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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Social security pensions: widowed mother's allowance

Part 9 Chapter 5 ITEPA 2003

The main condition of widowed mother’s allowance is that the widow must be looking after a child. This must be either her own child or the child of her husband. The child must be either under 16, or, if between 16 and 19, be receiving full-time education.

Normally the allowance will continue to be paid until the youngest child ceases to satisfy these conditions. But the allowance will stop being paid if the widow remarries or payment will be suspended if she begins living with a man as his wife.

The allowance will normally be replaced by the state pension if the widow retires after reaching the age of 60. If she ceases to be entitled to widowed mother’s allowance before retirement age, she may be entitled to widow’s pension.

Widowed mother’s allowance is payable weekly. It can be made up of three parts:

  • a flat-rate basic allowance, you can find the rate on form P242
  • a non-taxable allowance for each dependent child (children under the age of 16 or under the age of 19 when still in full-time education)
  • an earnings-related additional pension depending on the late husband’s contribution record.

Widowed mother’s allowance becomes payable immediately on the husband’s death.

Widowed mother’s allowance is taxable but any child dependency increase is not taxable.

Widowed parents allowance (see EIM74606) replaced widowed mother’s allowance (WMA) from 9 April 2001, but WMA continues to be paid to claimants receiving that benefit before 9 April 2001.

If the widow is a war widow

If a widow who receives either a widowed mother’s allowance or widow’s pension is also a war widow, part or all of those benefits may be non-taxable (see EIM76103).