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Guide to Bereavement Support

Guide to Bereavement Support

Sadly, an inevitable part of caring for an elderly parent, relative or friend is the feeling of loss and grief when they die. You will hear us say this a lot, but people experience loss and grieve differently, it is entirely individual. You might not need bereavement support now, however, you might need it later or another member of your family may need some support.  You can always bookmark this page, and share it. 

Bereavement support payments

Our guide to bereavement support includes lots of useful advice on National support services, bereavement care and support near you, information on bereavement support payments and other helpful bereavement and grief resources.  

National bereavement care services

The National charities and organisations listed are a good place to start. Some offer online and over-the-phone emotional support (often for free). Others such as Cruse Bereavement Care have local offices and can offer more face-to-face services.  

Cruse Bereavement Care

Cruse Bereavement Care is the biggest National charity for bereavement and grief support services. They provide people with emotional help in many different ways including a free helpline, webchat, and individual and group counselling sessions. 

Cruse Bereavement Care often provide these services through local hubs, usually associated with or near to major hospices. It is at these hubs where you will be able to access individual or group grief counselling. How quickly they will be able to offer you services will depend on each individual hub’s availability at the time.  

Search for your local Cruse Bereavement Care hub.

Their helpline is staffed by volunteers trained to offer emotional support for free. The helpine is available between 9:30am – 5pm on Mondays and Fridays, 9:30am – 8pm Tuesdays to Thursdays, and from 10am – 2pm on weekends. 

For the Cruse Bereavement Care helpline call 0808 808 1677​. Or try out their online ‘Crusechat’ if you feel more comfortable doing so.

Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland

Cruse Bereavement Care in Scotland is separate to the rest of the UK. They also have a grief support helpline and can offer one-to-one counselling.

For emotional support or access these services call 0808 802 6161 or email support@crusescotland.org.uk

Samaritans helpline

Samaritans is a UK charity that helps people by offering emotional support from volunteers via their 24/7 helpline. Anyone can call and talk to someone who is trained to listen on any topic, which includes grief and bereavement. 

Call the Samaritans on 116 123.

Coroner's Courts Support Service

The Coroner’s Court Support Service (CCSS) is a charity that helps families who are going through the Coroner’s Courts. People might go through the Coroner’s Courts if a death was unexpected or the cause of death isn’t obvious. When cases are referred to the courts it can be an emotional and confusing experience. Their volunteers help families understand the process and are their to support them every step of the way. 

Their support line is open 9am – 7pm every weekday, and 9am -2 pm at the weekend. Call 0300 111 2141  for more information.

Find bereavement support groups near you

Lots of people find support in talking to others who have been through the same experiences. Those who are further along with their grief can offer guidance to those who have recently lost someone. Grief support groups are also a great place to find information about other local services that can help.

The grief groups that are available to you will be dependent on where you live. To search for bereavement support groups near you, you can use one of the following directories:

How to get grief counselling

While some people find they are comfortable talking about death and loss with friends and family, others find it easier to talk to a professional grief counsellor. If you, or someone you know, is finding it difficult to continue on with their day-to-day life following a death, they might benefit from grief counselling. 

Find grief counselling near you

There are many different ways through which people can find grief counselling. The first step is to talk to your GP who might be able to refer you to someone local. It is also worth asking your local Cruse bereavement care and Marie Curie branch whether they can provide or refer to a suitable grief counsellor.

If you would prefer to look for a counsellor privately, search the counselling directory.

Bereavement Support Payments

The Bereavement Support Payment is a government allowance for people who have recently lost a husband, wife, or civil partner. It has replaced the Bereavement Allowance (previously Widow’s Pension), Bereavement Payment, and Widowed Parent’s Allowance.

You are eligible to apply if you lost your partner in the last 21 months (special considerations are available), the deceased was below the state pension age when it happened and they paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks in one tax year since 6 April 1975.

It consists of one initial payment of £2,500 and then monthly payments of £100 (slightly more if you receive child benefits). If you think you are eligible then you should claim within 3 months of their death, to claim the full amount. 

The quickest way to apply is to call the government bereavement service helpline at 0800 731 0469. 

More bereavement resources

The legal and practical things to do after losing someone can be a confusing and stressful time. Our ‘Step-by-step Guide on What to do when Someone Dies‘ will hold your hand through all the key steps. You may also find the following resources helpful:

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