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Relatives of NHS and social care staff in England are entitled to £60,000 to help them cope financially.
The bereavement payment was announced after a campaign by the Daily Express and a cross-party campaign led by Lib Dem Layla Moran.
More than 180 NHS staff in England have died since the start of the pandemic, including GPs, nurses and porters.
Official figures show 51 claims had been made by July 8 but so far only 19 have been assessed as eligible.
The other 32 claim forms are currently being considered and no decision has yet been made.
The figures were revealed in response to a parliamentary question by Ms Moran.
She said the figures show more needed to be done to promote awareness of the scheme and ensure all eligible families apply.
Ms Moran said: “It is concerning that so few families of NHS and care workers who tragically died on the frontline against coronavirus have so far benefitted from this scheme.
“No amount of money could ever compensate for any loss of life. But we must honour those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and provide security and comfort for their families.
“The government must ensure more is done to promote awareness of this scheme to eligible families.
“I would also like to see this scheme extended to all key workers who have been on the frontline against this pandemic, including those working in transport.
“All of these essential workers have put their lives at risk to protect others, and they should be reassured that if the worst happens the state will step in to help their loved ones.”
Although the NHS pension scheme provides support to partners and dependents of active members who die in service, the award can vary dramatically.
Retired medics who returned to the frontline and locums were also not covered by the scheme.
The bereavement compensation was introduced in recognition of the fact that nurses, porters, carers, doctors and other crucial workers were risking their lives and never expected they would face such a threat.
The reforms championed by the Express would bring health staff into line with armed forces personnel and ease fears about how their families will be supported in the future.
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