Despite its centrality to the experience of death and grief, it is only in recent years that the economic burden following family bereavement has been recognized by social care professionals and scholars. Based on the realization that death and bereavement are grounded in social context, and assuming this economic burden is a multifaceted phenomenon, the present study compares the British and Israeli welfare systems in three policy settings: social security, funeral services, and bereavement leave. The findings suggest that while in both systems bereavement and especially widowhood is considered a deserving category, recent pressures for restructuring the British welfare state have been successful in shifting provision from the state to the market. The findings also show that in both cases, albeit to a lesser extent in Israel, current policy measures are not fully aligned with critical scholarship on bereavement and its financial consequences, nor with socio-economic and demographic trends. These disparities are addressed using the notion of disenfranchised grief and by emphasizing the pivotal, although often overlooked role of the welfare state in constituting it. Lastly, the differences between the two cases are discussed in terms of the powerful role of Judaism in shaping Israeli policy.
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© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
- Israeli welfare state
- bereavement policy