- recently suffered the loss of a partner
- not re-partnered
Eligibility & payment rates
Eligibility for Bereavement Allowance
You may be eligible for Bereavement Allowance if:
- your partner dies
- you have not re-partnered
- you are not eligible for a Service Pension or War Widows Pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- you meet income and assets test requirements
- you meet residency requirements
- you lodge your claim within four weeks to be paid from the date your partner died, or you lodge your claim within 14 weeks to be paid from the date you claim, unless you were pregnant when your partner died
For our purposes a person is considered to have been your partner if you and the person were:
- in a registered relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex)
- in a de-facto relationship (opposite-sex or same-sex)
A registered relationship is one that is registered under certain state and territory laws that provide for registration of relationships, opposite-sex or same-sex.
A de-facto relationship is one in which two people who are not married are living together—or usually live together. We consider a couple to be in a de-facto relationship from the time they commence living together.
When you are not eligible
You cannot get Bereavement Allowance if you are already receiving another type of income support payment. However, if you are receiving another payment, it may be more beneficial for you to transfer to Bereavement Allowance.
Payment rates of Bereavement Allowance
The maximum payment rate of Bereavement Allowance is $712 per fortnight. The rate is updated on 20 March and 20 September each year.
Bereavement Allowance is paid for up to 14 weeks after the death of your partner, to assist you with adjusting to your changed financial circumstances, such as settling financial affairs and arranging ongoing financial support.
If you are pregnant when your partner dies, you may get Bereavement Allowance for the duration of your pregnancy.
Income and assets tests for Bereavement Allowance
To qualify for Bereavement Allowance you need to meet income and assets tests.
Your income affects the amount of payment you receive. Income includes money earned from employment and money deemed to be earned from investments. It also includes money from outside Australia.
Allowable amount of income
You can have income up to $152 per fortnight without having your Bereavement Allowance payments reduced.
If your income is more than the allowable amount, your allowance will be reduced by 50 cents per fortnight for every dollar you receive over the limit.
If you have lived or worked in any country outside Australia and you are claiming or receiving Bereavement Allowance, we may ask you to take steps to get a pension from the other country and advise us of the outcome. We can help you to claim any pensions outside Australia.
Read more about Income test for pensions.
An asset is any property or possession you own either partly or wholly. It includes assets held outside Australia and debts owing to you.
Read more about the Assets test.
Residency requirements for Bereavement Allowance
To meet residency requirements for Bereavement Allowance you must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- you and your partner were both Australian residents when your partner died, or
- you have been an Australian resident and in Australia for a period of, or periods totalling, 104 weeks, or
- you have a qualifying residency exemption (for example being a refugee), or
- you are a woman and:
- Wife Pension was payable immediately before your partner died, or
- a partner service pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs was payable immediately before your partner died, and
- you were not in Australia when your partner died
To be an Australian resident, you must be living in Australia as:
- an Australian citizen or
- the holder of a permanent resident visa or
- the holder of a special-category visa - that is, someone with a New Zealand passport living in Australia, or
- a New Zealand citizen who was in Australia on 26 February 2001 or for 12 months in the two years immediately before that date, or who was assessed before 26 February 2004 as 'protected'
Newly arrived residents generally have a two-year waiting period. Some exemptions apply for refugees, holders of certain other permanent visas, Australian citizens, and in some circumstances their partners and dependent children.
Australia has international social-security agreements with a number of countries. These may help you claim Bereavement Allowance even if you do not have a long enough period of Australian residence, are not an Australian resident, or are not in Australia.
Other benefits while receiving Bereavement Allowance
If you qualify for Bereavement Allowance, you may be entitled to other payments and services, such as:
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- register an intent to claim
- read the conditions for claiming
- complete the claim form
- provide supporting documentation
- submit your claim
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Change of circumstances while receiving Bereavement Allowance
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you are receiving a payment.
For example, if:
- your personal circumstances change
- you re-partner
- you change your address
- your income changes
- you leave Australia
If you do not tell us about the changes within 14 days your payment may be affected. You may be overpaid and you will probably have to pay the money back.
If you deliberately do not tell us about changes, you could be charged with fraud, and a recovery fee may be imposed.
Payments paid while outside Australia
There are rules about getting your payment when you leave Australia.