Losing a spouse can be one of the hardest situations anyone may face. Aside from the emotional impact, there is often a financial burden that comes with losing a loved one, and you may experience a significant change in household income when you become a widower. If you’ve recently lost a spouse, here is some information about financial help that is available to survivors.
The government offers a Bereavement Allowance to widowers whose partner has died within the past 14 weeks who meet specific requirements. For example, you cannot have re-partnered, currently receive a service pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, or receive another income support payment if you are going to qualify. Additionally, income and assets tests are required, and residency rules must be met.
Those who qualify can receive fortnightly payments for up to 14 weeks depending on the date you file the request. To receive the full amount, you must submit the paperwork within 4 weeks of your spouse’s death.
The intention of these payments is to provide financial support as you settle their affairs and to ensure you have some time to make arrangements for ongoing support as needed.
Widowers may be eligible for a lump sum or short-term payment under the Bereavement Payment program. These funds are provided to people who meet certain requirements and are available to those who receive specific forms of government benefits.
In the case of widowers, they may be eligible for a lump sum payment that is typically equal to the amount both members of the couple would have received over the course of up to 14 weeks minus the new single rate. Widowers with partners who were registered for the Pension Bonus Scheme and were not claiming the Age Pension may be eligible for the Pension Bonus Bereavement Payment instead.
Other Government Programs
Depending on the change to your household income, you may also qualify for additional assistance from the government. This can include long-term support regardless of whether you are also a pensioner or receiving payment from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Whether you qualify depends on your personal situation, including current income and assets, so you will need to review your finances to determine the likelihood of eligibility.
Charities and Nonprofits
Most communities have a variety of charities and nonprofits operating in the area who can assist those in financial need. They may be able to offer cash assistance to help with housing costs or even assist with food or transportation. Every organisation dictates the qualifications that must be met in order to receive assistance, but widowers experiencing a significant financial burden that isn’t covered by various benefits may qualify.
It is important to note that most charities and nonprofit organisations have limited funds, so assistance is typically provided on a first come, first serve basis. Further, they can generally only provide short-term assistance, so they can’t be a source of long-term funding. However, they are strong options for people experiencing a financial crisis due to situations like the death of a spouse, so they may be worth exploring as well.
Other financial assistance may also be available for widowers depending on the rest of their financial situation. Begin with the options above, and then perform additional research if more help is required.