We all need support after the death of someone close. Bereavement benefits provide extra money to ease the financial strain after the death of a spouse or civil partner. You can get support even if you’re not on a low income. From April 2017, a new benefit Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) replaces three benefits: Bereavement Payment, Bereavement Allowance and Widowed Parents Allowance. BSP has been introduced for new claims relating to a death on or after 6 April 2017. If your spouse or civil partner died before 6 April 2017, you should make a claim under the old system.
What happens if I’m already receiving bereavement benefits?
If you’re already claiming bereavement benefits you will continue to receive them. You don’t need to do anything.
Bereavement Support Payment (BSP)
BSP is available to anyone under State Pension age whose husband, wife or civil partner has made enough National Insurance (NI) contributions. It provides a one-off lump sum followed by up to 18 monthly payments. BSP isn’t means-tested and all payments are tax free. There are two rates of support:
- if you have dependent children, you’ll receive a £3,500 lump sum and a £350 monthly payment
- if you have no dependents, you’ll get a £2500 lump sum and £100 monthly payment.
You’ll receive a maximum of 18 payments if you claim within three months of the death. If you claim after that, the number of payments will be reduced.
Bereavement Allowance is a weekly payment, made for up to a year after the death of your husband, wife or civil partner. You should claim within three months of their death. The exact rate you get depends on your age. See this website for more information. You may be eligible if:
- at the time of your spouse or civil partner’s death, you were over 45 but under State Pension age
- your spouse or civil partner paid enough NI contributions, or died as the result of an industrial accident or disease
- you don’t have dependent children – if you do, you should claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance instead.
Widowed Parent’s Allowance
You may get Widowed Parent’s Allowance (WPA) if all the following apply:
- your husband, wife or civil partner died before 6 April 2017
- you’re under State Pension age
- you’re entitled to Child Benefit for at least one child and your late husband, wife or civil partner was their parent
- your late husband, wife or civil partner paid National Insurance contributions, or they died as a result of an industrial accident or disease
You may also claim WPA if you’re pregnant and your husband has died, or you’re pregnant after fertility treatment and your civil partner has died.
If your husband, wife or civil partner died on or after 6 April 2017 you may be eligible for Bereavement Support Payment instead.
If you need help to pay for a funeral, you may be eligible for a loan from the Social Fund or a funeral payment.