Losing your life partner can be difficult as it brings many changes at a time of grief. One of these changes can be adjusting to a lower income, but there is the support you can access to alleviate this. Your relationship status can influence what benefits you are eligible for.
Consider accessing bereavement benefits to help offer you financial security.
Bereavement Benefits for Marriage or Civil Partnership
You could qualify for the Bereavement Support Payment if your spouse or civil partner dies and you are below State Pension Age.
To qualify for Bereavement Support Payment, your spouse or partner must have made 25 years’ worth of National Insurance Contributions.
If the deceased died due to an industrial injury, their National Insurance Contributions might not be required. If you and your spouse qualified for the marriage allowance at any stage since April 2015 but didn’t claim before their death, you can claim for backdated missed payments for up to 4 years.
This payment is only valid for 18 months after your partner’s death, so it’s important to lodge a claim as soon as possible.
But there’s more:
The Bereavement Support Payment1 is paid at two different rates depending on if you are responsible for children. The Bereavement Support Payment rate is monthly payments of £350 for 18 months, or a once-off payment of £3,500 in the first month, for women who are pregnant or entitled to Child Benefit2. Anyone else is entitled to £100 monthly for 18 months, or a one-off payment during the first month of £2,500.
Did you know?
Bereavement Support Payment claims can only be backdated for 3 months. Ensure you file your claim within 3 months of your spouse or civil partner’s death to avoid losing out.
Bereavement Support Payments and Other Benefits
Your Bereavement Support Payments will not impact your other benefits for 12 months. After a year, the income from your Bereavement Support Payments will be considered for means-testing benefits, such as Tax Credits, Jobseeker’s Allowance, and Universal Credit.
The one-off payment received under the Bereavement Support program could count as savings and affect your eligibility for some means-tested benefits. This will only apply if the lump sum remains after a year and takes you over the £6,000 savings limit. This could reduce benefits such as Income Support, Housing Benefit, and Employment and Support Allowance.
Bereavement Benefits for Couples Living Together
If you were living together with your partner, but not married or in a civil partnership, you, unfortunately, can’t claim bereavement benefits. However, you can apply for Universal Credit if you are on a low income after your death.
If your partner’s death has led to a drop in your income, you may qualify for a Universal Credit to boost your income and assist with expenses like housing costs or raising children.
Some benefits will be affected by your level of savings or income, including any inheritance pushing your savings over the threshold of £16,000.
Keep in mind
Reporting the death as soon as possible can ensure you receive the benefits you qualify for. You can report the death to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) through their Tell Us Once service.
If you earn a low income and are struggling to find help with funeral costs, you can apply for Funeral Payment2. What funds you will qualify for will depend on your circumstances, but it could be as much as £1,000. This money is for funeral expenses third-party costs, such as burial or cremation fees. If the deceased has left an inheritance, you will typically be required to pay back the Funeral Payment amount received.
You might be wondering,
How Long Can I Claim Bereavement Benefits and Support Payment?
Bereavement benefits and support payments are available for a maximum of 52 weeks. If you’ve been laid off, the Department of Labor may be able to provide additional funds in addition to your Bereavement Benefit or Support Payment. You should contact them immediately if this is the case.
Got Questions? Check These First
Many people experience a loss of income when their partner dies. However, there are several support programs to assist with your financial security. These are designed to help you and your family through the difficult times following the death of a loved one.