With everything that has happened in your life, it is common for widows(ers) to not be completely clear on what benefits may be available to them. Below is a little information which may help, however please be aware that not all benefits will apply to everyone, and will vary greatly for each person. Benefits entitlement may depend on your age, whether you children, whether you are working and your late spouse’s National Insurance contributions.
It is important to remember that everyone’s circumstances are different. A representative from the Service and Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA), visits all new widows based in the UK or NI, and they should make you aware of these benefits and can help you to apply for them. If you are based abroad then the Unit Regimental Admin Officer should be helping you with this.
If you no longer have contact with your VO, SPVA rep or Unit Regimental Admin Officer you can find out more at your local DWP/Jobcentre Plus office. Or alternatively you can contact SPVA directly. (website details can be found on our Useful Links page
Please be aware, if your circumstances change the may affect your benefits so it is important to keep your information up to date with all offices.
Bereavement Benefits you may entitled to include:
- Bereavement payment – if your spouse has made sufficient National Insurance payments you may be entitled to a one off lump sum called a Bereavement Payment. You can find more information using the following link: Bereavement Payment.
- Widowed parents allowance – can usually be claimed if you have at least one dependent child, are pregnant at the time of your spouses death, or if you become pregnant through fertility treatment. The amount varies depending on your spouses National Insurance contributions, but you can find more information via the following link: Widowed Parents Allowance.
- Bereavement allowance – if you are between 45 and pension age when you spouse/partner dies, you may be entitled to claim Bereavement allowance which is paid for up to 52 weeks after their death. For more information please see Bereavement allowance.>
- Council tax reduction – if you are the sole adult living at the property you are entitled to a 25% discount in you Council Tax, please contact you local authority regarding this.
- Child benefit – this can be claimed for any child and is usually paid until age 16, unless they continue full time education up to 20. For more information please see Child benefit.
- Universal Credit – In 2013 the Government began to introduce a new benefit system as part of the Welfare Reform. This benefit is called Universal Credit. For further information please use the following link: Universal Credit. Alternatively you could contact Jobcentre Plus who can help you apply for, and will monitor Universal Credit. To contact them please see the Useful Links page of our site. This system is gradually being rolled out throughout the UK, and is replacing the following means-tested benefits:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit