Losing a loved one can be devastating. As well as dealing with the emotional trauma you may also 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.
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. The amount you get depends on your circumstances so you will get more if you have children who are under 16 or still in full-time education. The gov.uk website has details of how to apply.
Help paying for a funeral
You can apply for a Funeral Payment if you’re responsible for paying for someone’s funeral. It can help towards the cost of the funeral but it’s unlikely to cover everything – the average award in 2016/17 was £1,429. The Funeral 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 (known as 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 Payment if the Funeral Payment amount 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, part of a couple or have children and also on your ability to repay. The average budgeting loan in 2016/17 was £431.
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.
Written on 27 November 2017