What is a widow’s pension?

When your spouse or civil partner dies you may be entitled to receive some benefits from the government to prevent financial hardship. Bereavement benefits were previously known as a ‘widow’s pension’.

In 2001 widows pension UK was replaced by several bereavement benefits including bereavement allowance, bereavement payment and the bereavement support payment. The widowed parent’s allowance is specifically designed for those with dependent children.

How much is a widow’s pension?

The amount of widows pension entitlement you’ll get will depend on which of the four types of bereavement benefit you qualify for.

Bereavement allowance

If your spouse or civil partner passed away before 6 April 2017 you may be able to claim bereavement allowance for up to 52 weeks from the date they died. The amount you’ll get will be dependant on how old you were when they died and how many years of National Insurance contributions they made.

In 2024/25 you’re entitled to the following amounts, provided you were over 45 when your partner died and below State Pension age.

It’s not possible to claim a widows pension over 65 or under 45, however in some circumstances you may be eligible to receive an additional widows State Pension, based on your late spouse or civil partner’s earnings.

Bereavement support payment

If your spouse or civil partner passed away on or after 6 April 2017 you may be able to claim the bereavement support payment if you’re under State Pension age. To qualify for this benefit your partner must have made at least 25 weeks’ worth of National Insurance contributions, or suffered a job-related death.

In 2024/25 you’re entitled to either a first payment of £3,500 and monthly payments of £350, or a first payment of £2,500 and monthly payments of £100, depending on whether you’re claiming or are eligible for child benefit. If you are, you’ll be eligible for the higher rate, however if you have no children you can only apply for the lower rate. The bereavement support payment is made up of a one-off lump sum, and 18 monthly payments.

Bereavement payment

If your spouse or civil partner passed away before 6 April 2017 and paid National Insurance Contributions or their death was job-related, you may be eligible to receive a one-off bereavement payment. To qualify for this £2,000 tax-free lump sum you’ll need to be under State Pension age.

Widowed parent’s allowance

If you’re raising children at the time of your spouse or civil partner’s death you may be eligible for widowed parent’s allowance. The amount you’ll be entitled to will depend on your spouse or civil partner’s National Insurance record. In 2024/25, the maximum amount you can receive mirrors the maximum bereavement allowance of £148.40 a week.

Can I get a widow’s pension?

You won’t be able to claim any of the above bereavement benefits if you were divorced at the time of your former spouse or partner’s death or if you’ve since remarried or are living with a new partner. You can check the full eligibility criteria for each benefit on the gov.uk website.

Passing on a pension

When you join PensionBee we’ll ask you to nominate one or more beneficiaries as part of the sign up process. You’ll be able to update this information online 24/7 by logging into your BeeHive account, and can ensure your spouse, partner or other loved one is named as the beneficiary of your pension.

If you pass away before your 75th birthday your beneficiaries will be able to receive your pension tax-free. If you pass away after your 75th birthday it’s likely that your beneficiaries will need to pay income tax on your pension.

Risk warning

As always with investments, your capital is at risk. The value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than you invest. This information should not be regarded as financial advice.

Last edited: 06-04-2024

Don’t forget your own finances

Get started in 5 minutes. Combine your old pensions online, today.

Get started now

Mobile PensionBee analytics chart
Mobile PensionBee analytics chart
Apple Store logo Google Store logo

Have a question?Call our UK team020 3457 8444

Monday-Friday: 9:30am-5pm