View government guidance on what to do when someone dies.
If you need benefits advice, contact the welfare rights helpline, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 01629 531535 from 11am to 4pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Help with funeral costs
Support for a child's funeral costs
Bereavement Support Payment
Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) is a benefit which replaces previous bereavement support which consisted of 3 benefits: Bereavement Allowance; Widowed Parent's Allowance; and Bereavement Payment.
The Bereavement Support Payment applies to people whose spouse or Registered Civil Partner dies after 6 April 2017. You cannot make a claim if you were living with someone without being married to them or if you are not registered as their civil partner.
Who can claim
You can claim if:
- you were either married to or in a civil partnership with the person who has died
- you are under State Retirement Pension Age (if you reach pension age while BSP is payable, it will stop and you can claim your State Retirement Pension)
- you are ordinarily resident in Great Britain
- your husband, wife or civil partner had paid sufficient National Insurance Contributions – at least 25 weeks' Class 1 or Class 2 National Insurance contributions in any tax year in their working life
- if the person died as a result of an industrial accident or prescribed industrial disease, the National Insurance condition will be treated as being satisfied
How much you get
There are 2 rates of benefit - the standard rate and the higher rate. BSP is not taxable.
The higher rate is payable if:
- you were entitled to Child Benefit when your husband, wife, or civil partner died
- you start to claim Child Benefit for a child who was living with you and/or you husband, wife or civil partner when they died
- you were pregnant when your husband, wife or civil partner when they died
The higher rate will continue to be paid even if your Child Benefit stops at a later date. You will get an initial payment of £3,500 followed by up to 18 monthly instalments of £350.
The standard rate is is payable in all other cases. You'll get an initial payment of £2,500 followed by up to 18 monthly payments of £100.
BSP is paid monthly, in arrears.
Make a claim for Bereavement Support Payment
Time limits for claiming
To get the initial payment you need to claim within 12 months of your husband, wife or civil partner's death.
The regular monthly payments are paid for up to 18 months from the date of death.
A claim can be backdated for up to 3 months, but if you claim any later than this you will not get the full 18 months' worth of benefit.
The following information needs to be sent in with the claim:
- marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
- death certificate
Bereavement Support Payment and other benefits
If you receive any other benefits, make sure that the office paying that benefit knows you are getting Bereavement Support Payment – this will avoid any mistakes being made over your entitlements.
For Income Support, Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Pension Credit:
- the regular monthly payment does not count as income for the month for which it is paid, but after that any amount that you have not spent will count as part of your capital for these benefits and may affect your entitlements if it takes your capital over £6,000 (over £10,000 in the case of Pension Credit)
- if you claim the initial payment of BSP after the death but before the end of 12 months, the initial payment will not count as part of your capital, but only for 12 months after you receive it
- any arrears (not counting the situation set out) of BSP that you are paid are ignored for 52 weeks but will count as part of your capital after that
- if you receive Pension Credit, these arrears might not count as capital until a later date if you are in an 'assessed income period'
BSP is ignored for the purpose of Tax Credit claims and does it not affect benefits you may have claimed on the basis of your National Insurance contributions.
For Universal Credit - if you claim the initial payment of BSP after the death but before the end of 12 months, the initial payment will not count as part of your capital, but only for 12 months after you receive it.
The regular monthly payment of BSP does not count as income for UC and will not affect your UC payment.
Arrears of the regular monthly payment will however count as part of your capital.
Seek advice from us if you're not sure about these rules.
If you begin a new relationship after claiming Bereavement Support Payment this will not affect your entitlement. But you cannot get BSP if you had divorced your spouse, your civil partnership was dissolved or you were living with someone else when the death occurred.
Social Fund Funeral Grant
There is a one off grant available for funeral costs which you may be eligible for if:
- you are the person responsible for the funeral (a close relative of the person who has died, or a close friend and it is reasonable for you to accept responsibility for the funeral costs
- you are in receipt of a 'qualifying benefit': Pension Credit, Universal Credit, Income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit if you count as a disabled worker and Child Tax Credit if you receive over the basic 'family' element
- you have just claimed one of these benefits and are waiting for a decision, you can still make a claim for funeral payment (mention on the claim form that you have made the claim) - you can be paid if the benefit is backdated to cover the date you made the claim for the funeral payment
- there is no one else who is not in receipt of a 'qualifying benefit' who is an equally close or closer relative of the person who has died
- the person who has died must have been ordinarily resident in the UK when they died, and the funeral must take place in the UK
Making a claim
You must claim within 3 months of the funeral.
You can claim using form SF200 or ring the DWP Bereavement Service tel: 0345 606 0265.
If you have been claiming Carers Allowance for the person who has died, or have 'underlying entitlement' to Carers Allowance and receive a carer premium on another benefit, this will continue to be paid for 8 weeks following the death of the person you are caring for.
The exception to this is if you were over 65 and entitled to Invalid Care Allowance on 27 October 2002, in which case this benefit will continue indefinitely.