What now?

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
My Dad passed away last Monday. It's odd as we've been expecting it to happen for years (I used to stand in the doorway to his room and watch him sleep just to make sure he was still breathing) but when it finally did it was so sudden - he was in hospital and was fine on the Sunday. We had all been into visit him over the weekend and he seemed relatively well for him. At 5am on Monday we got a call from the hospital to say he had taken a turn for the worse. We rushed in to see him and the Doctor told us how they had done chest xrays and blood tests on Sunday which had all been clear but he developed an infection overnight. He was asleep at that point and didn't regain consciousness. He died shortly after 10am the same day. The cause of death has officially gone down as pneumonia with COPD and alcoholism as contributing factors.

Everyone has been so lovely so far but no one has really told us what happens next. We've used the tell us once service to notify the dwp etc of his death and have spoken to the bank, credit card companies, pension company etc. but now we are in limbo. His pension was supporting him and my mother and was topped up by his attendance allowance and her carers allowance. Now all of that will be stopped and my mother has no source of income to live on. She gave up work to care for him 5 years ago and is in her mid 60's and is disabled herself. Her getting a job is unlikely to happen but it's still 4 years before her own state pension will kick in. She and Dad had no savings so nothing to fall back on (infact, there is about £20k of debt which Mum has just inherited!). I've had to pay the upfront costs for the funeral on my credit card and despite the fact we have chosen the simplest cheapest options possible there is still another £3k which we will owe on that by the end of August. I know she may be entitled to bereavement benefits from the government but that won't cover the full funeral cost let alone give her anything to live on. I work and can support her to a point but my income is not enough for us both to live on as anything more than a temporary measure. What can we do?? I feel like I can't grieve for my father properly as I have to worry about all this instead and push my grief to the back of my mind.
Hello Catherine,

I am so sorry to hear about your Father's passing - it's hard enough to cope with the loss of a parent without other worries pressing in upon you.

I suggest that you contact the Carers UK Adviceline team as they are the experts on all matters related to caring and benefits. They will be able to advise you on the next steps to take. If your Mum is disabled herself she may well be entitled to benefits in her own right - things like Attendance Allowance or PIP. She may also be entitled to a "Widows" pension from your Father's pension provider (or from the state if your Father was claiming his state pension).
Need expert advice? You can talk to the Carers UK Adviceline five days a week, no matter where you are in the UK or how complex your query is. We do benefits checks and advise on financial and practical matters related to caring.

Freephone: 0808 808 7777
email: advice@carersuk.org
Open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm

The Carers UK Adviceline also includes a listening service, there for you to talk through your caring situation with a trained volunteer who understands what you are going through. Available Mondays and Tuesdays, from 9am to 7pm
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If you can’t get through on the phones (lines are often oversubscribed) then send them an email, they’ll usually get back to you within 3-5 working days.
I suppose that you have made an appointment with the Registrar to register the death? They are very helpful and advise you how many copies of theCertificate to ask for initially
You should NOT have had to pay anything out of your own funds for the funeral.

Your dads bank should pay those
Hi Catherine, welcome to the forum. Don't panic, it's an incredibly stressful time for all concerned, I know, I've had six relatives die in recent years and been involved with sorting out a lot of paperwork as a result. The Carers UK helpline is wonderful, if you email them they will get back to you, usually within a week, but I know right now that seems a long time to you right now.
Google "Financial help if you are disabled" and it will take you to the .gov site, for good basic information.
If mum has no money of her own, and is disabled, it is very likely that Mum will probably qualify for an income type benefit, very often these cannot be backdated, so this would be at the top of my list to apply for. Sometimes, you can apply by phone, although there may be a long wait before it is answered. I always go to the loo, make a coffee, and have something else to do whilst waiting!! This way, I'm in a slightly better mood than I would otherwise be.
Is mum already in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or PIP, Personal Independence Payment? What disability does she have?
Don't drown in all the paperwork. Put it all in a lever arch file, in order of importance. If it involves money coming in, that goes at the top of the list!!! There is no hurry to deal with the utilities, sending back passport, driving licence etc., those jobs go way down the pecking order. Concentrate on sorting out the benefits to get a much as possible in, as quickly as possible.
Is she living in her own home, or is it rented? If rented, then she should be entitled to some Housing Benefit - contact the council as soon as possible and ask them (if dad previously claimed this, let them know he has died). She will also be liable to reduced Council Tax if there was just her and dad living there?
You mention dad's pension. Was that a state pension, or a work related pension? Also check that dad hadn't taken out any life insurance. Go through his paperwork very carefully indeed. Why my brother was dying abroad, I found £10,000 worth of life insurances he forgot he had.
Finally, you said dad had left £20,000 worth of debt. Can I ask what sort of thing these related to? With some things, the debt is passed to the surviving spouse BUT in certain circumstances they may "die" with the person concerned, so do NOT repay anything until you are absolutely certain you have to. Our CUK helpline may be able to help, if not, they will know who you need to speak to.
Was he getting an occupational pension? From his previous employer.

If so, get in touch with them immediately and ask if their is a widows and dependent payment?
Sorry, probably missing something terribly obvious here, but if your mother is in her mid 60s and had been working until five years ago, then surely she is already in receipt of (or entitled to) her state pension right now? (I'm 64 and have had mine for well over a year now.)
Yes, I'm 65 and got mine a while ago too.
(I was a carer for 38 years and now my own pension is a mix of my CA credits plus late husbands contributions).
Womens pensions are on a sliding scale for those born after 1954, even so someone in mid 60s should not have to wait 4 years.
http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/p ... nsion-age/