Death and benefits

Stationery With Stacks Of CoinsDeath of a loved one can become even more difficult because of some of the financial costs. There are a number of benefits that you can claim which may help.

Paying for the funeral

If you are responsible for organising the funeral and you struggle with paying the expenses because of your low income, you may be able to apply for Funeral Payment. It can help you to cover most of the costs such as burial fees, cremation fees, funeral director’s fees, and the cost of the coffin. However, the amount of money you will receive depends on your circumstances. For example, if the deceased had a pre-paid funeral plan, you cannot claim for expenses covered by that plan. To be eligible, you need to apply for Funeral Payment no later than three months from the date of the funeral, have a specific relationship with the deceased, and receive certain benefits or tax credits.

Losing a spouse or a civil partner

There is a range of benefits available for people who lost their husband, wife or a civil partner.

Bereavement Payment

Bereavement Payment is a one-off, tax free, lump sum payment of £2000 that you might be able to claim if your deceased partner was paying National Insurance contributions or the death was caused by their job. However, you will not be able to claim if your partner was entitled to Category A State Retirement Pension at the time of death, or if you are above the State Pension age, which you can find out by using the State Pension calculator provided by GOV.UK. Your entitlement to other benefits should usually stay unaffected.

Bereavement Allowance

If you lost your partner, and you are above the age of 45 but you have not reached your State Pension age, you can apply for Bereavement Allowance. It is a weekly benefit paid for 52 weeks from the date of the death. The rate depends on the deceased’s National Insurance contributions and on how old you are at the time of their death; the older you are and the more your partner had been contributing, the higher rate you should get. To be able to claim, your partner must have been paying National Insurance contributions, or must have died as a result of an industrial accident or disease. Moreover, you are not eligible if you are still bringing up children, of if you are above the State Pension age.

Widowed Parent’s Allowance

If you are widowed before reaching the State Pension age and still have dependent children, or you were pregnant when your husband or partner died, you can claim the Widowed Parent’s Allowance. It is paid on a weekly rate, and the amount depends on the deceased’s National Insurance contributions, which cannot exceed £111.20. You can get it as long as you are eligible for Child Benefit.

War Widow(er) Pension

If your spouse or a civil partner died during while serving in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces before 6 April 2005 or during a time of war, you might be able to claim War Widow(er) Pension. It is a tax-free benefit paid, on a regular basis, straight on to your bank account.

You are not eligible for Bereavement Payment, Bereavement Allowance or Widowed Parent’s Allowance if, at the time of their death, you were remarried, had a new civil partner or were living with another person as if you were married or in a civil relationship. You also cannot claim these benefits if you are in prison at the time of their death, no matter the reason for your imprisonment.

Losing a child

Child Benefit

After the death of your child, you can still claim Child Benefit for until 8 weeks after the death. Moreover, if you have not applied yet, you can still send a claim form after the date of death. However, if your child would have turned 20 in these 8 weeks, the benefits will stop at that point. Remember that is your responsibility to inform the Child Benefit Office about the death of the child for whom you were receiving child benefit.

If you became a main carer for a child or children whose parents have died, you may make a new claim for Child Benefit. However, it is crucial that you report the death to the Child Benefit Office.

Becoming a carer for a child of the deceased

Guardian’s Allowance

If you are responsible for bringing up a child, where one or both of the parents have died, you can apply for Guardian’s Allowance. If your claim successful, you will get a weekly, tax-free £16.35 per child on top of the Child Benefit.

Acting as a carer for a person who has died

Carer’s Allowance

If you were receiving Carer’s Allowance at the time of the death of a person that you were looking after, your benefits should usually be paid for the next 8 weeks from the Sunday after their death. However, if you were over 65 at the time of the death and you were entitled to Carer’s Allowance (previously Invalid Care Allowance), you will still continue to receive Carer’s Allowance, even after the 8 weeks have passed.

It is important to know that as a carer you need to notify the authorities of the person for whom they were paying benefits, namely the Department for Work and Pensions, HRMC and local council.

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