Rio Ferdinand has slammed cuts to benefits for widowed parents, ahead of a documentary about how he has coped with his wife's death.
The footballer, 38, has criticised government changes to the bereavement payment system, which currently allows widowers to receive benefits until their youngest child leaves school.
The former Manchester United star's wife Rebecca Ellison died from breast cancer aged just 34 in May 2015.
Rio spoke out about the changes to the benefits, which will see widowed parents receiving a one-off lump sum and up to 18 months of payments.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: 'I don't understand how the Government can actually say there's a time scale on it, because there is no time scale on anything to do with bereavement.'
The father-of-three said 'every individual is different' when it comes to the grieving process.
Speaking about how long it can take to recover from a bereavement, Rio said: 'One person may take six months. Another person may take 10 years.
'There isn't a time when you can say, 'Yeah I'm over it'. Putting a number on it is the wrong thing to do.'
Rebecca was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 but had appeared to be clear of the cancer following treatment.
But a scan earlier in 2015 revealed it had returned and spread to her bones and she died just five weeks later on May 1.
Rio met Rebecca, a former fitness trainer and accountant, while he was at West Ham United in the late 1990s. The pair married in the Caribbean in 2009.
The footballer has admitted he found it difficult to explain Rebecca's death to their children Lorenz, 11, Tate, nine, and daughter Tia, five.
In a statement released after her death, Rio said: 'My soul mate slipped away last night.
'Rebecca, my wonderful wife, passed away peacefully after a short battle with cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.
'She was a fantastic loving mother to our three beautiful children. She will be missed as a wife, sister, aunt, daughter and granddaughter. She will live on in our memory, as a guide and inspiration.
'Our grief, as a family, is total. We would appreciate being allowed to mourn privately.'
A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said: 'We're updating an old system that was based on the outdated assumption that a widowed parent relied on their spouse for income, and would never work themselves. This doesn't reflect people's lives today.
'The 18 month Bereavement Support Payment helps with the immediate costs when someone loses their spouse or civil partner and the support can help protect families from sudden financial difficulties.
'Once the payments come to an end, there are means-tested benefits which can continue to support the bereaved, especially those who are bringing up children.'
Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad will be shown on BBC1 at 9pm on Tuesday 28 March.