When the funeral is over it can come as a bit of a shock; suddenly you’re left facing loss and having to rebuild a world without the person who has died.
Grief is a natural process. Bereavement counselling may help. You could try Cruse Bereavement Care or ask your GP about local services.
Generally, any debts that are solely in the name of the person who has died should be wiped if there is no money left in the estate after the funeral has been paid.
You may have a debt to a funeral director, credit provider, or friends and family. Do check our Raising money toward funeral costs section then set up a realistic payment plan to ensure the debt is manageable.
If you are newly responsible for managing the family finances, you might wish to seek advice from the Money Advice Service.
If you were living with the person who died, you may now be eligible for help with housing costs and a discount on your council tax.
If you were receiving Income Support because you were caring for the person who died you should receive this for a further eight weeks from the date they died. If you claim Universal Credit before this in order to receive other support, like money towards your rent, your Income Support will stop and be replaced by an allowance in your UC.
If you were receiving Carer’s Allowance (CA) when the person you were caring for died you should receive this for a further eight weeks from the date they died.
If you make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) within two months from when they died, you should have the Carer Element included in your UC for up to the first two months; this will not stop your CA and will give you more income.
If you were already receiving UC then your award amount should remain the same, as if the person had not died, for the rest of the assessment period in which they died and the two following periods. For example, if you had a joint claim with them; you were eligible for child benefit for them; you were receiving the Carer Element for them or the person’s death means you will now be subject to the bedroom tax because the DWP considers you now have an ‘extra’ room.
If you were not already receiving UC, but make a new claim, you will not automatically be eligible for these extra amounts. However, if you submit a UC claim within two months from when they died you may be able to obtain a higher payment during those first couple of months by challenging the amount you are awarded. See below for information on where to get advice to help you with this.
If the person who died was your partner and you now have to make a claim for UC, it is advisable to tell the DWP about your bereavement when you claim as this means you won’t have to meet any work-related requirements for the 6 months after their death. It is much harder to get this concession later, so it is best to tell them right at the beginning.
Be aware that claims for UC cannot generally be backdated, even due to bereavement, unless you can successfully prove you were too ill to make a claim earlier, for which you may need a sick note. So, the date you make the claim is generally the date from which you will be paid.
These are just some of the things to be aware of, but benefit rules are complicated and the DWP do not always do what they should, so it is important to tell them your circumstances and what you think you are entitled to, particularly when you apply for UC. It may be best to get expert advice, especially if you are told you are not eligible for something. You could then direct your advice worker here to help argue your case.
Contact the DWP, your local council or Citizen’s Advice for advice on benefits and council tax. Or try the Turn2Us advice finder.
If you were living with the person who died and their death has left you uncertain about your right to live in the property, there are various organisations who can help, including: