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What happens to benefits when someone dies?

If someone close to you has died, you will need to stop any benefits they were getting. You'll also need to stop any benefits you were getting because of their illness or because you were their carer.

Sorting out my loved one’s benefits

In Northern Ireland, you can contact the Bereavement Service on 0800 085 2463. It offers a single point of contact for reporting a death to the Social Security Agency. They will help you sort out your friend or family member’s benefits. They can also help you access any benefits you might be entitled to. Find out more about the Bereavement Service at nidirect  .

In most parts of England, Wales and Scotland you can use the government’s Tell Us Once service. Once you’ve registered your loved one’s death, you can report their death online at Tell Us Once   or by phone on 0800 085 7308. Tell Us Once will then tell the relevant government departments and local councils about the death. They will cancel your friend or family member’s benefits. And they’ll sort out other things such as cancelling their passport and sorting out personal tax. This means that you don’t have to contact each government department or local council individually.

If Tell Us Once isn’t available in your area, you will need to tell the relevant government department or local council who dealt with the benefit about your friend or family member’s death. If their benefit was administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), you can contact the DWP Bereavement Service on 0345 606 0265 (textphone 0345 606 0285). You can find information about reporting other benefits or financial matters at GOV.UK  .

You can find out more about telling other organisations about your loved one’s death on our page Telling organisations about a death.

Is Tell Us Once available in my area?

At the time of writing (January 2018), Tell Us Once isn’t available in Northern Ireland or the following local authorities: Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, Eastbourne, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hastings, Lewes, Liverpool, Manchester, Medway, Rother, Wealden. Find an up to date list at GOV.UK.

What happens to my carer’s benefits?

If you’re receiving carer’s benefits, you need to report your friend or family member’s death to the Northern Ireland Bereavement Service, Tell Us Once, or the DWP Bereavement Service (see above).

Your carer’s benefits will stop after your friend or family member’s death.  

If you’re getting Carer’s Allowance or Income Support for carers, your benefit payments can continue for up to eight weeks following the death of the person you were caring for. The carer premium and other means-tested benefits may also continue for up to eight weeks.

The carer amount in universal credit can continue for two months after the payment month in which your loved one died.

You may have to repay money if you were overpaid because you didn’t let the government department know.

Are there any benefits I can claim?

Bereavement Support Payment

You may be able to claim Bereavement Support Payment if the person who died was your husband, wife or civil partner.

Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment

You may be able to get a payment from the Social Fund if you’re on a low income and need help paying for a funeral you are arranging. How much you get will depend on your circumstances. We have more information on our page Paying for a funeral.

Tax credits

If the person who died was getting tax credits, or if you were getting them together as a couple, you need to tell the Tax Credit Office within one month of their death. You can do this online at GOV.UK  , by phoning the Tax Credits helpline (0345 300 3900; textphone 0345 300 3909) or by writing to the Tax Credit Office. 

More information and support

Sorting out practical things when a friend or family member has died can be difficult. If you need information or support, you can:

  • contact your local Citizens Advice  for advice about benefits
  • read our information about sorting out practical matters and dealing with emotions in our section When someone dies 
  • call Marie Curie’s Support Line for free and confidential information and support on 0800 090 2309.

External websites

About this information

Marie Curie's Information and Support team has produced this information with help from:

  • Director of Corporate Services, Marie Curie
  • Disability Rights UK
  • Our Readers Panel volunteers.

This information is not intended to replace any advice from health or social care professionals. We suggest that you consult with a qualified professional about your individual circumstances. Read more about how our information is created and how it's used.

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