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Widow's pension and bereavement support

This Which? guide explains what state pension you're entitled to if you're widowed, and other allowances and payments you get for bereavement.

In this article
What support can I get when my partner dies? How much bereavement allowance will I get in 2021-22? How much is widowed parent's allowance in 2021-22?
How much is bereavement payment in 2021-22? How much is the bereavement support payment in 2021-22? Are there any other bereavement benefits?

What support can I get when my partner dies?

It's a distressing time when a partner dies, both emotionally and financially. If you're financially dependent on your partner or spouse, you may wonder how you'll be able to get by.

The government does offer some financial support to those who have lost a partner. This comes in the form of the bereavement allowance. It used to be known as the widow's pension. 

This guide explains how bereavement allowance works, and whether or not you're able to claim it. 

 

How much bereavement allowance will I get in 2021-22?

The widow’s pension, awarded to widows over age 45, was replaced by the bereavement allowance in 2001. 

Bereavement allowance has been phased out too, and has been largely replaced by the bereavement support payment.

However, if your partner died before 6 April 2017, you could be entitled to widowed parent's allowance. .

How much is widowed parent's allowance in 2021-22?

If you are raising children at the time of your partner's death, you can claim widowed parent's allowance. 

The amount you can claim depends on how much your partner paid in National Insurance. The maximum is £121.95 a week in 2021-22. 

You can claim widowed parent's allowance until you stop receiving child benefit

You can't claim widowed parent's allowance and bereavement allowance at the same time.

Find out more: Applying for probate - learn how probate works and what you need to do

How much is bereavement payment in 2021-22?

If your partner paid National Insurance contributions, their death was job-related, and you were under state pension age when they died, you may be eligible for a bereavement payment. 

This is a £2,000 tax-free lump sum. 

You can't claim bereavement payment if you were divorced when they died, you’re living with someone else or you’re in prison. 

You claim the bereavement payment in the same way as the bereavement allowance.

How much is the bereavement support payment in 2021-22?

If your partner died on or after 6 April 2017, you could qualify for a different type of benefit called the bereavement support payment.

To qualify, your partner needed to have made at least 25 weeks' worth of National Insurance contributions, or suffered a job-related death. 

You also need to be UK-based, and under the state pension age. 

The payment is made up of a one-off lump sum, and 18 monthly payments. There are two rates, as the table below shows.

You qualify for the higher rate if you're eligible for or claiming child benefit. You get the lower rate if you don't. You have three months after your partner's death to make a claim. You can claim up to 21 months after, but you'll get a lower payment.

  First lump sum Monthly payment Total payment
Higher rate £3,500 £350 £9,800
Lower rate £2,500 £100 £4,300

Are there any other bereavement benefits?

You may be able to claim funeral expenses from the Social Fund if you're claiming certain benefits including income support, pension credit, housing benefit and council-tax benefit. 

If your partner died serving in the armed forces, you may be eligible for the war widow's or war widower's pension. It is based on their pay. 

For more information on this, contact the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency.

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