Help following a bereavement

Losing a husband, wife or civil partner is a difficult time that many people are unprepared for, but if you find yourself in this situation you may be able to claim bereavement benefits to ease some of the financial stress. 

The bereavement benefit is called Bereavement Support Payment. Eligibility depends on if your partner has paid national insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks or died following an industrial injury. You must be under the pensionable age when they died and make a claim within three months of the death to get the full amount. 

Bereavement Support Payments are paid at two levels: 

  • Higher rate - paid to pregnant women or if you are eligible for child benefit. 

    You will receive a monthly payment of £350 for 18 months following the death and a one off payment of £3,500 during the first month.

  • Standard rate - paid to everyone else. 

    You will get a monthly payment of £100 for 18 months following the death and a one off payment of £2,500 during the first month.

To make a claim you should contact the Bereavement Service Helpline on 0345 606 0265. Making a claim won’t affect your benefits for 12 months after your first payment and you may be entitled to help via other benefits towards your household costs. 

Another concern you may have is around the cost of the funeral. Recent figures show that a funeral arranged using a funeral director costs on average £3,675. 

There is help available through a funeral expenses payment if you are in receipt of particular benefits and are a particular relation to the deceased. However, it is unlikely any payment will cover the full cost of the funeral.

The payment can cover: 

  • Burial/cremation fees and exclusive rights to burial in a particular, including the cost of the doctor’s certificate
  • Travel to attend the funeral
  • The cost of moving the body within the UK, if it’s being moved more than 50 miles
  • Death certificates and other documents 

The amount of help you will get will depend on your circumstances and any money available through insurances policies or the deceased’s estate. 

You must make a claim for a funeral expenses payment within three months of the date of the funeral by contacting the Bereavement Service Helpline.

If you would like any further advice or support on claiming benefits following a bereavement, please contact the Midland Heart Money Advice Team on 0345 60 20 540.

Written by Danielle Blackwood, Money Adviser at Midland Heart

21st September 2018 | 2018