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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Bereavement Allowance

After you're widowed you may be able to claim Bereavement Allowance, a taxable weekly benefit. It is paid to you for up to 52 weeks from the date of death of your husband, wife or civil partner.

Who can claim

You may be able to claim Bereavement Allowance if all of the following apply:

  • you're a widow, widower or surviving civil partner aged 45 or over when your husband, wife or civil partner died
  • you're not bringing up children
  • you're under State Pension age
  • your late husband, wife or civil partner paid National Insurance contributions (NICs), or they died as a result of an industrial accident or disease

National Insurance contributions and Bereavement Allowance

When you fill in the claim form you'll be asked to give your late husband's, wife's or civil partner's National Insurance number. You will also be asked for details of their recent employment history.

This will allow the office that deals with your claim to look into their National Insurance record. They can then work out how much - if any - Bereavement Allowance you might get.

Who can’t claim

You can't claim Bereavement Allowance if:

  • you were divorced from your late husband or wife at the time of their death
  • your civil partnership was dissolved at the time of your civil partner's death
  • you're living with another person as if you are married to them or as if you have formed a civil partnership
  • you're in prison

If you were over State Pension age when you were widowed or became a surviving civil partner you may get extra State Pension. This is based on the NICs of your late:

  • husband
  • wife
  • civil partner

If you're widowed below State Pension age and you have a dependent child you can claim Widowed Parent's Allowance. But you can't get Widowed Parent's Allowance and Bereavement Allowance at the same time.

How much do you get

Your age at your partner or civil partner's death

Maximum weekly rate (2012-2013)

45 years old


46 years old


47 years old


48 years old


49 years old


50 years old


51 years old


52 years old


53 years old


54 years old


55 years old to State Pension age


The actual amount you may get depends on:

  • the overall level of your partner or civil partner's National Insurance contributions (NICs)
  • your age at the time of his or her death

If your Widowed Parent’s Allowance stops, and this is within 52 weeks of your bereavement, you may be able to get Bereavement Allowance. This will depend on your age at the time you were bereaved.

How Bereavement Allowance is paid

All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account. This is the safest, most convenient and efficient method of payment.

Effect on other benefits

Once you get Bereavement Allowance, your payments may change if you're already getting any of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit

The Jobcentre Plus office that deals with your claim will explain how this works.

How to claim

You can order a Bereavement Benefits claim pack (form BB1) over the telephone from your nearest Jobcentre Plus office. The pack also has help notes on how to complete the claim form.

Download a claim form to print off and fill in

You can also download the Bereavement Benefits claim pack (form BB1) from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website.

Once you've completed the form, send it to your nearest Jobcentre Plus office as soon as possible.

Claims can only be backdated three months and are dated when the office gets them, so if you delay you may lose benefit.

What to do if your circumstances change

If you remarry, or start living with someone as if married to them you will no longer qualify for Bereavement Allowance. In this case you must tell the office that deals with your payments.

What else you need to know

You will need to prove your identity when making a claim. You will also have to answer questions about your circumstances and show official documents to support the information.

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