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  • How death affects benefits

Bereavement benefits

You can claim certain benefits if you were looking after someone who has died. Bereavement benefits are not means tested, but they will be taken into account as income if you claim any means-tested benefits.

Bereavement payment

This is a one-off, tax-free payment of £2,000, paid on the death of your spouse or civil partner. It's only payable if you're under state pension age when your spouse died. There are also National Insurance contribution conditions based on your spouse or civil partner’s contribution record, unless they died as a result of an industrial injury or disease. You must claim this payment within 12 months of your spouse or civil partner’s death.

Bereavement Allowance

This is a regular taxable payment made if you were aged 45 or over when your spouse or civil partner died. It is payable for 52 weeks. The amount you're paid relates to your age when your spouse or civil partner died. It is only payable up to state pension age and will be reduced if your spouse or civil partner’s National Insurance contribution record was incomplete.

Widowed Parent’s Allowance

This is a regular, taxable payment for men or women under pension age who have been bereaved and have dependent children (or, in the case of women, if they're pregnant). If your spouse or civil partner met the National Insurance contributions conditions, the full rate is payable. If not, you receive a proportion of the allowance, unless they died of an industrial injury or disease.

You cannot be paid Widowed Parent's Allowance and Bereavement Allowance at the same time. A Bereavement Payment can be paid in addition to Widowed Parent's Allowance or Bereavement Allowance.

To claim a bereavement benefit, ask for the appropriate claim form from any Department for Work and Pensions or Jobcentre Plus office. You can find more information and download claim forms online (see External links).

After pension age

Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Allowance cannot be paid after state pension age. When you reach state pension age, and if you haven't remarried or formed a civil partnership, you'll be entitled to a pension, as long as your late spouse or civil partner satisfied the National Insurance contributions or died as a result of an industrial injury or disease.

You could qualify for a pension based on both your own National Insurance contributions record and your spouse or civil partner’s record, if that would give you a higher state pension. For further details contact the Pension Service on 0845 6060 265.

The official online source of government information on benefits is GOV.UK.


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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Rooi said on 18 April 2014

Reading the article regarding grants/payments available when my partner eventually passes from dementia and after caring for her on a pittance for 9 years or so far I find that funds are only extended if you are under retirement age. So the more likely you are to die the less you get,,,,,DWP strikes again

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Page last reviewed: 13/06/2012

Next review due: 13/06/2014

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