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Bereavement Allowance

After you're widowed you may be able to claim Bereavement Allowance, a taxable weekly benefit. It is paid to you for up to 52 weeks from the date of death of your husband, wife or civil partner.

Who can claim?

You may be able to claim Bereavement Allowance if all of the following apply:

  • you're a widow, widower or surviving civil partner aged 45 or over when your husband, wife or civil partner died
  • you're not bringing up children
  • you're under State Pension age
  • your late husband, wife or civil partner paid National Insurance contributions (NICs), or they died as a result of an industrial accident or disease
  • Calculating your State Pension age

National Insurance contributions and Bereavement Allowance

When you fill in the claim form you'll be asked to give your late husband's, wife's or civil partner's National Insurance number. You will also be asked for details of their recent employment history.

This will allow the Bereavement Benefit section that deals with your claim to look into their National Insurance record. They can then work out how much - if any - Bereavement Allowance you might get.

Who can’t claim?

You can't claim Bereavement Allowance if:

  • you were divorced from your late husband or wife at the time of their death
  • your civil partnership was dissolved at the time of your civil partner's death
  • you're living with another person as if you are married to them or as if you have formed a civil partnership
  • you're in prison

If you were over State Pension age when you were widowed or became a surviving civil partner you may get extra State Pension based on the NICs of your

  • husband
  • wife
  • civil partner

If you're widowed below State Pension age and you have a dependent child you can claim Widowed Parent's Allowance. But you can't get Widowed Parent's Allowance and Bereavement Allowance at the same time.

How much do you get?

Your age at your partner or civil partner's death Maximum weekly rate (2014-2015)
45 years old £33.36
46 years old £41.14
47 years old £48.93
48 years old £56.71
49 years old £64.50
50 years old £72.28
51 years old £80.06
52 years old £87.85
53 years old £95.63
54 years old £103.42
55 years old to State Pension age £111.20

The actual amount you may get depends on:

  • the overall level of your partner or civil partner's National Insurance contributions (NICs)
  • your age at the time of his or her death

If relevant, when your Widowed Parent’s Allowance stops, and this is within 52 weeks of your bereavement, you may be able to get Bereavement Allowance. This will depend on your age at the time you were bereaved.

How Bereavement Allowance is paid

All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account. This is the safest, most convenient and efficient method of payment.

Effect on other benefits

Once you get Bereavement Allowance, your payments may change if you're already getting any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit

Your Jobs and Benefits / social security office that deals with your claim will explain how this works.

Bereavement Service

Call the Social Security Agency’s Bereavement Service, free of charge, if the person who has passed away was getting a social security benefit such as State Retirement Pension, Attendance Allowance, Employment Support Allowance or Disability Living Allowance. The Bereavement Service offers a single point of contact for reporting a death to the Social Security Agency and also offers access to other benefits that you may be entitled to.  

The Bereavement Service can be easily accessed by calling the freephone number below:

  • phone: 0800 085 2463

How to claim

You can order a Bereavement Benefits claim pack (form BB1) over the telephone from the Bereavement Benefits section. The pack also has help notes on how to complete the claim form.

Download a claim form to print off and fill in

You can also download the Bereavement Benefits claim pack (BB1)

Once you've completed the form, send it to the Bereavement Benefit section or Social Security office as soon as possible.

Claims can only be backdated three months and are dated when the office gets them, so if you delay you may lose benefit.

What to do if your circumstances change

If you remarry, or start living with someone as if married to them you will no longer qualify for Bereavement Allowance. In this case you must tell the office that deals with your payments.

  • Tell HM Revenue and Customs about a change of income or circumstance

What else you need to know

You’ll need to prove your identity when making a claim. You’ll also have to answer questions about your circumstances and show official documents to support the information.

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