A short-term income support payment for someone whose partner has recently died.
- recently suffered the loss of a partner
- not re-partnered
Eligibility & payment rates
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 residence requirements
- you claim within four weeks from the date your partner died, or
- you claim within 14 weeks from the date your partner died, to be paid from the date you claim. The exception to this rule is if you were pregnant when your partner died, in which case you may be eligible to claim for the duration of your pregnancy.
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.
Bereavement Allowance is adjusted in March and September each year, in line with the changes in the Consumer Price Index. Payment rates are 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.
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 $162 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.
To be eligible for Bereavement Allowance you must be an Australian resident.
You also need to 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
- be exempt from this requirement—for example, by being a refugee, or
- you were receiving Wife Pension and you were not in Australia when your partner died, or
- you were receiving partner service pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and you were not in Australia when your partner died
If you have lived or worked in a country with which Australia has an international social security agreement, it may help you meet these residence requirements
Managing your payment
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, or
- your income changes
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.
There are rules about how long your Bereavement Allowance can be paid when you travel outside Australia.
You may be eligible to receive your income support payment weekly, instead of fortnightly, in certain circumstances.
There is support available to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.