Ask Jennings.ie: Bereavement Grant
What is a Bereavement Grant?
The Bereavement Grant is a once-off payment from the State to help with funeral costs. Although eligibility for the grant is not related to your ability to pay for the funeral, it is usually based on PRSI contributions. You must apply within a year of the death.
If you are confused or uncertain on the details of the bereavement grant, you can see www.welfare.ie or www.citizensinformation.ie . Both have phone numbers available for you to speak to someone if you are unsure of how to proceed, or whether you qualify for the bereavement grant.
Amount of Bereavement Grant
A Bereavement Grant is a payment of 850 euro. The grant is usually paid to the person responsible for payment of the funeral bill, by direct payment to an account in a financial institution.
Who can Claim the Grant?
One of the following can claim the payment:
- The personal representative (executor or administrator) of the deceased
- The spouse, civil partner or children of the deceased
- The husband, wife, or civil partner of any of the next of kin
- Any other person claiming entitlement
Is there additional help available?
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to apply for some other social welfare payments. See www.welfare.ie
What if I don’t qualify for a Bereavement Grant?
If you do not qualify for a Bereavement Grant you may get assistance towards the funeral expenses under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) scheme, which is operated by the Health Boards.
No social insurance contributions are required as payment is based on the means of the person responsible for paying the funeral bill.
You should apply to your local Community Welfare Officer at your local Health Centre before you pay the funeral bill, as the cheque will be issued directly to the undertaker/funeral director.
The SWA scheme also provides for Exceptional Needs Payments in particular situations.
To qualify for a Bereavement Grant
The applicant must be an insured person or the spouse, civil partner or dependent child/children of an insured person.
(This includes Class A, Civil and Public servants (Class B and Class D insurance), self-employed people (Class S) and voluntary contributors.)
The deceased must either have a set number of contributions paid over a specified time period (see ‘How to qualify using your social insurance record’ further down this page),
Have been getting one of a number of specified contributory social welfare payments or
Aged between 16 and 22 and getting Disability Allowance.
A Bereavement Grant is paid on the death of:
- An insured person
- The spouse or civil partner of an insured person
- The widow or widower of an insured person
- A child under age 18, or under age 22 if in full-time education (where either parent or the person that the child normally lives with satisfies the PRSI contribution conditions)
- A contributory pensioner
- A spouse or civil partner of a contributory pensioner,
- The qualified adult or qualified child of a contributory pensioner
- An orphan who was getting Guardian’s Payment (Contributory) or on the death of their guardian
- A person who was aged between 16 and 22 and getting Disability Allowance
Note that if a pensioner qualifies for a contributory pension but chose to be paid a non-contributory pension at a higher rate, they or their spouse, civil partner or dependants are still eligible for a Bereavement Grant.
Also, someone for whom the contributory pensioner would have been getting an Increase for a Qualified Adult, but for the fact that they were getting a non-contributory payment in their own right will qualify (for example, a contributory pensioner’s spouse or civil partner who is getting a Carer’s Allowance, State Pension (Non-Contributory) or Blind Pension.)
How to qualify using your social insurance record
To qualify for the Bereavement Grant based on your social insurance contributions, you must have the following:
At least 156 weeks paid PRSI contributions since you began insurable employment
At least 26 weeks paid PRSI since you began insurable employment (see Note below)
Note: If you have at least 26 weeks paid PRSI contributions since you began insurable employment, you must also have:
39 weeks paid or credited PRSI contributions in the relevant tax year
A yearly average of 39 weeks paid or credited over the 3 or 5 tax years before the relevant tax year
A yearly average of 26 weeks paid or credited PRSI contributions between 1979 (or starting work if later) and the end of the tax year before the person died or reached pension age, (age 66 at present)
A yearly average of 26 weeks paid PRSI or credited contributions between 1 October 1970 (or since starting work if later) and the end of the tax year before the person died or reached pension age (age 66 at present)
How to apply
You can also obtain an application form from your local social welfare office. You will need to forward the deceased’s PPS number and death certificate with the application form.
You will also be required to forward the funeral bill or receipt of payment with your application for the grant. (You should note that photocopies of the death certificate and funeral bill/receipt are not acceptable. Death certificates for social welfare purposes are available from the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages).
If a person getting a payment from the Department of Social Protection dies, you should:
- Tell the Department of the death as soon as possible
- Return the person’s social services card (this is the card that they use to collect their EIT (Electronic Information Transfer) payment at the Post Office). You should note both the PPS Number and card number for your reference
- Return their Free Travel Pass
In many cases, the spouse, civil partner, cohabitant or carer will receive a payment for six weeks following the death.
Where to apply
Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Services
All queries must be made using the online enquiry form, by telephone or in writing.
Tel: (071) 915 7100
Locall:1 890 500 000