Bereavement: all the benefits you may be entitled to

11 July 2022 by Robin - 14 minutes of reading time


You may have experienced the death of a loved one, and are in a period of bereavement. If this is the case, there are a some benefits and aid that you may be entitled to. This Your Benefits article will walk you through everything that you need to know.

Can I earn Bereavement Support Payments?

Your wife, husband or civil partner may have died within the last 21 months. If this is the case, you may be eligible for Bereavement Support Payments.
If you wish to receive the full amount, you may make your claim no more than 3 months following your partner’s death. The maximum amount of time to be able to claim is 21 months. However, the longer you wait, the smaller the payments will be.

You will first receive a first payment (either £3,500 or £2,500), followed by monthly payments (either £350 or £100)

Bereavement Support Payments has replaced a variety of other benefits. They include:

  • Bereavement Allowance
    • previously named Widow’s Pension
  • Bereavement Payment
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance

Am I eligible to receive Bereavement Support Payments?

You may be eligible to receive Bereavement Support Payments. This is likely the case if some conditions applied to your late partner’s situation. One of the following must have applied to them:

  • their death was due either by an accident that occurred at their work or by an illness that was due to their work
  • they paid National Insurance contributions during one tax year after 6 April 1975 for a minimum of 25 weeks

This is not all. Some conditions must apply to your situation. Indeed, when your partner died, the following must both have been true:

  • you were younger than State Pension age
  • you lived in either the United Kingdom or a country where you can be paid bereavement benefits
    • this includes countries in the European Economic Area, Switzerland or Gibraltar
Note that you if you are imprisoned, you are not eligible to claim Bereavement Support Payments.

What if my partner’s death occurred over 21 months ago?

Your wife, husband or civil partner may have died more than 21 months ago. If this is the case, do not worry. You may still be eligible for Bereavement Support Payments. However, this is under a certain condition.
Indeed, the cause of death might have been confirmed after the death of your loved one. More specifically, it must have been confirmed more than 21 months afterwards. If this is the case, you may still be eligible to receive the payments. You must contact the Bereavement Service helpline to apply.

Additionally, the death of your wife, husband or civil partner may have occurred prior to 6 April 2017. If this is the case, you may be eligible for another benefit instead. Indeed, you may be able to receive Widowed Parent’s Allowance.

How much Bereavement Support Payment can I receive?

There are two main parts to the Bereavement Support Payment. First, you will receive a single payment. Then, for a maximum of 18 months, you will receive an amount every month.
There are two rates that you may earn, the lower and higher rate. They are as follows:

Higher and lower rate of Bereavement Support Payment in 2022
Rate First single payment Subsequent monthly payments amount
Lower rate £2,500 £100
Higher rate £3,500 £350
If you earn benefits, Bereavement Support Payments will not impact them within a year upon receiving your first payment.

You may start your claim either by telephone or by post. You will mainly need 4 important information to apply:How much Bereavement Support Payment can I receive?

  • your late partner and your own National Insurance number
  • the exact date of your late partner’s death
  • the account details of your building society or bank

To apply by phone, contact the Bereavement Service helpline. To apply by post, you may fill out the Bereavement Support Payment form (BSP1) and send it to the address indicated on the form. Finally, if you are applying from outside the United Kingdom, you may contact the International Pension Centre by phone.

You may also apply online. However, the service is being tested. As such, only a daily number of applications can be processed. 

What is death in service benefit?

You may be dependent on someone who has died while being employed by a company. If this is the case, you may be able to receive death in service benefit.
Additionally, this is a benefit paid by the employer. What this means is if you are eligible, you will receive a lump sum that you will not need to pay taxes on. It will be provided by the employer of your late loved one.

Death in service is a type of insurance that needs to be signed up to. Additionally, it is sometimes linked with specific company pension schemes. As such, you will need to be signed up to the relevant pension schemes in order to be eligible for the insurance.

Can I receive death in service payment?

People dependent on someone who dies following work at their company may be eligible to receive death in service payment. Not all companies offer to sign up for this benefit. It is a kind of life protection insurance. As such, upon an individual’s death, their dependants would receive a certain amount of money.

The people that would earn the money coming from the death in service benefit would often have to be named on the insurance. Most often, the types of people that are named are family members. Examples include children and an individual’s partner.

How much does death in service pay?

Death in service typically pays a lump sum that is 2, 3 or 4 times the late individual’s salary. You may calculate the amount that you would earn with death in service yourself. To do so, first take your or your employed loved one’s salary. Then, see how many years the company pays out (typically between 2 and 4). 
Once you have both of these, multiply them together. You now have the lump sum that dependants of a deceased individual would receive.

You may not be taxed on your death in service payments. Why is this the case? This is because inheritance tax is not applicable to it. The reason for that is because your or your loved one’s employer holds it in the context of a trust.

When should I receive death in service payments?

Usually, death in service payments are paid out efficiently. Sometimes, the process is longer, and can stretch out during multiple months. However, if all the information are set up correctly, this should not necessarily be the case.
Note that this benefit is inherently linked to the company that provides it. As such, action is necessary on their end for the process to be completed and the money to be distributed.

The amount of time it takes for payments to be paid out depends on certain factors. Mainly, the kind of policy, the conditions of the death that took place, and the amount of people that would receive the benefit.

What help can I receive with funeral costs?

If you have a funeral and need to receive financial aid, you may receive a benefit. More specifically, you could receive Funeral Expenses Payment. It is also known as a Funeral Payment. In order to qualify for this benefit, you will need to be earning a qualifying benefit in order to be eligible.
If you live in Scotland, you may instead apply for Funeral Support Payment. This benefit took the place of Funeral Expenses Payment there.

Am I eligible to receive help with funeral costs with Funeral Expenses Payment?

A couple of conditions need to be true for you to earn this benefit. First, all the following must be true. You:

  • receive at least one qualifying tax credit or benefit
  • have a certain relationship with the late individual
  • are organizing the funeral to take place either in the United Kingdom, a country of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
You may not qualify for this benefit. Do not worry. There may be other help or benefits you can get, like Children’s Funeral Fund.

What tax credits or benefits do I need to receive to be eligible for Funeral Expenses Payment?What tax credits or benefits do I need to receive to be eligible for Funeral Expenses Payment?

There is a list of benefits that you or your partner must be receiving in order to be eligible for the benefit. They are as follows:

  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credit 
  • Working Tax Credit (the severe disability or disability element)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support

You may have received a Support for Mortgage Interest loan. In this case, you could still qualify for this benefit. You may have applied for these benefits but have not yet heard back from the relevant offices. You may still apply for Funeral Expenses Payments.

What relationship must I have had with the deceased individual?

Your relationship with your deceased loved one must be specific. As such, you are eligible if you:

  • were responsible for the deceased child
    • the child must either have been younger than 16 years old, or younger than 20 years old while undergoing an approved training or education)
    • you do not have to have been the parent of the child, only responsible for them
  • had a baby that was still born after a pregnancy of 24 weeks
    • you must have been a parent
  • were a close friend or close relative of the individual
  • were their partner at the time of their death

What will I receive with Funeral Expenses Payment?

Funeral Expenses Payment can help with the costs of certain funeral expenses. As such, you may be eligible to get helped financially with the following:

  • death certificates and additional relevant documents
  • expenses incurred from having to move the body to within the United Kingdom
    • the distance of travelled must be over 50 miles
  • costs of travel, to either organize or travel to the funeral
  • cremation fees
    • this includes the fees incurred by the doctor’s certificate

You may also be eligible to receive a maximum of £1,000. This is to cover any additional expenses. They might include funeral director’s fees, the coffin of the deceased, as well as flowers.

Please note that Funeral Expenses Payment will typically not cover the totality of a funeral’s costs. How much and what is covered by the benefit depends on your circumstances.

How do I claim Funeral Expenses Payment?

You may claim by phone or by post. You must do so no more than 6 months from the date of the funeral. If you are waiting for a response regarding certain benefits, do not wait. Still apply as if you were receiving said benefits.

The benefits for which you are waiting for a decision must be one of the qualifying benefits and tax credits for Funeral Expenses Payment

The funeral director may have provided you with a signed contract or an invoice. In this case, you may apply for the benefit prior to the funeral taking place. Not that the document must not be an estimate of the cost. 

To claim the benefit, contact the Bereavement Service helpline. They will be able to help you.  You may also do so by post. For this, you can download form SF200, fill it out, then post it to the address indicated on the document.

Do you disagree with a descision that was taken for your claim? In this case, contact the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. By making an appeal to them, you may be able to change the outcome of your application

What is Funeral Support Payment?

Funeral Support Payment is a benefit for those who live in Scotland. Then, you could receive help with the costs incurred by funeral costs. Additionally, either you or your funeral director may get payments to help cover funeral costs.

In order to be considered a funeral, certain things need to apply. In fact, certain ceremonies may not be considered a funeral. Then, you would not be able to receive Funeral Support Payment for it.

The amount of money you can receive with this benefit depends on your circumstances. In fact, on average, people receive £1,800 with Funeral Support Payment. However, amounts received change from person to person. 

You could be eligible for Funeral Support Payment. In order for this to be the case, a number of things need to be true. For example, you need to reside in Scotland. Additionally, you need to receive a qualifying tax credit or benefit.

Then, if you are eligible, you can apply. In fact, there are three different ways that you can apply for this benefit. First, you could apply online, by phone or by post. However, not everyone can apply online. In fact, this is the case if certain things do or do not apply to you.

What is the best method to apply?

You could apply online, by phone or by post. To apply by post, you need to fill one of two forms. In fact, this depends on the age of the person that was deceased. Then, you would be able to get the forms from the website. After this, you will find the address to send the forms to on the forms themselves. 

The reason for which there are two different forms is very simple. In fact, the age of the deceased person will change the information that you need to provide. Then, you need to fill the appropriate form.

To apply by phone, you will need to call Social Security Scotland. However, you may be a British Sign Language user. In this case, you could use the contactSCOTLAND app to do your application via video relay.

Regardless of how you apply, you will need to receive a qualifying benefit or tax credit in order to be eligible. There are a number of them. In order to see all the qualifying benefits, visit the article linked above. 

What pension may a widow receive?

You may be a widow. If this is the case, there is a variety of pensions that you may be able to receive. This is depending on the pensions that your wife, husband or civil partner were getting prior to their death.

As a widow, you may also be entitled to be receiving extra pension amounts. As said before, this depends greatly on the kind of pension that your deceased loved one was earning.

Can I earn extra amounts of pension as widow?

You may be eligible for additional amounts of pension as a widow. This is also true for National Insurance contributions. For example, your spouse or civil partner may have earned State Pension before their death. As such, you may be entitled for additional amounts of State Pension.
You may have reached State Pension age prior to 6 April 2016. If so, you may receive whatever State Pension is appropriate depending on your deceased loved ones National Insurance contributions. 
You may have reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. If so, you are likely eligible to receive ‘new State Pension’. Because of your situation, you are also likely to receive more on top of it. 

Depending on the kind of pension your deceased loved one was earning from their workplace, you may be eligible to receive a private pension. However, you may have to pay taxes on them. This depends on whether or not they are already paid by your provider.

Your deceased loved one’s death may have been caused by a war, or they may have died while serving in the Armed Forces. If this is the case, you may be eligible to receive the Widower’s or War Widow’s Pension. 

How can I claim my extra pension or pension amounts?

How you may claim your pension depends on the kind of pension you are claiming. Indeed, if you are claiming a private pension for example, you may need to contact the former worplace of your deceased loved one. For State Pension, however, you would then need to contact the Pension Service. You should be able to do so over the phone or by post.

If you wish to receive help with your administrative tasks, Your Benefits can help. Indeed, we provide a service to take care of them for you, so you do not have to worry about them anymore.
We also provide a free simulator that can calculate all of the financial aid you are entitled to. This free service adds up the total amount of benefits you could be earning for you, and gives you an estimate.
Finally, our advisers are available to help you save on all of your bills. This includes electricty, your phone bill… Do not hesitate to contact them if you wish to take advantgae of all that the site offers.

Robin is a writer for Your Benefits, writing about aids that people may be entitled to. He is currently working on his Master in journalism at the Institut Supérieur de Formation au Journalisme in Lille.

Our algorithm calculates which grants you are eligible to apply for.

Simulate your benefits