Bereavement: what benefits would you get?

 Government support and what YOU can do to protect your family

1. Bereavement Support Payment was introduced in April 2017, replacing the more generous previous system.

2. You qualify for Bereavement Support Payment if your husband, wife or civil partner dies and the deceased either had paid at least 25 weeks’ National Insurance contributions or died from a work-related disease or accident.

3. You also need to have been under State Pension Age when they died and you have to be living in the UK or another country which pays bereavement benefits.

4. What’s vital is that you DON’T get Bereavement Support Payment if you weren’t married but were cohabiting. However, after a court case in 2018 – see here – there are hopes this will be changed in the future.

5. There are two elements to Bereavement Support Payment: an initial payment and monthly ones. The initial payment is £3,500 and the monthly payments are £350. The monthly payments are made for 18 months.

6. You can claim Bereavement Support Payment within three months of your spouse’s death (you can do it up to 21 months after they died but you might get less). Apply to the government via this link: you’ll need to print out a form which then needs handing into your local Jobcentre Plus or posting to the address given in the link.

7. These payments are, obviously, useful. But they aren’t enough to live on. So it’s best to make your own provision too.

8. First of all, check your other half’s pension scheme. You should get a survivor’s pension if they had a workplace pension scheme: this is usually half of what the pension would have been had they survived. If you were cohabiting, this won’t happen automatically – and you’ll have had to have been named by your partner as a beneficiary.

9. Check you both have life cover. You might have cover as part of your workplace pensions. But if you’ve got a mortgage and/or children, then you should think about taking out standalone life cover.

10. Life cover is cheap. If you’re young and non-smoking, you can get £100,000 of cover for around £10 a month. You’ll usually be covered for 25 years which ties in with a typical mortgage term. Use a comparison site such as MoneySuperMarket* or Go Compare to check out the best deals.


More stuff: 

  • See what to do about a deceased person’s pension at the Money Advice Service here.
  • Our guide here explains why you need life cover.
  • How to claim bereavement support from the government is detailed here

Last updated 24 September 2018.