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Housing Benefit - Bereavement

The death of a loved one can leave us feeling powerless and many people may be left struggling to understand how rent can be paid or how to notify benefit agencies of the claimant has passed.

We understand how stressful it can be for many people who have fallen victim to the Coronavirus.  We want you to know that you can contact us at any time for FREE advice if you need help talking to your landlord or if you would like us to help you claim benefits you may be entitled to.

We appreciate it can be difficult for you to talk at the moment and so we hope that you will find the following information on Housing Benefit useful:

Single claimants

HB entitlement ceases when the HB claimant dies. HB will be paid until the end of the benefit week in which they die (ie Sunday) of death.

There maybe someone else living in the property who could be treated as liable for the rent and therefore able to claim help. This will usually be through Universal Credit (unless they are able to make a new claim for HB – see below)


One member of a couple dies

When one of a couple dies, what happens to their HB will depend on whether it is the HB claimant or their partner that has died.


Main HB claimant dies

HB entitlement ceases when the HB claimant dies. HB will be paid until the end of the week (ie Sunday) of death.

The surviving partner will need make a new claim for HB if they:

  • Are Pension Age, or
  • Fail the SDP gateway, or
  • Are living in ‘specified accommodation’, or
  • Are living in ‘temporary accommodation’

Otherwise, they will need to claim Universal Credit for help with their rent.


Partner of HB Claimant dies

If it was the partner of the HB claimant who died, HB can continue. The surviving partner will need to notify the HB Office (directly or via the Tell Us Once service) of the death.

However, in some situations (for example if they were on a couple claim for Tax Credits) the death of their partner may nevertheless mean they might need to claim Universal Credit to replace lost income. A claim for UC would bring the HB claim to an end (unless they are living in specified or temporary accommodation).


Death of a child

Any child allowance in respect of a child who has died will end on the Sunday of the week in which they died. However, Child Benefit can continue for 8 weeks.


Protection from Bedroom Tax

If a ‘linked person’ ie a partner, child or non-dependant who lives with the claimant dies, then there are certain protections from the Bedroom Tax. The eligible rent will be the same as the eligible rent used on the day before the person’s death, for up to 12 months from the date of death.


New Claims for HB

New claims for HB can only be made by claimants who:

  • Are single people of Pension Credit age, or couples, both Pension Credit age*, or
  • Fail the SDP gateway, or
  • Are living in ‘specified accommodation’, or
  • Are living in ‘temporary accommodation’ .
  • *Some mixed age couples are protected.


Registering the death and the Tell Us Once service

When someone has died, their death will need to be registered.

Register Offices are re-opening but mostly with attendance by appointment only, or registering over the phone.

The registrar can give the person who is registering the death details of how to contact the ‘Tell Us Once’ – click here.

This means that the person only has to make one further phone call in order to notify all the benefits and other government departments (eg DVLA) of the death.



Bournes Lettings Services provides full property management services to private landlords to protect assets and create long-term sustainable tenancies for our tenants. To learn more, click on the links below:

Rent Collection Finding a tenant End to end property management