Bereavement information for carers
Every bereavement is unique, in much the same way that every caring situation is unique. As a carer it is important to consider the practical and emotional implications of the death of the person for whom you care. Many carers make significant life changes to accommodate their caring role, which can raise additional questions and concerns following the loss of a loved one for whom you are providing a care and support.
The Richmond Carers Centre team can help support and guide you through this part of your caring journey, whether you are recently bereaved of the person for whom you care or have been made aware that they are approaching/will reach the end of their life whilst you are supporting them. We can
- provide information and advice
- help you to get in touch with the right organisations
- make referrals to other organisations
- provide access to/arrange counselling for carers
- be a source of emotional and listening support
- support you with workshops to help you learn or improve your skills
Please call our Carers Support Line on 020 8867 2380 to speak with a Carers Support Worker or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What to do when someone dies
The UK government has produced a comprehensive step-by-step guide for what to do when someone dies. Below is a summary of the important first steps in this guide. We have also created this compact CHECKLIST, which can be printed for ease of reference. CLICK HERE to access the full step-by step guide on the government website.
- Register within 5 days (England) – this includes weekends and bank holidays. You’ll get a ‘certificate for a burial’ to give to the funeral director, or an application for cremation which you need to complete and give to the crematorium. You must do one of these before the funeral can take place.
- When you register the death, the registrar will explain the government’s Tell Us Once service. They will complete the service with you or give you a unique reference number so you can use the service online or by phone (the registrar will give you the number to call). The Tell Us Once Service will contact a number of organisations including HM Revenue & Customs, Passport Office, Department for Work and Pensions, DVLA, the local council and some public sector pension schemes
- To stop or change benefits payments you can tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about the death straight away
- Arrange the funeral. There is a list of accredited funeral directors in Richmond borough on the Richmond.gov.uk website and information below on paying for a funeral.
- Check if you can get bereavement benefits
- Bereavement support payment if your spouse or civil partner has dies
- Guardian’s allowance if you are bringing up a child whose parents have died
- Check the status of your own pension, benefits and taxes and deal with any alterations that need to be made as a result of your relationship with the deceased.
- If your partner who died served as a member of the HM forces or you’re in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or someone with indefinite leave to remain, you should check your own right to remain in the UK. You may need to apply for a new visa.
- Check if you need to apply for probate and pay inheritance tax before you can deal with the property, money and possessions (the estate) of the person who has died.
Local and national bereavement support
Cruse Bereavement Care
National and local support, over the phone and in person. Call 0808 808 1677
The Mulberry Centre
Supports carers, friends and family of patients diagnosed with cancer. Support continues to be available in bereavement
At a Loss
Signposting organisation to help you find local and national support for your situation
National Bereavement Partnership
Practical advice, support and counselling for bereavement. Call the helpline on 0800 448 0800
Offers guidance on what to do after a death
On dealing with bereavement, grief and loss
The Good Grief Trust
Find local and national support for your situation
The Childhood Bereavement Network
For those supporting bereaved children
Offers information and advice about registering a death, arranging a funeral, bereavement benefits, organising someone’s estate and other practical issues
Helping you cope with the death of your brother or sister
The Loss Foundation
The Loss Foundation provides professional led group therapy services
Financial support and benefits
You may be able to claim certain benefits and one-off payments if you lived with or were dependent on the deceased.
Paying for a funeral (gov.uk) – Funeral costs can vary a lot depending on a number of things. A ‘direct cremation’, which has no funeral ceremony as part of the cost, is about £1,500. The costs for using a funeral director can be significantly more, averaging £3,837 (Royal London National Funeral Cost Index Report 2020), therefore the decision to use a funeral director or plan the funeral yourself may have considerable implications for cost saving.
The deceased may have already paid some or all of the cost of their funeral, or they may have left money in their estate to cover it.
You could get a Funeral Expenses Payment (also called a Funeral Payment) if you get certain benefits and need help to pay for a funeral you’re arranging (gov.uk). The payment will not usually cover all the expenses of the funeral and how much you get depends on your circumstances, including other money that’s available, such as insurance policies or the deceased’s estate.
Bereavement Support Payment – You may be able to get Bereavement Support Payment if your husband, wife or civil partner died in the last 21 months. You must claim within 3 months of your partner’s death to get the full amount. You can claim up to 21 months after their death but you’ll get fewer monthly payments. Bereavement Support Payment has replaced Bereavement Allowance (previously Widow’s Pension), Bereavement Payment, and Widowed Parent’s Allowance.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Bereavement Service
The DWP Bereavement Service allows you to report a death to the DWP in a single phone call, which will cover all the DWP benefits the deceased was in receipt of. At the same time, the Bereavement Service can do a benefit check to find out if the next of kin can claim any benefits and take a claim for bereavement benefits or a funeral payment over the phone.
Contact the Bereavement Service helpline on:
Telephone: 0800 151 2012 Welsh language: 0800 731 0453
Textphone: 0800 731 0464 Welsh language textphone: 0800 731 0456
Relay UK – if you can’t hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0800 151 2012
You can use Relay UK with an app or a textphone. There’s no extra charge to use it. Find out how to use Relay UK on the Relay UK website.
The Money Advice Service also has helpful information and support on claiming bereavement support payment and other benefits, funeral costs, and help paying for a funeral as well as what to do when someone dies.
Alternatively you can call or visit your local Jobcentre Plus to discuss claiming bereavement support payment or call 0800 169 0190.
Going back to work
Many carers give up jobs or higher education to care for loved ones, which can leave them feeling uncertain about what to do when their caring role ends. The below organisations can help you think about your next steps after caring
- Working for carers – Working for Carers supports unpaid carers and former carers in London, who are aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. Carers can access free support, which is tailored to meet individual needs.
- Going forward into employment – The GFIE Care Leavers scheme is a pilot working with a small number of Local Authorities to match care experienced young people into Civil Service roles. It is available across the Civil Service, year-round.
- Richmond and Hillcroft Adult College – The RHACC Carers’ Hub provides a range of affordable, accessible activities and services for carers that can help to improve their wellbeing, stay connected, meet people and make friends, plan for the future and access a range of services in the Learning Resource Centre. Once you have joined the Carers Hub you will be contacted by an advisor, who will arrange to meet you and show you the Learning Resources Centre/help you choose a course that works for you.
What if I go first?
There is the possibility that a carer may die before the person for whom they care, which can also raise questions and concerns for carers as they navigate through life and caring. Richmond Carers Centre has created THIS DOCUMENT to help carers ensure that the person for whom they care continues to receive the best support they can if the carers dies or is absent for a prolonged time. Within this document there is also a link to a service called URGENT CARE PLAN, which is a care plan approved and made visible to all urgent care service providers including
- Out-of-hours GPs
- Ambulance services (within the vehicles)
- Hospital emergency departments