What You Need To Know About Bereavement Payments And Bereavement Benefits
The death of a loved one is, of course, an incredibly difficult time on an emotional level. Furthermore, it can be financially devastating, particularly if you have lost a partner who also contributed to your household income. In order to try to ease the financial hardship that bereavement can bring, the government has developed a series of financial assistance benefits for those who have lost partners.
What Is A Bereavement Payment?In the first instance, you may be entitled to a one-off Bereavement Payment. A Bereavement Payment is a single, lump sum, aimed at giving financial assistance with the immediate burdens which a death can place on the surviving partner. Bereavement Payments are currently set at £2,000, and they are tax free. In order to be entitled to a Bereavement Payment, your partner must either have been up to date with their National Insurance Contributions, or their death must have been caused by their job. In the latter case, you must either have been under the age of entitlement to the State Pension (60 if you are a woman, and 65 as a man) when your partner died or, alternatively, your partner must not have been entitled to Category A State Retirement Benefit.
It should also be noted that you need not necessarily have been married to the deceased in order to be entitled to a Bereavement Payment; those whose Civil Partner has died may also be eligible. However, if you were living with another partner at the time of your spouse of Civil Partner's death, or if you were divorced or your Civil Partnership had been dissolved, you will not be entitled to a Bereavement Payment.
Receiving A Bereavement BenefitYou may also be eligible for Bereavement Benefit, which is a weekly payment to which you may be entitled for up to 52 weeks after your spouse or Civil Partner has died. The amount that you may be given in the Bereavement Payment depends on several factors; primarily, payments are graduated depending upon your age at the time of your partner's death, starting at £25.28 if you are 45 and rising incrementally to £84.25 if you are between 55 and the State Pension age.
In order to be eligible for Bereavement Benefit, you must fulfil several criteria; you must be between 45 and the State Pension age at the time of your partner's death, you must not be raising children, and your partner must either have been up to date with their National Insurance Contributions or have been killed as the result of an accident in the workplace. The same restrictions on eligibility apply to Bereavement Benefit as do to Bereavement Payment, with the most important stipulation being that you must not have been divorced (or your Civil Partnership must not have been dissolved) at the time of death.
It is common to shy away from financial assistance when you are grieving for a loved one; many fear that this trivialises the emotional impact of the death. However, these benefits are designed with the sole intention of helping the surviving partner. As such, it would seem eminently sensible to take advantage of them if you can.