Claiming bereavement and other benefits

If you’ve lost a spouse or civil partner you could be entitled to non-means-tested financial help, known as bereavement benefits. There are also other benefits which can help you get by financially if you are on a low income.

Bereavement benefits

Bereavement Payment

A one-off tax-free lump sum payment of £2,000 based on your spouse or civil partner’s National Insurance contributions. To be entitled, you must be under State Pension age when they died.

Find out more about Bereavement Payment on the GOV.UK website

Bereavement Allowance

A taxable benefit payable for up to 52 weeks from the date your spouse or civil partner died. The payments are based on your late spouse or civil partner’s National Insurance contributions. To be entitled you must be over 45 but under State Pension age when they died.

To avoid losing any benefit, you should claim within three months of the deceased’s death.

Find out more about Bereavement Allowance on the GOV.UK website

Widowed Parent's Allowance

A taxable benefit which may be payable if you are a parent and your spouse or civil partner has died and they paid enough National Insurance contributions. You must be under State Pension age and be receiving or entitled to Child Benefit for at least one child.

To avoid losing any benefit, you should claim within three months of the deceased’s death.

Read more about Widowed Parent’s Allowance on the GOV.UK website

Impact of bereavement benefits on other benefits

If you are receiving 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. So, in other words, 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

Call or visit your local Jobcentre Plus to understand how your payments will be affected

If you live in Northern Ireland, contact your local Jobs and Benefits Office

Using your benefits

Bereavement benefits will help pay for some of your immediate expenses after the death of your partner. But remember, Bereavement Payment is a one-off payment and Bereavement Allowance is only payable for 52 weeks from the date your spouse or civil partner died.

So, it’s important to plan for how you will manage all your outgoings when these payments stop, as you'll probably have to manage on a lower income. Try to keep some of this money back to help you get by in the longer term.

Coping with a drop in household income after your partner dies

Benefits if you’re on a low income

If you’re going to have to manage on a low income, now is the time to check that you are getting everything that you are entitled to.

If your partner was already claiming benefits for your household, you’ll need to check if you are eligible to claim these in your name now. As low income benefits are means-tested, now that your circumstances have changed you might not get as much, or you could be entitled to more.

You have to report your change in circumstances – so let your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office know straight away.

Low income benefits

See the table below for some of the main benefits available to those on a low income.

BenefitWho gets it?Where to find out more
Funeral Payment
If you’re on a low income you could get help towards the cost of arranging a funeral. Find out more about funeral payments on the GOV.UK website
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
You must have a low income and few savings, and be available for work. Find out more about JSA on the GOV.UK website
Income Support
You're a lone parent with a child under 5 or you’re a carer on a low income with little savings. Find out more Income Support on the GOV.UK website
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
You can’t get work because of illness or disability. Find out more about ESA on the GOV.UK website
Working Tax Credit
You work at least 16 hours per week but you’re on a low income. Find out more about Working Tax Credit on the GOV.UK website
Universal Credit
You’re looking for work or on a low income. (This is being introduced between April 2013 and October 2017.) Universal Credit – an introduction
Pension Credit
You are over State Pension age and on a lower income. Find out more about Pension Credit on the GOV.UK website
Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance (pays all or part of your rent, but not for inclusive bills such as water or heating)
You must be on a low income and have few savings. Find out more about Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance on the GOV.UK website
Help with Council Tax (pays part or all of your Council Tax) or Rate Relief in Northern Ireland
You must have a low or no income and few savings. Find out more about help with Council Tax on the GOV.UK website

Use a benefit calculator on the GOV.UK website to find out what you may be entitled to.

Alternatively, visit your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office.

 

Money Advice Service

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service. All information accurate at time of publication.