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Financial and Benefit Information Following Death

There are a number of Social Welfare and other payments you, your loved ones or someone close to you may be entitled to claim following bereavement or when facing end-of-life.

1.Payments specifically related to death

Bereavement Grant

The Bereavement Grant was discontinued and has not been paid since 1 January 2014. Funeral Grant under the Occupational Injuries Scheme continues to be paid. The bereavement grant had been a once off payment (of €850) based on PRSI Contributions. If eligible it was paid on your death or the deaths of:
  • your spouse or civil partner
  • your widow/widower or surviving civil partner or cohabitant
  • your dependent child
More Information on the Bereavement Grant >>>  The Irish Hospice Foundation as part of our pre-budget submission 2018 called for the reintroduction of the bereavement grant.

Occupational Injuries Scheme Funeral Grant

If the death happened because of an accident at work or while travelling to or from work or as a result of an occupational disease, you may be entitled to a Funeral Grant of €850 under the Occupational Injuries Scheme.  More Information

Supplementary Welfare Allowance Exceptional Needs Payment

You might qualify for benefit if you are unable to pay the costs of the funeral. It is strictly means tested. More Information

Payment for six weeks after death

Generally if the deceased person received a weekly social welfare payment, the payment is continued for six weeks after the death. The rules involved are quite complex. The six-week payment is normally paid in a lump sum by cheque. More Information

Death of a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant

If your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant dies while getting any of the following benefits and the amount included a payment in respect of you, the same rate of payment is continued for six weeks after the death. If you qualify for a widow, widower’s or surviving civil partner’s payment, it is payable from the seventh week. Applicable benefits:
  • State Pension (Contributory, Non-Contributory and Transition)
  • Pre-Retirement Allowance
  • Weekly Supplementary Welfare Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Benefit or Allowance
  • Illness Benefit
  • Disability Allowance
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Benefit
  • Blind Pension
  • Injury Benefit
  • Incapacity Supplement
  • Farm Assist
  • Death Benefit under the Occupational Injuries Scheme
  • Back to Work or Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

Maternity Benefit

If your wife or partner dies while receiving Maternity Benefit, you may qualify for the rest of her entitlement to the payment or for six weeks’ payment, whichever is longer. You do not have to meet the usual PRSI contributions for the benefit.

Death of a child dependant

If your child, for whom you were receiving an Increase for Qualified Child on your social welfare payment, dies, then payment of the Increase for Qualified Child continues for six weeks after the death. Child Benefit ceases from the end of the month during which the child dies.

One-Parent Family Payment

If you are receiving the One-Parent Family Payment and your only child dies, then the payment together with the Increase for Qualified Child is payable for six weeks after the death.

Carer’s Benefit/Allowance

If the person you are caring for dies (and he/she is not your spouse or partner), your Carer’s Benefit or Carer’s Allowance is continued for six weeks after the death. More on benefits and services for carers HERE

Child Benefit

If the person (usually the mother) getting Child Benefit dies, you should contact the Child Benefit Section to get the payment transferred to the other parent or the child’s guardian.

2. Payments for bereaved people 

Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension

If your spouse or civil partner dies, you may be entitled to a Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension from the Department of Social Protection. To qualify, you must satisfy certain PRSI contribution conditions based on either your own PRSI contributions or those of your late spouse or civil partner (the two PRSI records cannot be combined). You may be entitled to this pension even if you are separated from your spouse or civil partner or if you are divorced or your civil partnership has been dissolved. This payment is not means-tested and not affected by other income. This pension cannot be paid if you subsequently marry, enter into a civil partnership or cohabit.

One-Parent Family Payment

If you are a widow, widower or surviving civil partner, with dependent children, and you do not qualify for Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension because you do not have enough PRSI contributions, you might be entitled to the One-Parent Family Payment. If you were living with a partner who was not your spouse or civil partner you may be entitled to the One-Parent Family Payment if your partner dies and you have dependent children. This is a means-tested payment. More Information.

Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner Grant

A once-off grant is payable to a widow, widower or surviving civil partner with dependent children, who are entitled to:
  • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Death Benefit under the Occupational Injuries Scheme
  • Bereavement Grant
  • A Widow's/Widower's Contributory Pension from another EU state or a country with which Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement
More Information

Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension under the Occupational Injuries Scheme

If your spouse or civil partner died as a result of an accident at work or from an occupational disease, you may be entitled to a Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension under the Occupational Injuries Scheme, which is usually paid at a higher rate than the Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension. More Information 

Guardian’s Payment

Orphaned children may be entitled to a Guardian’s Payment (Contributory) depending on the PRSI contributions of their parents,  step-parent, or Guardian’s Payment (Non-Contributory) which is granted on the basis of the orphan’s means test. This is a weekly payment which is usually paid to the guardian of the children up to age 18. The payment may be paid up to age 22 if the children are in full-time education. More Information.

Additional entitlements

Normally, you may only receive one weekly social welfare payment, but there are exceptions. If you are receiving a Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension or One-Parent Family Payment and you are also entitled to either Illness Benefit, Jobseeker’s Benefit, Health and Safety Benefit, Maternity Benefit or Incapacity Supplement you may be paid one of these payments at half the normal personal rate. You may be able to receive a social welfare payment and also receive a half-rate Carer’s Allowance, subject to a means-test. You may receive a Guardian’s Payment in addition to a Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension. A qualified child increase is also payable for the orphan. If you are aged under 66 and qualify for a Blind Pension, you may receive this at the full rate in addition to a Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension or a One-Parent Family Payment. If you are getting an Invalidity Pension and satisfy the conditions for a Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension you can get half the personal rate of Illness Benefit, for a limited time, instead of Invalidity Pension and claim the Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension.

3. Other relevant social welfare benefits and payments 

Medical Cards for terminally ill patients

Patients receiving palliative care who have a terminally illness can receive an Emergency Medical Card.  The application is made by the health professional or frontline H.S.E staff liaising with the patient (usually a GP, Consultant, Medical Social Worker or Local Health Office Staff).

Process for emergency medical card for terminal patients

  • The healthcare professional will forward a detailed medical report along with a completed Emergency Medical Card Application Form
  • The form is then forwarded to the Medical Officer for review and recommendation for eligibility
  • All contact with the Emergency Medical Card Team is made by health professionals or HSE Staff
  • Decisions on applications are usually made within 24 hours of application
Under the guidelines, there is no means testing and a patient’s medical condition must be verified by a GP or a consultant. HSE must be satisfied that applicants  are ordinarily resident in the state. Contact information for local health offices.

Living Alone Increase

The Living Alone Increase is a weekly payment for people receiving certain social welfare payments who are living alone. You must apply separately for this increase. More Information.

Free Travel

You are entitled to a free travel pass if you are permanently living in Ireland and:
  • You are aged 66 or over
  • You are aged between 60 and 66 and your late spouse or civil partner held a free travel pass
  • You are under the age of 66 and are getting certain long-term disability payments or Carer’s
  • Allowance from the Department of Social Protection or similar payments from another EU/EEA member state or a state with which Ireland has a bilateral social security agreement
More Information 

Treatment Benefit

Treatment Benefit includes Dental Benefit, Optical Benefit and hearing aids. Entitlement to any of these benefits is based on PRSI contributions. Dentists, opticians or hearing aid suppliers normally keep stocks of application forms. If you are dependent on your spouse or civil partner and he/she dies when over the age of 60 and eligible for Treatment Benefit, you may continue to be eligible for as long as you remain widowed. More Information

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

The Supplementary Welfare Allowance is a means-tested scheme for people with little or no income. It is not normally paid to people who are in full-time work or to full-time students. Weekly payments may be made to people who do not qualify for any other social welfare payment or who are awaiting a decision on an application for a payment. One-off payments can be made for exceptional or urgent needs. For example, you may qualify for an Exceptional Needs Payment if you do not have adequate means to pay for the funeral. More Information. USEFUL LINKS Carers.ie – practical information and guidance for carers Citizens Information – Public service site with information on death and bereavement Department of Social Protection – Irish government information on bereavement entitlements Money Advice and Budgeting Services (MABS) - free, confidential, independent and nonjudgmental service for people in debt, or in danger of getting into debt, in Ireland NI Direct Government Services Help and services for the bereaved in Northern Ireland   Updated 07/31/2017 
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