When you lose someone close to you the last thing on your mind will be claiming benefits. You will be grieving and finding it hard enough to get your head around planning the funeral and subsequently moving on without your loved one – to think of anything else, especially money.

However, money may become an issue and if it does you will have the added stress of trying to keep a roof over your head and food on the table as well as dealing with the loss of your partner or spouse.

Perhaps they were the breadwinner and suddenly that income is gone and/or maybe you are going to struggle to find the money to pay for a funeral?

While benefit aren’t going to bring your loved one back, they will help you get through this difficult period, financially. They will offer some sort of comfort when you need it the most. And they will make this difficult time that little bit easier.

So, what are you entitled to?

If your husband, wife or civil partner has died you may be entitled to bereavement benefits but each scheme has certain criteria, which you must match in order to claim. It is also important to note here that claiming this may affect any other benefits you claim, particularly those related to work and income.

Bereavement Payment: This is a one-off, tax-free payment of £2000. The deceased must have paid enough National Insurance contributions for you to be able to claim this.

You can’t get this payment if you were divorced, you’re living with another person as husband, wife or civil partner or you’re in prison.

Bereavement Allowance: You can apply for this allowance, previously known as the Widow’s Pension, if you are over 45 but not yet at the State Pension age.

This allowance is subject to tax and will be paid to you for up to 52 weeks after the date of your spouse’s death. You must make this claim within three months of the death, as it can only be backdated this far.

The amount you get depends on the overall level of your husband, wife or civil partner’s NI contributions and you age at their time of death. This could be anywhere between £33.77 a week and £112.55 a week. The older you are, the more you will get.

Again, there are times you can’t claim including if you remarry or form a new civil partnership or if you got divorced before their death.

Widowed Parent’s Allowance: You need to be a parent with at least one child dependent on you and eligible for child benefit. This pays an allowance of up to £112.55 a week, is subject to tax – and is worked out based on how much NI your partner paid.

If you are bringing up children you would claim this over the bereavement allowance. You may also be able to claim if you’re pregnant and your husband has died.

Other benefits: There are no bereavement benefits available if you were living together but weren’t married or in a civil partnership. But, there are other benefits you can apply for such as Income Support or Universal Credit.

If you aren’t sure what you are entitled to, take a look at the Money Advice Service where you can find more information as well as helpful advice when it comes to paying for the funeral.

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