When you aren’t sure how you will cope financially after your partner dies, you may find some reassurance in bereavement support – the new name for the widow’s (or widower’s) pension. If you pass the eligibility criteria, you will receive benefits from the government for 18 months to help you through the difficult period following your death.
How does a widow’s pension work?
Rather than a widow’s pension, the government now offers a similar benefit called the Bereavement Support Payment (BSP). The benefits scheme may be appropriate for you if your spouse, civil partner, or civil partner has died, as you may be eligible to receive a lump sum followed by regular payments for up to 18 months. With the help of this money, you should be able to pay your bills and cover other necessary expenses during this trying time. The money can also tide you over while you wait to receive your pension pot if you are entitled to receive it.
Is Bereavement Support Payment available to everyone?
In order to be eligible for Bereavement Support Payment, you must have been married to the deceased or in a civil partnership with them.
Payments are based on your National Insurance contributions, and you can claim them if you have not yet reached retirement age. It is necessary for your partner to have paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks in a tax year so you can claim their contributions. Nevertheless, if they died due to an illness or accident at work, you may still be eligible even if they didn’t make any contributions.
What is the Bereavement Support Payment?
There is no means test for Bereavement Support Payments. We offer two flat-rate options, which include a lump sum payment followed by 18 monthly payments:
|Amount of the initial investment||for each monthly payment|
|Lowest rate||2,500 pounds||£100|
|at a higher rate||£3,500||£350|
If you have children to look after, you are eligible for the higher rate, which depends on whether you are eligible for Child benefits. In addition, you’ll receive a higher rate if your partner passed away while you were pregnant.
Those who lost their partner before April 2023 will receive money through the previous scheme: the bereavement allowance. You will receive different amounts depending on how old you are. As you grow older, the more money you will receive. To give you an idea of what you get, if you’re over 55 but still under State Pension age, you’d receive £121.95 a month. For somebody aged 45, it would be £36 a month.
Taxes on Bereavement Support Payments?
Taxes do not apply to Bereavement Support Payments. In addition, they aren’t counted towards the benefit cap, so you don’t need to worry about counting them to determine whether you’ll qualify for other means-tested benefits.
What is the process for claiming Bereavement Support Payments?
You should apply for Bereavement Support Payment within three months after the death of your civil partner, husband or wife to receive the full amount. Up to 21 months after the death of your loved one, you may be able to apply, but you will receive fewer monthly payments.
Claiming the payments is simple. If you would like to apply over the phone, you can call the Bereavement Service helpline or complete a form that is available on your local Jobcentre Plus website or can be sent by post.
If you need bereavement support, how long does it take?
When you’re eligible for these payments, the Department for Work and Pensions wants to get your first payment to you as soon as possible. After the first payment, your payments will continue monthly.
If you die, what happens to your bereavement support?
You will no longer receive Bereavement Support Payments if you die while you are receiving it. Your next of kin may be able to receive payments, so it may be a good idea to speak with your financial adviser or your usual contact to find out if this is possible.