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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Social security benefits: bereavement allowance

Section 39B Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992

Bereavement allowance (BA) replaced widow’s pension (WP) from 9 April 2001, except for claimants receiving WP before that date who continue to receive WP (see EIM76178) rather than BA.

BA is a taxable weekly benefit paid only for 52 weeks following the death of a spouse or civil partner or until the surviving spouse or civil partner reaches state pension age, whichever comes first. It is payable to widows and widowers aged 45 and over without dependent children. If the surviving spouse or civil partner has dependent children he or she may claim widowed parent’s allowance (see EIM76172).

BA is paid to:

  • a widow or widower aged 45 or over at the date of their spouse’s or civil partner’s death
  • a widow or widower who is not in receipt of widowed parent’s allowance.

The amount of BA paid depends on the age of the claimant at the date of the spouse’s or civil partner’s death. For example, in 2003/04 claimants aged 55 and over receive the full amount of £77.45 per week, but this reduces to £23.24 for claimants aged 45. For current rates contact a Benefits Agency office.

Once the amount of BA is determined it does not increase as the claimant gets older. Once the claimant reaches state pension age BA ceases and is replaced by state pension.

Living together as husband and wife, remarriage and forming a new Civil Partnership will end Bereavement Allowance.