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Ask the expert: what financial help is there now my caring role has ended?

Jen, from the Carers UK adviceline, shares some advice on coping emotionally and financially when a caring role has ended.

You asked:

I was my wife’s carer for five years, until she passed away last week. We had been receiving help through the benefit system, and now all of these benefits will stop. I am wondering if there is any financial help I might be entitled to, as I’m not state pension age but don’t feel able to return to work yet.

Our advisor says: 

I am sorry to hear that your wife has passed away. Losing someone can be devastating, and if you were caring for that person the loss can seem even greater.

AdvicelineIn addition to exploring financial help, I wanted to briefly cover emotional support and practical matters following bereavement. People have to deal with lots of complex emotions and issues when the person that they are caring for passes away and the more information you have, the easier you may find it to navigate the weeks following the death.

In terms of emotional support, everyone reacts differently to bereavement, and there is no right or wrong way to feel. If talking about it, and about your wife, would be helpful you might find these suggestions useful:

• you could talk to family/friends who knew your wife
• you could talk to other bereaved people via the Carers UK forum
• Cruse Bereavement Care is a charity for bereaved people: cruse.org.uk/ crusescotland.org.uk 
• your GP or carer’s organisation might know of local bereavement support: carersuk.org/localsupport

There are various practical matters that need to be dealt with when someone dies. There is lots of information on practical matters in our bereavement section.

In terms of your financial situation, any benefits your wife was claiming will have stopped now, however any benefits you are claiming as a carer might run on for a while. If you were receiving Carer’s Allowance when your wife died, this should continue for eight weeks following her death. As should the carer premium within means-tested benefits, if you were receiving it.

After these eight weeks you won’t be able to claim benefits as a carer anymore. If you are on a low income you might be able to claim means-tested benefits like Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit. The benefit system is complicated, so it would be a good idea to get a benefit check, to work out whether there are other benefits you can claim. The Carers UK Adviceline can carry out benefit checks.

In addition to any means-tested benefits you can claim, as it was your wife who died, and as you are under state pension age, you might be eligible for a Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) if your wife met certain National Insurance contribution conditions.

There are two rates:

• if you aren’t responsible for a child you might be eligible for the standard rate, which pays a one off lump sum of £2,500 followed by 18 monthly payments of £100

• if you are responsible for a child you might be eligible for the higher rate, which pays a one-off lump sum of £3,500 followed by
18 monthly payments of £350.

As well as looking into benefits, you should also apply for a 25% single occupancy discount on your council tax bill if you are
living by yourself now.

For more information visit our bereavement section.

The end of your caring role may take time to adjust to. When you feel ready you may want to think about learning something

new, volunteering or returning to employment. When the time is right for you to think about your plan going forward, you might

find it useful to visit our life after caring section.

For carers in Northern Ireland, the When Caring Ends or Changes information is now available in booklet format, thanks to a grant from the Health and Social Care Board.

NI Factsheet

I hope this helps, and remember that if you need to talk this through you can contact the Carers UK Adviceline on

0808 808 7777 (Mon-Fri, 10am – 4pm) or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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