Government financial support for the bereaved: what are you entitled to?

When you lose someone close to you, such as a family member or spouse, so much will be going through your mind that it’ll be hard to stay on top of things. One of those things that so often slips people’s minds is looking into the government financial support for the bereaved.

There’s so much to think about beyond just choosing the right funeral directors, organising flowers and supporting other family members. Throw in the grief you’ll no doubt be experiencing and there are bound to be things you forget to sort. But there are a few benefits that you could be entitled to, which just might help with the financial implications of losing someone.

Funeral expenses payment

Funerals aren’t cheap and it’s hard to be prepared for such an expense. However, it’s possible to get government support to help cover some of the costs if:

  • you already get certain benefits or tax credits
  • you meet the rules when it comes to your relationship with the person who’s passed away
  • you’re arranging a funeral in the UK, the European Economic Area or Switzerland

Bereavement allowance

Previously known as Widow’s Pension, you’re eligible for Bereavement Allowance weekly payments for up to a year if:

  • your spouse or civil partner died before 6 April 2017
  • you were 45 or over when they died
  • you’re below State Pension age
  • they paid National Insurance contributions or died following an industrial accident or disease

There’s also a War Widow(er) Pension for if you lost your partner as a result of them serving in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces or during a war.

Bereavement payment

This is a one-off, tax-free payment of a £2,000 lump sum, which you’re eligible for if:

  • your spouse or civil partner died on or after 6 April 2017
  • you’re below State Pension age
  • you’re over State Pension age, but your partner wasn’t entitled to a State Pension due to their National Insurance contributions
  • your spouse or civil partner either paid National Insurance contributions or died following an industrial accident or disease

Bereavement support payment

If your spouse or civil partner died on or after 6 April 2017, you can get an initial payment of either £2,500 or £3,500, followed by up to 18 monthly payments of £100 or £350. You’re eligible if:

  • your partner paid National Insurance contributions for a minimum of 25 weeks
  • they died as a result of a work-related accident or disease
  • you were under State Pension age when they died and living in the UK (or any other country that pays bereavement benefits)

Widowed parent’s allowance

If you’re bringing up children and end up losing your partner, you could be entitled to up to £117.10 a week in support money. You’re eligible if:

  • your spouse or civil partner died before 6 April 2017
  • you’re below the State Pension age
  • you’ve received child benefit for at least one child belonging to your partner
  • your partner paid National Insurance contributions or died as a result of an industrial accident or disease
  • your husband or civil partner dies while you are pregnant

Child Benefit if a child or parent dies

You’ll receive financial support for eight weeks after the death of your child, if they’re under the age of 20. You may also receive Child Benefit if a child or children lose one or both parents and you become the main carer. You may also be able to get Guardian’s Allowance on top of this.

It’s tough enough dealing with the loss of someone close to you, so don’t miss out on any of the support you can get.