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When your partner passes away and you’re worried about how to cope with the funeral costs it may help to know that you may be able to get some financial support from the government. Learn more about the bereavement support payment below and see if you’re eligible to make a claim.

What is the bereavement support payment?

The bereavement support payment is financial help offered by the UK government when your partner passes away.

It used to be called bereavement allowance. You may have also known it as widow’s pension or widowed parent’s allowance. But these have all been replaced by the bereavement support payment to help people who’ve lost their partners.

Who is eligible for bereavement support payment?

You can get the bereavement support payment from the government if your husband, wife, or civil partner passed away in the last 21 months. 

Update: In 2023, the government updated the eligibility criteria for the bereavement support payment so that co-habiting parents can get financial help if their partner passes away too. You could be eligible if you lived with your partner and had children together or are pregnant with your partner's child. 

You’ll be eligible if: 

  • Your partner paid national insurance for a minimum of 25 weeks in one tax year since 6 April 1975. 
  • Or if your partner passed away due to an accident or illness caused by work. 

 
To get the bereavement support payment you must also be under the state pension age and living in the UK (or a country that offers bereavement benefits) at the time your partner passed away. 

You could get more help

Due to the updated eligibility criteria made in 2023, you may also be entitled to backdated payments if you were living with your partner, and they died before 5th April 2017. The deadline to get the full amount of backdated bereavement support payments has now passed. But you can still apply up until 8th November 2024 to see if you can get some of the payments backdated. Check your eligibility on the government website.

You can’t get the bereavement support payment if you’re in prison.

Can you still make a claim if your partner died more than 21 months ago?

You’ll only be able to make a claim for the bereavement support payment in this case if your partner’s cause of death was not confirmed until more than 21 months later. If you think this may apply to you get in touch with the Bereavement Service Helpline on 0800 151 2012 for more info and next steps.

How much is the bereavement support payment?

There are 2 rates for the bereavement support payment depending on your circumstances. No matter which rate applies to you, make sure you make a claim within 3 months of your partner passing away. Otherwise you may get fewer monthly payments.

Higher rate
Initial payment Monthly payments You’ll get this rate if:
£3,500 £350 You’re pregnant when your partner passed away.

 

You get child benefit.

Or you’re eligible for child benefit and don’t receive it.

Lower Rate
Initial payment Monthly payments You’ll get this rate if:
£2,500 £100 You don’t receive and are not eligible for child benefit.

 

How long do you get bereavement support payment for?

The first payment will be paid within the first month after you make your claim. Then the monthly payments will continue for 18 months as long as you made your claim within 3 months of your partner passing away.

Is the bereavement support payment means tested?

No. Applications for the bereavement support payment are not means tested. This means that the payment you get won’t be affected by your savings or how much money you earn.

Does the bereavement support payment affect universal credit?

It won’t affect your universal credit or any other benefits you get for a year after you get your first instalment.

But after the year is up any money you have left over from the first installment could be taken into account for any means tested benefits you get.

These means tested benefits include:

  • Universal credit
  • Tax credits
  • Income support
  • Incapacity benefit
  • Carer’s allowance
  • Employment and support allowance
  • Jobseeker’s allowance


Keep in mind that anything you have leftover from the bereavement support payment after 12 months could be considered as savings. So check the current savings limit for means tested benefits once you’ve stopped receiving the bereavement support payments. It could have an impact on your benefits.

Is the bereavement support payment taxable?

No. The bereavement support payment is tax free.

How to claim bereavement support payment

Apply for bereavement support payment online, by post or by calling the Bereavement Service Helpline on 0800 151 2012.

To make a claim you’ll need:

  • The date your partner passed away
  • Your partner’s national insurance number
  • Your national insurance number
  • Your bank account details


To apply by post you can either download the forms online or get in touch with your nearest JobCentre Plus. They can send you one through the post if you can’t print it off at home.

Still worried about money?

You may be able to get additional support from the government or other organisations after the death of a loved one. This could go some way to helping you cover funeral costs so that you can remember them in the way you’d like. Read our guide on how to get help with funeral costs for more info.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash.