk are Catherine Callaghan KC, Blackstone Chambers, and Tom Royston, Garden Court North.
  • The High Court, as was the case in O’Donnell, used section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998 to read in an exception to the legislation.  In O’Donnell it was noted that reading and giving effect to the Pensions Act (NI) 2015 in that way meant that it was compatible with Article 14 EHRC, when read in with Article 8 and A1P1.
    • Article 14 requires that all the rights and freedoms set out in the Act must be protected and applied without discrimination.
    • Article 8 protects your right to respect for your private and family life.
    • A1P1 protects your rights to enjoy your property peacefully, including welfare benefits.
  • Bereavement Support Payment is a non means-tested benefit usually paid in instalments over an 18 month period following the death of a partner.  It was introduced in the Pensions Act 2014. There are a number of criteria that must be satisfied in order for a claimant to obtain BSP, including a contribution condition as set out in section 31.
  • Mr Jwanczuk’s case was previously covered in the i paper in February 2023
  • The case is funded by legal aid.