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. It is best to write to the office that pays the benefit the person received.
Bereavement Support Payment
If your spouse or civil partner died on or after 6 April 2017 you may be able to claim Bereavement Support Payment. It is not means-tested and you can claim whether you are in or out of work. You can claim up to 21 months after their death.
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 or died because of an accident at work or a disease caused by work
How much can you receive
If you have children, a lump sum of £3,500 and up to 18 monthly payments of £350. If you do not have children, a lump sum of £2,500 and up to 18 monthly payments of £100.
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.
Bereavement Support Payment for co-habiting families
Bereavement Support Payment is generally only available to claim if you were married or in a civil partnership with the partner who has died. However, if you have children and were co-habiting with your partner, you should still make a claim for Bereavement Support Payment. There has been a recent High Court decision which means you might be entitled to this benefit, and so you should appeal if you are turned down. The Welfare Rights Service can help you with this.
How to make a claim for Bereavement Support Payment
Contact the Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 731 0469.
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 cohabiting partner, or
- they were a child you were responsible, or
- a close relative or close friend and it is reasonable for you to accept responsibility for the funeral costs.
Making a claim to help with funeral costs
To claim contact the Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 731 0469 and ask for form SF200.
Universal Credit and Pension Credit
You may be able to get Universal Credit to top up a low income if you are working age. Both working people and those who are not working can claim Universal Credit. You must have savings of less than £16,000 to qualify for Universal Credit.
If you are state pension age you may need to claim Pension Credit rather than Universal Credit. If you have not claimed on time you can ask for your benefit to be backdated for up to three months.
Help with mortgage payments
Some people can qualify for help with mortgage interest payments, but the 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.
Help with 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 are less than £16,000. If you receive the Guarantee Credit of Pension Credit you may qualify for Council Tax Benefit even if your savings are above this amount.