Claiming bereavement allowance and other benefits

The death of a spouse or partner is a very difficult experience. This change in your life is sometimes even harder if you now have to live on a lower income. You could be eligible for bereavement allowance and other benefits to help you deal with the loss of your partner.

Bereavement benefits if you were married or in a civil partnership

You can contact Turn2Us or Citizens Advice for help checking which benefits you can claim.

These benefits are for people whose husband, wife or civil partner has died. Each scheme has certain criteria which you must match in order to claim it.

If you claim these benefits, it may affect your eligibility for other benefits (scroll down to ‘How your bereavement benefits affect other benefits’ for more information).

Bereavement Payment

What is Bereavement Payment?

A government benefit scheme which pays a tax-free lump-sum if your husband, wife or civil partner dies.

The deceased must have paid enough National Insurance contributions for their surviving spouse or civil partner to be able to claim.

How much you will get

A fixed one-off payment of £2,000.

For eligibility criteria and an application form, visit the GOV.UK website.

Bereavement Allowance

What is Bereavement Allowance?

If you are over 45 years old, but not yet at the State Pension age, you can apply for Bereavement Allowance (previously known as Widow’s Pension).

The scheme pays you an allowance for up to 52 weeks from the date of your spouse’s death.

Payments are backdated for up to three months only. So you must make this claim within three months of your spouse’s death, or you’ll lose out on this benefit.

How much you will get

The amount you could receive varies from £33.77 per week to £112.55 per week, depending on the level of National Insurance contributions made by your husband, wife or civil partner and your age at the time of their death. This allowance is subject to tax.

For more information and an application form, visit the GOV.UK website.

Widowed Parent’s Allowance

What is Widowed Parent’s Allowance?

If you are a parent and have at least one child dependent on you, are widowed and below the State Pension age, you might be able to claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance.

You could also claim if your husband or civil partner dies while you are pregnant.

How much you will get

This scheme pays you an allowance of up to £112.55 a week. The allowance is subject to tax.

For eligibility criteria and a claim form, visit the GOV.UK website.

Bereavement benefits if you were living together

There are no bereavement benefits if you were living together, but weren’t married or in a civil partnership.

But you can try applying for other benefits in your name, such as Universal Credit, Income Support, or Working Tax Credit after the death of your partner. See the table below for a list of available benefits.

Funeral Payment

What is Funeral Payment?

If you’re on a low income and struggling to pay for a funeral for your partner, you can apply for a Funeral Payment.

If there is a deceased person’s estate, you will usually need to pay back any money received through the Funeral Payments scheme.

How much you will get

The amount you receive depends on your circumstances, but could be up to £700.

Find out more in Help paying for a funeral.

How to claim benefits if you’re on a low income

You must report any change of circumstances as soon as you can. This will help you get the benefits you’re entitled to.

If you find yourself dealing with a drop in income after your partner dies, you may be able to claim some benefits.

To do this, you’ll need to let the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) know that the person has died.

Some benefits for people on low income are ‘means-tested’. This means any savings or income you have will affect whether you are entitled to benefit payments.

This includes an inheritance that could take your savings over the £16,000 threshold.

You can get more advice and help for living with a lower income in Living on a budget.

Tell Us Once

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can contact the Tell Us Once service to cancel the deceased’s benefits and entitlements.

The Tell Us Once service can also inform the DVLA, HMRC, Passport Office and local council for you and check if you are eligible for help with funeral costs or other benefits.

  • Contact the Tell Us Once service
  • Alternatively, you can call The Bereavement Service helpline on 0345 606 0265, or 0345 606 0275 for Welsh language.
  • If you live in Northern Ireland, contact the Bereavement Service on 0800 085 2463.

Benefits available for people on a low income

Benefit Eligibility
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) You’re below State Pension age, have little savings, available and willing to seek work.
Income Support You’re below State Pension age, pregnant or a lone parent with a child under 5, or a carer with little or no income, and no more than £16,000 in savings.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) You can’t work because of illness or disability, and you’re under State Pension age.
Working Tax Credit You work at least 16 hours per week (or more depending on your age) but you’re on a low income.
Universal Credit You’re looking for work or on a low income (currently only available in England, Scotland and Wales)
Pension Credit You’re over State Pension age.
Housing Benefit You’re on a low income and have no more than £16,000 in savings (this benefit pays all or part of your rent but not utility bills)
Council Tax Reduction You must have a low or no income, and little savings (this benefit pays part or all of your Council Tax)
Rate Reliefopens in new window Similar to Council Tax Reduction but only available to residents of Northern Ireland.

Some benefits for people on low income are ‘means-tested’. This means any savings or income you have will affect whether you are entitled to benefit payments. This includes an inheritance that could take your savings over the £16,000 threshold.

Remember, you must report any change of circumstances as soon as you can. This will help you get the benefits that you’re entitled to.

To find you which benefits you could claim and how to make a claim, use one of the benefit calculators in the links below.

You can also get more advice and help for living with a lower income in Living on a budget.

How your bereavement benefits affect other benefits

If you claim any of the following benefits, your payments may be affected if you start receiving Bereavement Allowance or Widowed Parent’s Allowance.

  • Income Support
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit (only if you receive Bereavement Allowance)

Bereavement Payment counts as savings when your entitlement to some means-tested benefits is worked out.

This means if you get the one-off Bereavement Payment, you might see a reduction in the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit

For more information on how this may affect your other benefits, contact the Bereavement Service, which is run by the Pension Service of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP):

  • If you live in England and Wales, call 0345 606 0265 (call charges apply).
  • For the Welsh language helpline, call 0345 606 0275 (call charges apply).
  • If you live in Northern Ireland, call 0800 085 2463 (free to call).

Benefits calculators

There are a number of benefit calculators which can help you work out what you’re entitled to.

For a general summary of the benefits you may be eligible for, use the Citizens Advice benefit calculator.
For a more detailed breakdown of what you might get, use the Turn2us benefit calculator, or the Entitledto benefit calculator .

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