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
  • Calculate your State Pension age

National Insurance contributions

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.

Change to the way HMRC collect Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs)

Class 2 NICs are paid by people who are self-employed. From the 2015/2016 tax year payment of Class 2 contributions are collected as part of the annual self-assessment tax return for the majority of self-employed people.  

It means that people who are self-employed make an annual once-only payment of Class 2 contributions when completing their self-assessment tax return. Bereavement Benefit customers may wish to contact HMRC for advice if their benefit has been reduced due to a deficit in a spouse’s or Civil Partner’s Class 2 contributions.

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 or civil partner.

If you're widowed below State Pension age and 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 Bereavement Allowance you get

Your age at your partner or civil partner's death Maximum weekly rate (2015-2016)
45 years old  £33.77
46 years old  £41.64
47 years old  £49.52
48 years old  £57.40
49 years old  £65.28
50 years old  £73.16
51 years old  £81.04
52 years old  £88.91
53 years old  £96.79
54 years old  £104.67
55 years old to State Pension age  £112.55

The actual amount you may get depends on:

  • the overall level of your partner or civil partner's 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:

Your Jobs & Benefits / Social Security office that deals with your claim will explain how this works.

Bereavement Service

Call the Department for Communities' 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 Department for Communities and also offers access to other benefits you may be entitled to.

How to claim

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

Download a form

You make a claim by printing out a claim form and filling it in. When you have filled in the form you can either:

Important: 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.

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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