We understand that losing a loved one can be a difficult and upsetting experience. If someone close to you has recently passed away, it can be helpful to know what support is available to you, either to provide interim financial support as you grieve or to help with the costs of a funeral. Below, we’ve outlined what benefits are available to those experiencing bereavement, in addition to some general advice on how coronavirus measures have altered the process around registering a death.

If you have any money worries, you can find lots of information on our Financial Support page; you can also contact our Advice Team here or by emailing advicteamreferrals@southwayhousing.co.uk for more personalised advice.

  • Bereavement Support Payment

    If your husband, wife or civil partner has died and you are under State Pension age, you may be able to get Bereavement Support Payment (BSP). Bereavement Support Payment is not included as income under the Benefit Cap.

    Your entitlement to BSP depends on the National Insurance contributions your husband, wife or civil partner made. Whether you yourself have paid National Insurance contributions or not does not affect your entitlement. BSP can be paid for up to 18 months after the death of your husband, wife or civil partner; however, if you reach state pension age before the end of the 18 months, you will no longer be eligible and the payments will stop.

    If your husband, wife or civil partner died before 6 April 2017 you may be able to claim Widowed Parents Allowance instead.

    Note: If you were divorced, your civil partnership was dissolved or you were living with someone else when your husband, wife or civil partner died, you will not be entitled to Bereavement Support Payment.

    There are two rates of Bereavement Support Allowance

    Standard rate: this consists of a lump sum payment of £2,500, followed by 18 monthly payments of £100.

    Higher rate: this consists of a lump sum payment of £3,500, followed by 18 monthly payments of £350.
    To be eligible for the higher rate, you must have been pregnant or have had a child living with you at the time your spouse or civil partner died.

    How to claim

    Call the DWP’s Bereavement Service: 0800 731 0469
    More information here: https://www.gov.uk/bereavement-support-payment

  • Funeral Expenses Pament

    You could get a Funeral Expenses Payment (also called a Funeral Payment) if you already receive certain benefits and need help to pay for a funeral you’re arranging.

    To qualify for Funeral Expenses Payment, you or your partner must be in receipt of one or more of the following:

    • Income Support
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Pension Credit
    • Housing Benefit
    • The disability or severe disability element of Working Tax Credit
    • Child Tax Credit
    • Universal Credit

    Your eligibility for Funeral Expenses Payment is also dependant on your relationship with the deceased. You must be one of the following:

    • The partner of the deceased when they died
    • A close relative or close friend of the deceased
    • The parent of a baby stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy
    • The parent or person responsible for a deceased child who was under 16 (or under 20 and in approved education or training)

    How to claim

    Claim by phone by calling the Bereavement Service helpline: 0800 731 0469
    More information here: https://www.gov.uk/funeral-payments 


  • Registration of Death

    Prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, deaths had to be registered in person at the Register Office. The person registering the death (known as the informant), usually a family member or the executor, would sign the register in the presence of the registrar.

    However, due to the ongoing coronavirus measures, face-to-face registration is no longer possible and registration offices are closed. The Coronavirus Act 2020 came into effect across the United Kingdom on 26th March 2020 and the Remote Registrations system is now live, allowing registrars to take registration of deaths by telephone or electronic means.

    Registering a death during Coronavirus in the UK

    Below, we’ve set out the steps required to register a death during the current pandemic:

    • Doctors will email an electronic copy of the Medical Certificate Cause of Death to the specified registrar and copy in the informant. The scope of individuals entitled to be the informant has been extended to include funeral directors.
    • The informant should contact the registrar by telephone or email to make arrangements to begin the death registration process.
    • The registrar will ask for the informant's contact details, details of the deceased's birth and any marriages, and details of any significant events of the deceased's life which took place in another country.
    • The registrar will complete a template of how the register entry will look and email this to the informant to approve. If the informant does not have an email, the details will be read out over the phone.
    • Once approved, the registrar will write the informant's usual form of their signature in the appropriate space on the form followed by the phrase.
    • A scanned copy of the Certificate of Registration of Death will then be emailed to the informant and/or the funeral director.
    • The death certificate will be posted to informant in due course.


 To learn more about support available if someone has died recently, visit GOV.UK.