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Bereavement Allowance: When can you claim?

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Losing a partner is a devastating experience that many of us may go through at some point in our lives and their loss can leave a financial as well as an emotional void. If your spouse or civil partner died after the 9th April 2001, you are over 45 but under state pension age when they died and are not claiming Widowed Parents Allowance, then you may be entitled to Bereavement Allowance.

Payable for up to 52 weeks

Bereavement Allowance is classed as a taxable income and is paid as a weekly benefit for up to 52 weeks following the death of your spouse or civil partner, providing they paid enough National Insurance contributions. (However, if they died from an industrial disease or accident, then you can be paid Bereavement Allowance regardless of contributions made) The amount paid is dependent on your age at the time your partner passed away. For the majority, if you were between 45 and 55 when they died, you would receive the lower rate. If you were over 55 yet below state pension age, you would receive the higher rate. The amount of National Insurance contributions that were paid can make a difference to the amount you receive,  if for example they didn’t pay enough; or in certain circumstances you may receive an additional pension on top of Bereavement Allowance depending on your partners earnings.

How do you claim bereavement allowance?

In order to claim Bereavement Allowance, you should contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Bereavement Service as soon as you feel able to, but note that any payments can only be back dated to 3 months. They will be able to deal with your claim over the phone or you can fill in a BB1 form which is available to download from Direct Gov or from your local Jobcentre Plus office by calling 0800 055 6688. When applying you will need to provide you national insurance number and you may also need to provide your spouse or civil partners’ marriage, civil partnership or death certificate. Once you have completed your form and provided any additional information required, you should then send these off to your local Jobcentre Plus office who will then be able to look into your claim.

Bereavement allowance- Upset child

When are you unable to make a claim?

You will not be able to claim Bereavement Allowance if you have remarried or are living with another person as husband and wife or civil partners or if you are in prison. So if you are claiming Bereavement Allowance and your situation changes, you should notify the office that deals with your payments straight away so they can re-assess your claim.

Even if you and your partner moved abroad before their death or you have moved abroad since, you can still claim and if for any reason your claim is rejected yet you feel you are still entitled, you can challenge their decision and ask for your case to be reconsidered. If they don’t reconsider, you are also able to put in an appeal within 1 month of their decision.

Get help and advice

Dealing with paper work and understanding the process of claiming Bereavement Allowance can be emotional when you are already grieving for your loss, so if you are unsure about any aspect you should contact JobCentre Plus or your local Citizens Advice Bureau who will be able to provide further information and support that is specific to your situation.




About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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