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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Social security benefits: bereavement benefits: summary

From 9 April 2001 a new system of bereavement benefits (BB) for widows and widowers replaced the previous widow’s benefits (WB). For details of WB before 9 April 2001 see EIM76176.

BB replace the WB previously available only to widows of working age, but the changes do not affect those receiving WB before 9 April 2001. Widows receiving widowed mother’s allowance (see EIM76177) or widow’s pension (see EIM76178) before that date, who meet the previous entitlement conditions, continue to receive WB.

Bereavement benefits (BB)

These benefits are available to people who were legally married or in a civil partnership but are not available to:

  • persons divorced from their late husband or wife or whose civil partnership has been dissolved
  • persons who remarry following the death of a husband or wife or forms a new civil partnership
  • persons living with someone else as husband or wife or a civil partners
  • persons in prison or in legal custody.

Types of BB

There are three types of BB:


If claimants ask for advice and/or help in claiming BB they should be directed to the nearest Benefit Agency Office.