There are various benefits that you may be eligible to receive when someone dies, including Bereavement Support Payment and Funeral Expenses Payment. If the deceased had a life insurance policy, you might be able to claim on that and you might also receive a proportion of a workplace or private pension, depending on how it was set up.

Bereavement Support Payment

You may be able to get Bereavement Support Payment if your husband, wife or civil partner died in the last 21 months. This benefit has replaced various other bereavement benefits, including Bereavement Allowance, which was previously known as Widow’s Pension.

To get the full amount, you must claim within three months of your partner’s death. However, you have up to 21 months after their death to claim, but you’ll get fewer monthly payments.

Eligibility to receive Bereavement Support Payment

You could be eligible if your partner:

  • died because of an accident at work or a disease caused by work
  • paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks in one tax year since 6 April 1975.

When they died, you must have been under State Pension age and living in the UK.

To claim Bereavement Support Payment, go to GOV.UK, which explains how to claim  together with information on how much you’ll get each month  and other essential advice.

Help with funeral costs

Funeral Expenses Payment, which is also known as Funeral Payment, is available if you are arranging a funeral in the UK, the European Economic Area or Switzerland. With this financial support, you:

  • get certain benefits or tax credits
  • meet the rules on your relationship with the deceased.

It is used to help pay for a funeral you are arranging. The money you receive will be deducted from any money you get from the deceased’s estate.

To find out more about what you’ll get, what benefits you need to be receiving and how to make a claim, go to the Funeral Expenses Payment pages on GOV.UK .

Claiming on a life insurance policy

Making a life insurance claim may feel very uncomfortable and paperwork that you can do without, especially if you are organising the funeral and managing your loved one’s estate.

Fortunately, most life insurance providers will support your tactfully through the process and it’s a reasonably uncomplicated set of steps.

Payouts will only go to the beneficiaries named in the life insurance policy. There isn’t a time limit to make a claim, but it’s worthwhile going through the process sooner rather than later.

  1. Read the life insurance policy to find out which life insurance provider holds it. Use the Association of British Insurers (ABI)  for contact details if they are out of date on the policy. If the insurance provider no longer exists, Policy Detective  should be able to help you find out who holds it now.
  2. Gather together the relevant documents to make the life insurance claim. As a minimum, you will need the death certificate and the life insurance policy document itself, especially the policy number. You may also need medical information from a GP or consultant.
  3. Get in touch with the life insurance provider, who will talk you through the details they need from you. They will also send you their claim form or give you a link to download it from their website.
  4. Fill in the claim form and provide the required documents to support your claim. You will usually need to send the original death certificate and the policy document, if you have it. You will then receive notification as to when you’ll get a decision.

Pensions after death

What happens to a pension after death depends on what types of pension(s) you receive.

  • State Pension: this is usually stopped when you die, although a partner can inherit some of your pension under certain circumstances. Use this GOV.UK tool  to find out if this applies to you.
  • Workplace and private pensions: what happens to these types of pension after you die depends on the type of pension you have. If you are in doubt as to what type of pension(s) you have, check with an independent financial adviser.

What happens to benefits when someone dies?

When someone dies, you will have to let the government know as their benefits won’t stop automatically. When you register the death, the registrar will complete the government’s Tell Us Once  service with you or give you a unique reference number to use the service.

By using this service, you will be able to report a death to most government organisations at once, including the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and local council to cancel a Blue Badge or any Housing Benefit.

Related pages

  • Carers' rights at work: carers have legal rights at work, including compassionate leave, flexible working and protection from discrimination.
  • Coping with bereavement: a collection of articles about dealing with grief and how to look after yourself and others.
  • What to do when someone dies: we lead you by the hand through each step of what to do after someone has died, from obtaining a death certificate to arranging a funeral.

The EPiC Resource Centre is kindly sponsored by Cleenol: working for a cleaner, safer, kinder world.