Bereavement benefits, grants or other financial support

Your benefits, tax and pension after the death of a spouse

Tax and National Insurance

Your income will probably change after the death of your husband, wife or civil partner.

If you get extra money from pensions, annuities, benefits or an inheritance, you may need to pay more tax. You may be on a lower income and need to pay less tax.

Your tax allowances – the income you don’t pay tax on – may also change.

Income you must report

Tell HMRC if you get:

  • interest from a bank, building society or a National Savings and Investment product, eg pensioner income, capital bonds
  • income from letting out property
  • income from Purchased Life Annuities
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • foreign pension payments
  • other income that should have been taxed but hasn’t been

You don’t need to tell HMRC about:

  • income your employer pays tax on through PAYE
  • income from a private pension
  • income which doesn’t get taxed, eg from an Individual Savings Account (ISA)
  • any income if you’ll reach State Pension age within 4 months
  • getting Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Widowed Parent’s Allowance or Bereavement Allowance

 

How to tell HMRC

Tell HMRC about a change in your income:

Tax allowances

If you pay Income Tax, you’ll have a Personal Allowance – income you don’t pay tax on. Your allowance may change if your income changes.

HMRC will automatically adjust your Personal Allowance when you tell them about your change of income.

Married Couple’s Allowance

If you or your husband, wife or civil partner were born before 6 April 1935, you may have been claiming Married Couple’s Allowance. You’ll still get the allowance for the current tax year (up to 5 April) but HMRC will automatically stop it after that and you’ll get just your Personal Allowance.

Blind Person’s Allowance

If your husband, wife or civil partner was claiming Blind Person’s Allowance, ask HMRC to transfer what’s left of their Blind Person’s Allowance for the current tax year (up to 5 April) to you.

HMRC Blind Person’s Allowance enquiries
Telephone: 0300 200 3301
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm

Reduced rate National Insurance

If you’re a widow and you were married before April 1977, you might be paying a reduced rate of National Insurance (sometimes called the ‘small stamp’).

You may be able to keep paying the reduced rate. Contact HMRC to find out what you should do.

Benefits

You’ll have to make new claims for some benefits that your husband, wife or civil partner was claiming for your family.

You may also be able to claim other benefits to help with your bereavement or if you’re on a lower income because of the death.

Bereavement benefits

You may be able to get benefits to help with your bereavement:

Phone the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Bereavement Service to check if:

  • you can get bereavement benefits
  • the death will affect any other benefits you’re already claiming

DWP Bereavement Service
Telephone: 0345 606 0265
Textphone: 0345 606 0285
Find out about call charges

You’ll have to make new claims for Child Benefit and tax credits if your husband, wife or civil partner was claiming them.

Child Benefit

You’ll need to make a new claim for Child Benefit if you weren’t the person named as the claimant on the original claim form.

Tax credits

You should tell the Tax Credit Office about the death within one month if you haven’t already heard from them. Phone the Tax Credit Helpline to report the death.

If your income is lower

You may be able to get benefits if you’re on a lower income following the death of your husband, wife or civil partner. Use a benefits calculator to work out what benefits you can get and find out how to claim.

You may also be able to apply for:

 

You may have to pay Income Tax on some benefits you claim.

Pensions

You may be able to get extra pension payments from your husband, wife or civil partner’s pension or National Insurance contributions.

State Pension

You need to be over State Pension age to claim extra payments from your husband, wife or civil partner’s State Pension.

What you get and how you claim will depend on whether you reached State Pension age before or after 6 April 2016.

Contact the Pension Service to check what you can claim.

If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016

You’ll get any State Pension based on your husband, wife or civil partner’s National Insurance contribution when you claim your own pension.

You won’t get it if you remarry or form a new civil partnership before you reach State Pension age.

If you reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016

You’ll receive the ‘new State Pension’ and you may be able to inherit an extra payment on top of your pension.

Private pensions

You may get payments from your husband, wife or civil partner’s workplace, personal or stakeholder pension – it will depend on the pension scheme. Contact the pension scheme to find out.

You’ll have to pay tax on those payments if the pension provider doesn’t pay it for you.

War Widow’s or Widower’s Pension

You may be able to get War Widow’s or Widower Pension – if your husband, wife or civil partner died because of their service in the Armed Forces or because of a war.

Find us

Southwark Carers
3rd Floor, Walworth Methodist Church,
54 Camberwell Road, London, SE5 0EN
View map and directions

Contact us

020 7708 4497

Find us

Nearest tube – Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).

Nearest Railway Station – Elephant & Castle

Buses from Elephant and Castle – ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45