26 November 2018

Bereavement benefits and other help

3 min read

 

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If you're recently bereaved you may be worried about how you’ll manage financially.

While you’re finding your feet there may be benefits, grants or other financial support available which can help you through this difficult time.

Bereavement payments

If your wife, husband or civil partner died on or after 6 April 2017 and you were under State Pension age you may be entitled to Bereavement Support Payment. This provides a lump sum plus up to 18 monthly payments. There are two rates and the amount you get depends on if you are entitled to Child Benefit. The gov.uk website has details of how to apply.

Help paying for a funeral

If you or your partner receive certain state benefits, you may be entitled to a Funeral Expenses Payment and/or a Budgeting Loan.

You can apply for a Funeral Expenses Payment if you’re responsible for paying for someone’s funeral. It can help towards the cost but it’s unlikely to cover everything – the average award in 2017/18 was £1,461. The Funeral Expenses Payment isn’t usually repayable. However, if the deceased left behind money or other assets these may have to be used to pay back any payment you received.

A Budgeting Loan (or a Budgeting Advance if you receive Universal Credit) is a loan paid on top of your benefits to help towards certain costs, including funeral expenses. You can apply for it in addition to a Funeral Expenses Payment if this isn’t enough to cover the full funeral costs. As it’s a loan, you have to pay it back but you don’t have to pay interest on it. The amount you get varies depending on whether you are single (up to £348), part of a couple (up to £464) or claim Child Benefit (up to £812) and also on your ability to repay. The average budgeting loan in 2017/18 was £408.

Other state benefits

When you lose a partner or someone else who helped pay the bills, it can often result in a sharp fall in your household income. Depending on your new situation you might be entitled to certain state benefits and tax credits. There are various benefits calculators that can help you find out what benefits you may be entitled to and how to claim these.

Help with housing costs

Housing costs account for a large part of most people’s income. If your household income has now fallen you might be eligible for housing benefit (housing payment if you’re eligible for Universal Credit) or a reduction in your Council Tax from your local authority.

Full Council Tax is based on at least two adults living in a home. If you lose a loved one and find yourself either living on your own or with no other adult in your household you’re entitled to a 25% cut in your Council Tax bill regardless of your income.

Other grants and help

Financial hardship is not unusual after bereavement and there are a number of organisations that offer grants and special schemes to help while you sort out your finances. These include local groups in the community and help from energy companies with utility bills. You can find out more about these schemes on the Turn2us website.