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9 Welfare benefits

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1. Introduction

2. If you have a low income

3. If you are having a baby or adopting a child

4. If you have children to look after

5. If you are unemployed

6. If you are ill and can't work

7. If you have a disability

8. If you are just starting work

9. If you have retired or are about to retire

10. If your husband, wife or civil partner dies

If your husband, wife or civil partner dies and they have paid National Insurance contributions in the past, you may be able to claim a lump-sum Bereavement Payment of £2,000.

If you have children and you are under pension age, you may qualify for Widowed Parents’ Allowance.

If you were 45 or over but under pension age when your husband, wife or civil partner died, and you are still under pension age, you may get a Bereavement Allowance for up to a year after they died. However, Widowed Parents’ Allowance and Bereavement Allowance can be stopped if you marry, enter into a civil partnership or start living with someone as a partner.  

If your husband, wife, civil partner or partner died as the result of service in the armed forces, you may be able to claim a War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension, or financial help from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. For more about this, see the CLS Direct leaflet, ‘Veterans’.

If you are on a low income, you may also qualify for other means-tested benefits and a Funeral Grant from the Social Fund.

Special groups of people

For most of the benefits mentioned in this guide, special rules apply to certain groups of people such as:

  • hospital in-patients;
  • people from abroad;
  • students;
  • prisoners; and
  • people who live in care homes or other residential accommodation.

You should get further advice if you are in any of these groups.

11. Where do I claim?

12. What must I do when I claim?

13. What if I disagree with a decision about my claim?

14. What if I've been badly treated?

15. The Human Rights Act

16. Further help

17. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Rachel Hadwen, a specialist in welfare rights.

Leaflet Version: April 2019

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