Claiming bereavement benefits – what are you entitled to?

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If you’ve lost your husband, wife or civil partner, you may be entitled to to some bereavement benefits. These are changing in April. Find out about claiming bereavement benefits – and how these are changing.

Claiming bereavement benefits

There are several different bereavement benefits available to you if you live in England, Scotland or Wales. Whether you’re entitled to any of them will depend on how much National Insurance your husband or civil partner has paid. Not on your (or their) income.

SAVVY TIP: When you’re claiming bereavement benefits, if you ring up to make a claim you will be asked your husband, wife or civil partner’s National Insurance number so that the office can work out if he or she has made enough NI payments. There’s information about National Insurance numbers on the Gov.uk website.

I’ve decided to concentrate on claiming the three most important benefits: Bereavement Allowance, Bereavement Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance.

Bereavement Support Payment

You’ll get an initial payment, then up to 18 monthly payments. If you reach state pension age while you’re receiving Bereavement Support Payment, it will stop.

You can claim Bereavement Support Payment if your partner was under state pension age when they died and lived in the UK, or in a country that pays bereavement benefits. They must also have:

  1. Paid National Insurance for at least 25 weeks OR 
  2. Died in a work-related accident or because of a disease caused by their work.
  3. The amount you get depends on whether you get Child Benefit. If you are registered for Child Benefit (even if you don’t actually receive a payment) you could get the higher rate. In the tax year 2018-19 it is a one-off payment of £3,500 and up to 18 monthly payments of £350. The lower rate is a one-off payment of £2,500 and up to 18 monthly payments of £100.

SAVVY TIP:  The benefit can only be backdated in full for up to three months from the date of your husband, wife or civil partner’s death. If you put your claim in between three and 21 months after your husband, wife or civil partner died, you’ll still receive the benefit, but not necessarily your full entitlement.

You cannot claim this benefit if:

  1. You were divorced from your husband or your civil partnership had dissolved at the time of their death.
  2. You remarried or you were living with someone else. Even if the relationship later fails during the 52 weeks that Bereavement Allowance is paid for, you’re still not able to claim.
  3. You were living with your partner at the time of his or her death and were not married or in a civil partnership.

How to claim: There’s more information about how to claim Bereavement Support Allowance on the government’s Gov.uk website.

Where to go for help:

A useful place to start for information on death and benefits the government’s Gov.uk website.

If you want help with bereavement benefits, get in touch with a charity such as Age UK or a specialist charity such as Macmillan, which helps relatives of those who have or have had cancer as well as people diagnosed with the disease. It has a telephone advice line on 0808 808 0000, which is open Monday to Friday. It will give you advice tailor made to your circumstances. You can also find out about benefits and bereavement on the Citizens Advice website.

Useful Links: Find a list of independent funeral directors on the SavvyWoman directory.

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