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Claiming bereavement support payment and other benefits

The death of a partner is very difficult. This can be even harder if you now have to live on a lower income. The help you can claim depends on your relationship with the person who died and whether you were married, in a civil partnership or living them. Find out more about bereavement benefits and other help you might qualify for if you’re now on a low income.

Bereavement benefits if you were married or in a civil partnership

Bereavement benefits are for people whose husband, wife or civil partner has died. Which benefits, and how much you qualify for, will depend on:

  • your age
  • whether you have dependent children
  • whether the person who died paid enough National Insurance contributions during their working lives.
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If you and your spouse or civil partner qualified to claim Marriage Allowance at any time from April 2015, but didn’t claim before they died, you can now claim up to four years’ worth of backdated missed payments.

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Bereavement Support Payment

Bereavement Support Payment replaces Bereavement Allowance, Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Payment.

The benefit is paid to you at one of two rates, depending on whether you’re responsible for children.

You must be below State Pension age to claim Bereavement Support Payment.

Your spouse or civil partner must have made National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks during their working life for you to qualify. If your husband, wife or civil partner died because of an industrial injury, their National Insurance contributions might not matter.

Bereavement Support Payment is only paid for 18 months after the date your spouse or civil partner died. So it’s important you claim as soon as possible to avoid losing money.

How much is Bereavement Support Payment?

Bereavement Support Payment is paid at either a higher rate or standard rate:

Higher rate

Paid to pregnant women or if you’re entitled to Child Benefit. In 2021/22 you’ll get:

  • a monthly payment of £350 for 18 months following the death
  • a one-off payment of £3,500 during the first month.

Standard rate

For everyone else. In 2021/22 you’ll get:

  • a monthly payment of £100 for 18 months
  • a one-off payment of £2,500 during the first month.

You might also qualify to claim other low income benefits to top up your income, such as tax credits, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or Universal Credit.

How do I claim Bereavement Support Payment?

You can claim from the date the person died.

Claims can be only backdated up to three months.

So, make sure you make your claim within three months of your spouse or civil partner’s death or you might lose some of your payments.

Call the Bereavement Service helpline or pick up a form at your local JobCentre Plus.

Bereavement Service helpline

Telephone: 0800 731 0469
Welsh language: 0800 731 0453

Textphone: 0800 731 0464
Welsh language: 0800 731 0456

Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 3.30pm

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Bereavement benefits if you were living together

You can’t claim bereavement benefits if you were living together but weren’t married or in a civil partnership.

But, after the death of your partner, you can try applying for Universal Credit if you’re now living on a low income.

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

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Some benefits are means-tested. This means any savings or income you have will affect whether you’re entitled to benefit payments.

This includes an inheritance taking your savings over the £16,000 threshold.

Try to report the death as soon as you can. This will help you get the benefits you’re entitled to as quickly as possible.

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

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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 they can check if you qualify for help with funeral costs or other benefits.

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Bereavement Service helpline

To find out about Bereavement Support Payment, call The Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 731 0469, or 0800 731 0453 for a Welsh speaking service.

Find out more, including call charges, on the GOV.UK website

Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern Ireland, contact the Bereavement Service on 0800 085 2463.

Find out more on the nidirect website

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Remember that you need to report any change of circumstances as soon as you can. This will help you get the benefits 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 last section of this guide.

Funeral Expenses Payment

What is Funeral Expenses Payment?

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

If the person who died left money, you’ll usually need to pay back any amount you received through the Funeral Payments scheme.

How much you’ll get

The amount you get depends on your circumstances. But it might be up to £1,000 towards funeral expenses, plus payments to go towards the costs of things such as burial or cremation fees.

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How your bereavement benefits affect other benefits

If you are getting Bereavement Support Payment, it won’t affect your other benefits for a year.

After then, the income you get from it will be taken into account for means-tested benefits. These include:

  • Tax Credits
  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance.

The lump sum you get as part of Bereavement Support Payment might count as savings when your entitlement to some means-tested benefits is worked out.

This will only be if you have any of the lump sum left over after 12 months that takes you over the savings limit of £6,000 for means-tested benefits.

This means you might get less of any of these benefits you might be getting:

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

To find out more about how other benefits might be affected, call The Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 731 0469, or 0800 731 0453 for a Welsh speaking service.

Find out more, including call charges, on the GOV.UK website

If you live in Northern Ireland, contact the Bereavement Service on 0800 085 2463. Find out more on the nidirect website

Benefits calculators

There are various benefit calculators to help you work out what you’re entitled to, including on these websites:

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MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
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Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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