What is a Widows Pension ?
Updated: Sep 19
When a spouse dies, it is a difficult moment, both emotionally and financially. If you are financially reliant on your spouse or partner, you may be concerned about how you will make ends meet. In this what is a widows pension blog, we aim to explain the up to date position.
In short, a widow's pension is designed to support a widow financially in the event of their partners death. Widows pensions are usually lower than the full pension , on the basis that it costs one person less to live than a couple.
Financial assistance is provided by the government in order to help those who have lost their spouse. This is provided in the form of a bereavement allowance. It was previously known as the widow's pension. These payments are not means-tested, which means they are accessible to anybody regardless of income level and it can be granted whether a person works or not.
In 2001, the widow's pension in the United Kingdom was replaced with a number of bereavement benefits, including bereavement allowance, bereavement payment, and bereavement support payment.
The bereaved parent's allowance is intended primarily for individuals who have dependent children.
Who is eligible for a Widow’s Pension?
To be eligible for a widow's pension or bereavement support payments, a person must have been married with their other half at the time of their death.
If you are divorced or cohabiting with your spouse, you are ineligible to receive the money.
In addition, you must be under the state pension age and have lived in the UK or a nation that provides bereavement benefits when your husband, wife, or civil partner died.
On the Gov.uk website, you can obtain a complete list of relevant nations.
If you are incarcerated, you are not eligible to receive bereavement support or widow’s pension.
To be qualified for a widow's pension, your spouse or civil partner must have contributed to national insurance for at least 25 weeks or died as a result of their job - either by an accident at work or a sickness induced by work.
You must file a claim within three months of your spouse's death in order to receive the full amount of payment. You can file a claim for up to 21 months following their death, but your monthly benefits will be reduced.
There is an exception to this rule: if the death cause has just recently been ascertained, you can file a claim more than 21 months after their death.
How much is the Widow’s Pension?
In 2001, the widow's pension, which was given to widows above the age of 45, was replaced by the bereavement allowance.
The bereavement allowance has also been tapered away, and the bereavement assistance payment has essentially replaced it.
If your partner passed away before April 6, 2017, you may be eligible for a widowed partners allowance.
If your spouse died before April 6, 2017, you may be eligible for bereavement allowance for up to 52 weeks from the date of their death. The amount you'll get is determined by your age at the time of their death and the number of years they paid into the National Insurance system.
If you were above 45 when your spouse died and under the age of State Pension in 2021/22, you are provided with the following sums.
You cannot claim a widow's pension if you are over 65 or under 45, but you may be eligible for an extra widow's State Pension based on your late husband or civil partner's wages in certain situations.
If your spouse or civil partner died on or after April 6, 2017, you may be eligible for a bereavement assistance payment if you are under the age of the State Pension.
To be eligible for this benefit, your spouse must have contributed to the National Insurance system for at least 25 weeks or have died as a result of a job-related accident.
Depending on whether you're claiming or eligible for child benefit in 2021/22, you'll get either an initial payment of £3,500 and monthly payments of £350 or the first payment of £2,500 and monthly payments of £100.
If you have children, you will be eligible for the higher rate; but, if you do not, you will be eligible for the lesser rate.
A one-time lump amount and 18 monthly installments make up the bereavement support payment.
What is a Widows Pension – Bereavement Payment?
You may be entitled to a one-off bereavement payment if your husband or civil partner died before 6 April 2017 and contributed to National Insurance Contributions, or if their death was caused by their employment.
To be eligible for this £2,000 tax-free lump amount, you must be under the age of the State Pension.
If your husband or civil partner died while you were raising children, you may be eligible for bereaved parents' allowance. Your entitlement will be determined by your spouse's or civil partner's National Insurance record.
The maximum amount you can get in 2021/22 is the same as the maximum bereavement allowance of £122.55 per week.
Moreover, if you receive specific benefits such as income assistance, pension credit, housing benefit, or council-tax benefit, you may be entitled to claim funeral expenses from the Social Fund.
You may be eligible for a war widow's or war widower's pension if your partner died while serving in the military. It is determined by their compensation.
Consequently, if you were divorced at the time of your former spouse or partner's death, or if you've subsequently remarried or are living with a new partner, you won't be eligible to claim any of the following bereavement benefits.
The entire qualifying requirements for each benefit may be seen on the gov.uk website.
What is a Widows Pension - Conclusion
Under the new state pension system, which went into effect on April 6, 2016, things are a little different. If your deceased partner would have been eligible for the new state pension, you are entitled to half of any protected payment they would have received.
Any amount of your state pension earned before 2016 that is more than the new state pension payment is known as the protected payment.
When you reach the age of eligibility for a state pension, the government will inquire about your marital status. To get your part of any protected payments, make sure you select that you are widowed rather than single.
If you're not sure if you can inherit your spouse's or civil partner's state pension, get in touch with the Pension Service.