Financial support after somebody dies

This information applies to England and Wales.

Losing a loved one affects everyone differently, but it can be a difficult time. You may need emotional, practical and financial support.

You might be eligible for financial support from the government after your spouse, partner, parent or child has died. This could include funeral costs.

Bereavement advice and support (Bereavement Advice Centre)

It’s important to remember that these payments may affect other benefits you claim.

It can be hard to know the practical things you need to do after a bereavement.

What to do when somebody dies

Warning Grief and bereavement support

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing is important. Everyone manages their mental health and grief differently.

If you need support, here are some places you could try:

If your circumstances change after a death

When someone close has died, this may affect your income and benefits.

For example, perhaps your partner’s income or savings meant you were not eligible for means-tested benefits. You may now be able to make a claim.

Means-tested benefits (Turn2us)

Use a benefits calculator to see if you qualify for means-tested benefits

If you cannot work because of disability, the death of a loved one does not change whether the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) expects you to work.

If you want to work out how your benefits could change, the Scope helpline can give advice.

Contact Scope helpline

Help completing benefit claim forms

If your partner dies

You could get financial support from the government if your partner has died.

Bereavement Support Payment

You may be eligible for Bereavement Support Payment if your partner has died. When they died, you must have been:

  • married or in a registered civil partnership with them or
  • living together as though you were married

You must also have been:

Your partner must have:

  • paid National Insurance for at least 25 weeks in 1 tax year since 6 April 1975
  • or died because of an accident at work or a disease caused by work

National Insurance: an introduction (GOV.UK)

If you were not married to your partner, you could qualify if you:

  • were entitled to Child Benefit when they died
  • or were pregnant when they died

Bereavement Support Payment (GOV.UK)

Check your eligibility for Bereavement Support Payment (GOV.UK)

Call the Bereavement Service helpline for support with your application or if your situation is different.

Phone: 0800 151 2012.

Textphone: 0800 731 0464.

This helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. Calls are free from UK landlines and mobiles.

Standard rate

The standard rate is an initial sum of £2,500. This does not count towards your savings limit for 1 year.

Savings and benefits

There is also a monthly payment of £100 for 18 months. This does not count as income for your other benefits.

Higher rate

You may receive the higher rate if you:

  • were pregnant when your partner died
  • or you claim or are entitled to Child Benefit

The higher rate is an initial sum of £3,500. This does not count towards your savings limit for 1 year.

Savings and benefits

There is also a monthly payment of £350 for 18 months. This does not count as income for your other benefits.

Warning Claim within 3 months

This can be a difficult time. You may have many other things to think about. But you must claim Bereavement Support Payment within 3 months to get the full amount.

You can claim up to 21 months afterwards, but payments will be less.

Inheriting your partner’s pension

If your spouse or civil partner dies, you may be able to inherit some of their State Pension.

Check if you can inherit some of their State Pension (GOV.UK)

Contact the Pension Service by phone or BSL video relay

You may also inherit your partner’s workplace or private pensions. If they moved jobs, they could have several. Contact the providers to find out what to do next.

Find pension contact details (GOV.UK)

How inheritance can affect benefits

Some things can increase your savings. For example, if somebody dies and you inherit:

  • cash
  • property
  • stocks and shares

Having more savings might affect any means-tested benefits you claim. Most means-tested benefits stop if you have over £16,000 in savings. Children’s savings do not count.

Inheritance and benefits

Savings and benefits - if your savings increase

If your savings are below £16,000 in the future, you may have to claim Universal Credit. That’s because Universal Credit has replaced:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income Support
  • tax credits (Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit)

Use a benefits calculator to check if your inheritance affects your benefits

Find out how inheriting a property can affect means-tested benefits

The Scope helpline gives support on issues including benefits.

Contact Scope helpline


If somebody has left you an inheritance, it may need to go through probate before you receive it. You may not be the person applying for probate.

Find out about probate (GOV.UK)

You cannot claim anything from your inheritance until probate has finished.

Probate can take up to 1 year. While you wait it’s a good idea to check you’re receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to.

Use a benefits calculator to see what benefits you can receive

Help with funeral costs

You may be entitled to a Funeral Expenses Payment if you need help to pay for a funeral you’re arranging. This is also called a Funeral Payment.

You must apply within 6 months of the funeral. It includes funerals for:

  • spouses and partners
  • close relatives
  • friends
  • children

This payment will not usually cover all the funeral costs. You may be eligible if you claim certain benefits or tax credits.

See if you’re eligible for help with funeral costs (GOV.UK)

If your child dies

No parent or guardian expects to lose their child, and it’s important to get the support you need.

Child Bereavement UK

While you might not be thinking about money at the moment, there may be changes to your benefits.

Child Benefit

Your Child Benefit may continue for 8 weeks after your child dies.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit continues during the month your child dies and 2 months after that.

If you’re usually expected to look for work, you would not need to for 6 months after their death.

Other benefits

There can be other changes to your benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance stops the day your child dies.
  • Carer’s Allowance stops 8 weeks after.
  • Child tax credits stop 8 weeks after.

Use an online benefits calculator to check how your benefits might be affected

Bereavement pay if your child dies

If you work, it might be possible for you to claim Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay and Leave after the death of your child.

Check if you’re eligible (GOV.UK)

If you become the main carer

You may be entitled to Child Benefit if you become the main carer for a child of someone who has died.

Report the death online, by phone or post.

Let the Child Benefit Office know:

  • the date of the death
  • where the child lives now
  • who is looking after them

Once they cancel any previous benefits, you need to make a new claim for Child Benefit.

You may also be eligible for Guardian’s Allowance, a tax-free sum of £20.40 a week on top of Child Benefit.

See if you’re eligible for Guardian’s Allowance and make a claim (GOV.UK)

Arranging a child’s funeral

Getting advice about debt

You may be struggling to pay your bills and getting into debt. There are ways you can get support.

Get advice on managing your debt (Citizen Advice)

Contact StepChange for a personal action plan about your debt

Energy and water bills

Scope’s Disability Energy Support service can give you advice on your energy and water needs. This includes:

  • managing energy and water debt
  • accessing benefits, grants and trusts

Contact Disability Energy Support

You may have needed extra energy for heating and medical equipment at home before your loved one died.

If they used an oxygen concentrator at home, you can claim a rebate for the electricity it used.

Rebates for an oxygen concentrator

There are no other specific payments you can claim for increased energy use. But you may be able to get a grant from your energy supplier. If you apply for a grant, mention the extra energy needs your loved one had. This may increase your chances of getting a grant.

Getting financial help from your energy supplier

Use a free benefits calculator to check what benefits you’re entitled to claim

Your home’s tenancy or ownership

If you lived with the person who’s died, it could affect your housing situation. Check if it affects your benefits.

Changing tenancy and home ownership after a death

Last reviewed by Scope on: 29/08/2023

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