Benefits for newly widowed mum?

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  • Benefits for newly widowed mum?
  • Still getting over this myself but anyhoos – my dad died on 09/01/2009 and we are starting to consider how mum will get on financially. Fortunately dad had a couple of pension funds and mum says that she thinks she has enough to get by on. As yet we haven’t seen how much there is and whether this will prove to be correct (she never has been good with money but we are trying to respect her financial privacy as much as we can).

    Anyway – she has told the state pensions people and straight away her pension has reduced quite considerably. Are there any other benefits we should be looking into (ie council tax relief, water rates relief etc etc etc)?

    Also, my dad had a credit card in his name only (not attached to a joint account with my mum). Would this debt now be written off?

    And here I am, wife neary 18 weeks pregnant with our first (twins) and my dad will never see them from the same world. 🙁

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    Pension credit will top her up to the “minimum” if her income and savings are below the qualifying level – as I understand it.

    If she gets that, then council tax and housing benefit – if she rents – wiould kick in.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    And tell her not to be proud about claiming benefits – she and your father have paid into the system all their lives, they should use it if they need it!

    (From seeing far too many people elderly people struggle as “they have never claimed anything in their lives and won’t start now” – usually followed by a Daily Wail style rant about immigrants and work-shy scroungers)

    I would hope she would accept any benefits she is entitled to. I guess it may be soon time for her to go into the benefits office and ask the question.

    Premier Icon psling
    Subscriber

    First off, sorry to hear of your loss 🙁

    Take your mum in to to someone who knows how all these things work, either CAB or appropriate government dept offices.

    Council tax would be reducable for single person occupancy. Credit card may have to be paid off from his estate. There may be reduced tax payable on reduced income. All sorts of variables. Depends on her age as well.

    Probably the last thing she or you want to be worrying about at the moment but keeping the mind busy at a time like this can be a big help too.

    Midnighthour
    Member

    Also check with the citizens advice (CAB) as they might suggest benefits the Benefits Office ‘forgets’ to mention…

    Premier Icon funkynick
    Subscriber

    Went through this last Jan when my Dad died just before that Christmas…

    My Mum doesn’t qualify for most things, but ask about a bereavement payment, we didn’t even know it existed until I found a leaflet about it amongst all the things given to us with the death certificate. It worked out at about £2000 I think.. and they paid very quickly as well. I believe there is also a weekly allowance, but my Mum didn’t qualify for that.

    And I seem to remember you need to go to a Job Centre Plus to get these sorted out.. at least that was were we ended up.

    Right – so Job Centre and CAB to visit….

    How does dad have an ‘Estate’ though – from what money could the CC Company try to claim from?

    shreck
    Member

    My thoughts are so with you.i lost my dad on the 6th of jan very suddenly from panciatis he fell ill on the sat and passed away on tuesday morning,62 years young fit gym 3 times a week long walks, didnt smoke or drink much,it just does not feel real at all he will so be missed.got to stay strong 4 my mum and 9yr old son.

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Subscriber

    How does dad have an ‘Estate’ though – from what money could the CC Company try to claim from?

    His ‘estate’ will be assets in his name only or his half of any joint assets – house, car, valuable furniture – anything of value really. The card companies could force the sale of these to recover their money – again see the CAB as they are very good with this sort of thing.

    Moses
    Member

    The “Estate” is all his and their jointly held goods.
    Bank account, pension, house, etc.

    My condolences to you and to shreck. It’s a tough time.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    Thoughts with you M_F, and your mum and family.

    At least he will have had the pleasure of seeing the excitement that came from your news. When my wife’s Dad died my M-i-L was fiercely independant about handling the ‘estate’ so i have little first hand experience but i know the local CAB was very helpful for her.

    I’m assuming your mum doesn’t work, but did she? If so, her old company may well have access to advice through the HR dept.

    Gary_M
    Member

    Also, my dad had a credit card in his name only (not attached to a joint account with my mum). Would this debt now be written off?

    When my dad died he left about £800 on a card, I called the card company and they asked me to send in the death certificate and cancelled the debt.

    My mum doesn’t get any benefits and she’s far from wealthy – gets by okay on I think half my dads pension but that’s it.

    waihiboy
    Member

    sorry to hear your loss fella, we went through this few years back when dad passed away.. he had a really crap financial advisor that didnt know sh*t and confused mum.

    in the end i got all his funds, pension bits and bobs, and sat down one day and just called them all up and did it myself. it’s not a nice thing to have to do but mum was at her whits end. make sure you have a good few copies of the death certificate because they won’t do anything without that and get used to writing lots of letters.

    the council tax was cut for mum, i called up and hassled them i think she got a one person allowance.

    the worst part is still getting letters sent to dad 2 years later, just brings it all back for her. the pension is b*llshit though, she only gets half of it after he worked his b*llox off since he was 15.

    best of luck, it gets easier the twins will help loads for your mum, luckily dad saw my nephew about a month before he passed away.

    Premier Icon matthewjb
    Subscriber

    Sorry for your loss.

    I’d speak to the credit card company. They may well right off any debt. At least they may stop adding interest.

    You’ll need to tell the bank that has the joint account as well. I assume you’ve already told the other pension funds.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    the council tax was cut for mum, i called up and hassled them i think she got a one person allowance.

    I’m not sure what other help there might be for Council Tax, but I’m sure there’s a 25% discount if there’s only one person in the house, which applies to everyone.

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    Cant offer any more than sincere condolences mate.
    ATB

    PT

    Age may be a factor. When my dad died (some years a go now) mum failed to qualify for something called “Widow’s Benefit” by just a few days (she was just over 45).

    IHN
    Member

    Again, sorry for your loss.

    My advice would be for you (assuming you’re happy to do it) to gather together all the details of all the companies an policies involved (bank, pension providers, credit card, etc etc) and just start ringing. Most places will be very helpful. Like others have said though, you’ll need lot’s of copies of the Death Cert,

    I don’t wish to be pessimistic, but even though your dad had pension policies they may only pay out until his death (unless they have a specific widow’s pension clause). Worth finding out sooner rather than later.

    All the best.

    jojoA1
    Member

    Call the Department of Work and Pensions in your area, they often have a discrete department for over 65s and certainly in our area they do home visits to do benefits checks for older people and also help them to complete any paperwork required for applying for benefits. This service helps save older and often frail and vulnerable people from the need to queue up with some of the undesirables that hang out at the ‘dole’ office.

    mrsflash
    Member

    Can’t offer any advice but just wanted to say I am very sorry for your loss.

    dooosuk
    Member

    miketually – Member

    the council tax was cut for mum, i called up and hassled them i think she got a one person allowance.

    I’m not sure what other help there might be for Council Tax, but I’m sure there’s a 25% discount if there’s only one person in the house, which applies to everyone.

    There is a Council Tax benefit as well as the single person reduction. To qualify for the benefit though I think you have to have savings of less than £16k and be over 60 (probably some other stuff as well).

    Everybody gets the single occupancy discount though.

    Hope you get it all sorted as easily as possible.

    Premier Icon jj55
    Subscriber

    you may wish to try this Benefits Adviser

    Premier Icon winstonsmith
    Subscriber

    there’s some good advice on here and some that probably doesn’t apply. i would suggest contacting an advice agency rather than jobcentreplus or the pension service as in my experience they don’t give the best advice.

    there’s cab’s in most areas (quality of advice at these is highly variable) and many councils run their own service too

    i’d need to check but i don’t think she’ll qualify for a bereavement payment as it sounds like she’s over 60

    sorry for the loss, and i’d guess your mum might not want to think about money etc – she should have 3 months to start making claims for anything she is entitled (probably pension credit and council tax benefit)

    Mike – hard luck, gutted for you. Tragic that he won’t be able to meet Mastiles jnr x 2.

    The council I work for has a ‘Money matters’ team. They offer free advice on benefit entitlement. The workers I’ve dealt with in our local office are excellent and very thorough. They know the systems inside out and have assisted people I’ve worked with often over many months, representing them at tribunals, appeals, etc. I’m not sure if your mum’s council will have a similar team but it would be worth checking that they do – I’d value their advice more highly than that from Citizens Advice and the DWP. The DWP sometimes ‘forget’ to add on appropriate premiums and benefits to people I’ve worked with. Good luck.

    Dan

    Premier Icon winstonsmith
    Subscriber

    what do you do mr shortbread?

    Social Worker…..don’t tell the lynch mob 😉

    Premier Icon winstonsmith
    Subscriber

    ah. i is a welfare rights adviser

    i’ll keep my opinion of some of the social workers i’ve encountered to myself ahem

    lol….you don’t mean jojo do you…..;-)

    Premier Icon winstonsmith
    Subscriber

    heh. i didn’t, honest! (and i’m not just saying that cus i’ll see her this weekend)

    no, edinburgh’s social work dept employs some people who have no.idea.at.all…

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    Any accounts held in the deceased sole name, shares etc. will need a grant of probate to release. You can do this yourself and save a packet, I believe it’s mainly a form filling and validating exercise.
    Sorry for your loss, just after the Christmas holiday period is probably the worst of times for a death in the family.

    Philby
    Member

    Sorry to hear of your loss!

    In addition to the suggestions above, I suggest that you contact Age Concern as they have a specific advice service aimed at older people, and are used to advising on all the benefits available to older people.

    If either of your parents were in the forces the Royal British Legion also has an advice service in some parts of the country. They may also be able to provide support in other ways as well.

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    mastiles_fanylion

    Sorry to hear about your situation. That sucks!

    If it’s of any help, my best mate is a Wills and Probate lawyer, I can gladly ask him for some advice on your behalf.

    If you post your email address, I’ll send you any info he passes on to me that way, and give you his contact details should you want to speak to him.

    Just revisiting this – thanks for all the other replies – somegood additional suggestions. Will be looking into my mum’s local council to see if they have an advice team and will contact Age Concern.

    Poor mum – Saturday was also the first anniversary of her younger sister’s (who was her best friend) death.

    Mboy – thanks for the offer – if it gets complex I may well see if my mum would like me to contact your friend.

    stompy
    Member

    Hey, I also recently lost my old man…… not an easy time. Not being able to take away mums pain is the worst thing, just feel so helpless but we all do what we can to help where ever we can. Just pull together as a family and remember that it’s ok to feel rubbish, to cry but it’s ok to laugh to, don’t feel guilty for the times when your ok. And just be there for each other…..

    Anyway, bereavement funds are very worth looking into, well hidden away but do pay a lump sum and then a weekly allowence for a year. I would suggest talking to a legal advisor as pension companies and other such asset holders have been known to bend the rules a little. Other then that be careful with inheritence, the goverment will try to take 40%, which is disgusting…..

    All the best to you and your family 🙂

    Cheers stompy – we are trying to be positive and happy. We know dad would not want it any other way. Even to the extent that when I said goodbye at the funeral diretor’s the day before the funeral, I said to him (on seeing him in the open casket in the get-up they put him in) ‘dad, you look daft, you wouldn’t be seen dead in that’. I know he would have laughed. It made me cry.

    stompy
    Member

    Ha, yep, just gotta remember him as he was….. an he’ll always be around, theres a little bit of him in all of you I’m sure. And you know the last thing he’d ever want would be to see you all sad.

    I talk to my old man all the time, curse him for leaving me with 4 women (I’m the youngest with 3 older sisters!!) and say cheers to him everytime I have a drink, which has been alot lately 🙁 , But you deal with it anyway you can. Just make sure that your little uns, although they will not get the chance to spend the time with him that you did, know him as grandad…..

    My Parents were living in Spain when he decided to go to the big pub in the sky. When I flew out on the day to get to mum I met some of the Spanish farmers who were close friends and they all said the same thing, which sticks with me…. “This is life”. Be happy for the times you had and the memories you will always hold.

    All the best mate, good luck with the twins..sounds like hard work!! 😀

    Cheers – when did you lose your dad? You sound very much of the same mentality as me regarding things. At the funeral director’s I also told him off because he had promised to help us decorate an extension we are building and promised to take pictures of our children when they are born to his headstone (although he has been cremated). I also say goodnight to him every night. Jeez – it is hard. 🙁

    stompy
    Member

    He passed on the 14th november…. a week before his 62nd birthday. Two and a half months now. It does get easier mate, believe me, even if at the momment it doesn’t seem like it will. I’ve been through all sorts of emotions, felt things I’d never felt before, something so deep inside that will always be there. One of my friends who lost her Dad 2 years ago said to me “You never get over it, you just learn to live with it”. And I think she’s right, that sadness and helplessness you feel will slowly turn to little smiles when you rememeber his little ways.

    Like I said before don’t be afraid to cry or to laugh, just do what you can to ease the way you feel, I don’t think there is any easy answer. Be angry, be happy, drink yourself to sleep, ride for miles…. whatever it takes mate.

    Whats your e-mail mate? I’ve got something that always makes me smile when i read it, I’ll send it to you…..

    I really do wish you all the best, it will get easier, just pull together as a family and rememeber him as he was

    m.danford@mixd.co.uk

    Yeah we are pulling together – fortunately we are a very close family so we are all helping each other.

    I certainly am not afraid to laugh – it really helps to be realistic and face up to things.

    Like yesterday… My dad always made Sunday lunch for the whole family and we would get together – my wife and I, my younger brother, my elder brother, his wife and two kids and of course mum. Yesterday mum made the meal instead, and we al sat around as we always do, then started joking about how anal dad was when it came to all the place mats being the right way up, all the cutlery being evenly spaced etc, and how he will be watching and laughing at mum trying to be as exact as he always was.

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