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Bereavement Payment

Key information

A Bereavement Payment is a one-off payment for widows, widowers or surviving civil partners.

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age rules: You must be old enough to marry or enter into a civil partnership and must usually be below state pension age but see below for exception

Type of benefit: Non means tested

Taxable: No

Administered by: JobCentre Plus

 

Index

You can read through this information sheet, or go directly to the sections you want to read by clicking on these links:

Who does it help?

You can get a Bereavement Payment if you are below state pension age when your partner dies. However, if you are over state pension age, you may still get a Bereavement Payment if your husband, wife or civil partner was not getting category A State Retirement Pension when they died.

Bereavement Payments depend on the national insurance contributions of your husband, wife or civil partner. It does not matter if you have not paid national insurance contributions yourself. If your husband, wife or civil partner died because of an industrial injury, their national insurance contributions might not matter.

You cannot get a Bereavement Payment if you are divorced or if your civil partnership is dissolved or if you were living with someone else when your husband, wife or civil partner died.

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What help does it provide?

A Bereavement Payment is money that you can spend as you want.  It is paid into a bank, building society account or, in some cases, a post office.

A Bereavement Payment counts as capital so it may affect other means-tested benefits you get (see savings and capital for people over Pension Credit age).

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How much does it pay?

A Bereavement Payment is a one-off payment of £2,000.

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How do I make a claim?

If you are getting State Retirement Pension when your husband, wife or civil partner dies, you do not need to make a claim for a Bereavement Payment. As long as you meet the other conditions you will automatically get a Bereavement Payment when you notify the benefits office of your partner's death.

Otherwise, the one off payment must be claimed within twelve months of the death. 

In England and Wales, the DWP Bereavement Service allows you to report a death to the DWP in a single phone call. This allows you to stop any DWP benefits the person who died was getting.

At the same time, the Bereavement Service can do a benefit check to find out if you can claim any benefits and take a claim for bereavement benefits or a funeral payment over the phone.

The contact details of the DWP Bereavement Service are:
Tel: 0845 606 0265
Textphone: 0845 606 0285
Tel: 0845 606 0275 (Welsh)
Textphone: 0845 606 0295 (Welsh).

Paper Claim

Download a claim form from the Gov.UK website (link opens in a new window) or phone Jobcentre Plus for a claim form:

Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Welsh language line: 0800 012 1888

In Northern Ireland

There is a Bereavement Service in Northern Ireland which allows you to report the death of someone receiving Social Security benefits. They will then:

  • Record the date of death and notify each office that paid benefit to the deceased person
  • Offer you an eligibility check to see if you are eligible for any benefits. If you are eligible for bereavement benefits, the service can take the information for your application over the phone and forward this to the relevant office.

You can phone the service on 0800 085 2463. See the NI Direct website for more information on the Northern Ireland Bereavement Service (link opens in a new window)

Phone your local Social Security/Jobs and Benefits Office (link opens in a new window) for a claim form

Download a claim form from the NI Direct website (link opens in a new window)

Tell us once service

Many local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland also provide a 'tell us once' service for bereaved people to report a death. See the Gov.UK website for more information on the Tell us once service (link opens in a new window)

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What documents will I need?

You must give your national insurance number and your partner's as well as proof of who you are, for example, a driving licence. You may also have to supply your husband’s, wife’s or civil partner's death certificate, your marriage or civil partnership certificate or other documents to support your claim for a Bereavement Payment. However, even if you do not have this evidence, you should not delay claiming.

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Challenging decisions

If you disagree with the decision made on your benefit claim you can ask for a written statement of reasons. If you still believe the decision is wrong, for example due to incorrect information being used, you can ask for it to be looked at again, and/or appeal.

The time limits are strict, you will usually be given one month to dispute a decision, so it is important to seek advice and act quickly.

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Last updated: 7 April 2014

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