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.

If you’re not sure if you’re eligible for any of these benefits, you can contact Turn2Us or Citizens Advice to help you check which benefits you could claim.

If you’re struggling to pay for a funeral for your partner, you can apply for a Funeral Payment.
Find out more in Help paying for a funeral

Bereavement benefits if you were married or in a civil partnership

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.

You should also note that if you claim these benefits, this may affect your other benefits such as :

  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • 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).

Bereavement Payment

This is a government benefits scheme which pays you a one-off and tax-free payment of £2,000.

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

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

Bereavement Allowance

If you are over 45 years old but not yet at the State Pension age, you can apply for this allowance.

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

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.

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

Widowed Parent’s Allowance

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

You need to be a parent with at least one child dependent on you and eligible for child benefit.

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 a 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.

You could also claim a Funeral Payment to help with funeral costs.

Other benefits available

If you find yourself dealing with a drop in income after your partner dies, you may want to consider claiming some benefits.

These are the 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 Relief 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.

Benefits calculators

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: