Bereavement benefits

Bereavement benefits can be paid to someone whose husband, wife or civil partner has died. These benefits depend on how much National Insurance the person who has died paid.

Bereavement benefits are changing and will be replaced with a single benefit called Bereavement Support in April 2017. For the most up-to-date information, contact a welfare rights adviser.

The following bereavement benefits are currently available:

  • A tax-free bereavement payment of £2,000 at the time of your husband, wife or civil partner’s death. This may be available if they paid enough National Insurance. You can claim this if you were under State Pension age when they died, or if they weren’t entitled to a State Pension based on their National Insurance.
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance of £112.55 a week. This is a taxable benefit for widows or widowers, under State Pension age, who are bringing up a child for whom they are getting Child Benefit. It is paid for as long as you have children or young adults for whom Child Benefit is payable.
  • A Bereavement Allowance. This is for widows, widowers or civil partners who are aged 45 and over, but under State Pension age. The payments range from £33.77 to £104.67 a week, depending on your age and when your spouse or civil partner died. This is a taxable benefit paid for up to one year only.

The government is planning to make changes to the benefit cap for some people who get bereavement benefits. You may also be able to get help towards funeral costs if you get certain benefits. Speak to a welfare rights adviser for advice.

In Scotland, some unmarried partners may be able to get bereavement benefits.

In Scotland, there used to be a type of marriage called ‘cohabitation with habit and repute’. This referred to couples who lived together and were thought to be married. This type of marriage was abolished on 4 May 2006. If your relationship was established before this date, you are still considered married for bereavement benefit purposes.

How to claim

Details of how to claim bereavement benefits are on a BD8 form. You will be given this form by the registrar when your partner’s death is registered. If there is an inquest, the coroner can also give you this information.

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