What is a widow’s pension?

What is known as a widow’s pension is the name given to benefits previously offered by the government to provide financial aid when a person’s spouse or partner passes away. In 2001, the widow’s pension was replaced by several bereavement benefits including:

  • Bereavement allowance
  • Bereavement support payment
  • Bereavement payment
  • Widowed parent’s allowance

A person may be entitled to receive more than one of these benefits. While these benefits may not seem like a pension as the name would suggest, it’s called as such because they are linked to the National Insurance contributions your partner or spouse made, for which they would have received the State Pension.

What is the bereavement allowance?

The bereavement allowance provides support for anyone who’s partner or spouse passed away before 6th April 2017. You can claim this allowance for up to 52 weeks from the date they passed. The amount you receive depends on how old you were when they passed and how many years of National Insurance contributions your partner made.

What is the bereavement support payment?

You can claim bereavement support payment if you are under State Pension age and your partner or spouse passed away on or after 6th April 2017. You are eligible for this benefit if your partner had made a minimum of 25 weeks’ worth of National Insurance contributions or passed from a job-related incident.

The bereavement support payment consists of one initial lump sum and a further 18 monthly payments. There are two rates to this benefit, and you will be eligible for the higher rate if you have a child and are eligible for child benefit.

What is the bereavement payment?

The bereavement payment can be applied for if your partner or spouse passed before 6th April 2017 and paid National Insurance contributions or they passed from a job-related incident. This benefit is a £2,000 tax-free lump sum, and you will need to be under State Pension age to be able to receive it.

What is widowed parent’s allowance?

The widowed parent’s allowance is to help those who were raising children at the time of their spouse or partner’s passing. The amount you receive from this benefit is determined by how many years of National Insurance contributions your partner made.

Who is eligible for bereavement benefits?

Outside of the criteria mentioned for each of the benefits above, you will not be eligible to claim for any bereavement benefits if you were divorced at the time of your former partner or spouse’s passing, are remarried or live with a new partner.

A full list of criteria for each of the benefits can be found here.

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