Tax Glossary

Bereavement Allowance

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Last updated on:
March 17, 2024

The Bereavement Allowance serves as financial support for individuals who have lost their spouse or civil partner, functioning as a successor to the Widow's Pension. This allowance offers monetary assistance for up to 21 months post the passing of a spouse.

Claiming Bereavement Allowance

Eligible individuals can receive a one-time lump sum followed by up to 18 monthly payments, with the amount dependent on their eligibility for Child Benefit:

  • Higher Rate: Initial lump sum of £3,500, followed by monthly payments of £350.
  • Lower Rate: Initial lump sum of £2,500, followed by monthly payments of £100.

To maximize the allowance duration, claims should ideally be made within three months of the spouse's death. Notably, the entitlement amount may vary if the partner passed away either before 30th August 2018 or after 9th February 2023.

Eligibility Criteria

Several factors influence entitlement to the Bereavement Allowance, including:

  • The claimant's age at the time of the spouse's death.
  • The cause of death.
  • The claimant's living arrangements.
  • Whether the claimant is raising children.
  • The deceased spouse's National Insurance contributions history.

It's important to note that individuals serving time in prison are ineligible to claim the Bereavement Allowance.

How to Apply

In the UK (excluding Northern Ireland), claims can be initiated by contacting 0800 731 0469 or by downloading and submitting a Bereavement Benefits pack (form BB1) to the nearest Jobcentre. For residents of Northern Ireland, specific bereavement support options are available. Claimants living abroad should contact the International Pension Centre for application procedures.

Additional Considerations

The Bereavement Allowance is subject to income tax, meaning it must be declared as part of total income in a Self Assessment tax return. Furthermore, the remaining funds after a year may impact eligibility for other benefits. This underscores the importance of timely and accurate claims to ensure financial stability during a challenging period.

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