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Benefits available after a death

The time after a death is the worst time to have to deal with leaflets and forms. This page tells you about benefits you might be able to claim and how any benefits you already receive could be affected.

You will need to inform the Department for Work and Pensions that the person claiming benefits has died. The Registrar will explain the Tell Us Once service with you and complete Tell Us Once with you, or provide a reference number so you can complete this yourself online or by phone using the number provided by the Registrar. 

Bereavement Support Payment

If your married or civil partner died on or after 6 April 2017 you may be able to claim Bereavement Support Payment. If you were co-habiting with a partner, who was not your married or civil partner, at the time of their death and you have responsibility for children you may also be able to claim Bereavement Support Payment. 

It is not means-tested, and you can claim whether you are in or out of work. Any savings/capital you may have does not affect your payment. 

You may be eligible if: 

  • you are under state pension age when your partner died
  • your partner paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks during their lifetime, or died because of an accident at work or a disease caused by work 

How to make a claim for Bereavement Support Payment

Contact the Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 151 2012 to claim over the phone or ask for form BSP1 to be posted to you. You can also make a claim online at Bereavement Support Payment - how to claim or download a Bereavement Support Payment claim form to fill in and post. 

How much can you receive

If you have children, you will receive a lump sum of £3,500 and up to 18 monthly payments of £350. If you do not have children, you will receive a lump sum of £2,500 and up to 18 monthly payments of £100.

You must claim within three months to be paid the full amounts. You can claim up to 21 months after their death but the number of payments you receive will be reduced.

Bereavement Support Payments and other benefits 

The initial lump sum payment of Bereavement Support Payment does not affect your other benefits for the first year after it is paid. Each monthly payment is also ignored as income so does not affect your means-tested benefits. 

Addition information for co-habiting families

Following a change in the law from 9 February 2023, Bereavement Support Payment will treat your claim in the same way regardless of your marital status. You should make a claim in the usual way.

If your partner died between 30 August 2018 and 9 February 2023, you must claim Bereavement Support Payment within 12 months of 9 February 2023. You must make a new claim within this 12 month period even if you have previously claimed and were turned down, or you claimed and have made an appeal. You will receive the full amount of your entitlement if you claim within the 12 month period.

If your partner died before 30 August 2018 our Welfare Rights Service can advise on your individual situation.

Funeral expenses payment

If you receive any of the following qualifying benefits you might be able to get a payment for funeral expenses from the Social Fund:

  • Income Support 
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance 
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Housing Benefit 
  • Pension Credit 
  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit that includes a disability or severe disability element 
  • Child Tax Credit (at a rate greater than the family element)

You must also have a certain relationship to the person who has died:

  • their spouse or civil partner or co-habiting partner, or 
  • they were a child you were responsible for, or 
  • a close relative or close friend and it is reasonable for you to accept responsibility for the funeral costs.

You must claim within six months of the funeral.

Making a claim to help with funeral costs

Contact the Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 151 2012 to claim over the phone or ask for form SF200 to be posted to you. You can also download form SF200 from Get help with funeral costs to fill in and post. 

Universal Credit and Pension Credit 

You may be able to get Universal Credit to top up a low income if you are of working age. Both working people and those who are not working can claim Universal Credit. You must have savings/capital of less than £16,000 to qualify for Universal Credit. If you have not claimed on time you can ask for your benefit to be backdated for up to one month in some circumstances. 

If you are of pensionable age you may need to claim Pension Credit to top up a low income. If you have not claimed on time you can ask for your benefit to be backdated for up to three months. 

Housing costs

Help with mortgage payments 

Some people can qualify for help with mortgage interest if you qualify for certain benefits, but this help is in the form of a loan that must be repaid when the house is sold.  

Help with rent 

The housing element of Universal Credit, or Housing Benefit if you receive Pension Credit, might help towards paying your rent. 

Council Tax 

You may get a Council Tax discount of 25% if your partner has died and you are now the only adult living in the property. Depending on your circumstances you may get a further reduction in the form of Council Tax Reduction if your savings/capital are less than £16,000. If you receive Pension Guarantee Credit you may qualify for Council Tax Benefit even if your savings/capital are above this amount.

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