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(48 Posts)
Diane54 Sun 20-Jul-14 01:07:57

My husband passed away on 21 June 2014 , I am so upset and angry to find out that I get a bereavement benefit for 52 weeks , and because i am only 60 after a year I am on my own to fend for myself till I am 65 , there answer to that is to sign on job seekers allowance and look for work , I have looked after my mum for a lot of years and then my husband for the last 18 months, I knew nothing about these changes and my husband and myself thought I would get widows pension what a kick in the teeth when you have just lost some one , why have they not made it clear to us people that was born after the year 1950 about these changes, I can not even get a written forecast for when I am 65 because of more changes that are coming , can not believe it has come to this, my husband would be so upset to know I am trying to cope with all this on my own .

Ariadne Sun 20-Jul-14 06:01:33

No wonder you are angry, Diane! And I bet a lot of people don't know about this until, like you, they are forced to face it, and at a time when they have quite enough to cope with.

I can't give you any practical advice, but there are people on GN who will know more about this, and they'll be along soon. Meanwhile, flowers from me. And a hug.

sunseeker Sun 20-Jul-14 08:18:32

I understand your anger. My DH died when he was 63 and we thought I would receive part of his pension but because I retired at 60 and was in receipt of a pension in my own right I am not entitled to any of the money he paid in for over 40 years. As you say when you are already dealing with the loss of a loved one the last thing you need is to have to worry about money.

Aka Sun 20-Jul-14 08:32:16

First of all I am so sorry for your loss, it is very recent and you must be so confused and sad flowers

It's a sad fact of life that many people do not make provision for later in life for a variety of reasons. I can't offer any advice as I don't know enough about your position, such as do you still have a mortgage, did your husband have a works pension, what savings you have or life insurance, etc.

I think you should speak to the CAB to see what advice they can offer you. Other people speak highly of them and they will have come across others in your situation before.

Diane54 Sun 20-Jul-14 09:23:37

Thank you all for your kind words, the problem is yes I have saved for my pension, but also if you have saving over a certain amount you get penalised for it and can not get any help , so all my saving what was to help me for my pension will slowly disappear over the 4 years I have to keep myself , my husbands contributions are worthless all the years he has paid into the system , he was born in 1939, so they are trying to make woman 60 and over go back to work when there all these young people out there with out jobs, the system stinks , I am so angry .

Aka Sun 20-Jul-14 11:55:39

When your savings drop below a certain level you will be eligible for some help. Do visit the CAB.

rosequartz Sun 20-Jul-14 13:20:03

Diane, I am sorry for your loss flowers

Are you sure that this is correct? I thought you would be entitled to a widow's pension until you are entitled to received old age pension (whatever age that will be for you now, not sure).

Perhaps there is some information in here that may help. Anyway, I would question it (CAB as Aka suggests) as sometimes they just do not get it right.

bikergran Sun 20-Jul-14 13:41:49

Diane54 hello, I have just seen your post and although I have been lurking on n off recently I am not ready for posting at the moment, but felt I had to reply to your pos, my DH died on the 30th of July, 3 weeks tomorrow, I am in a similar situation, and am at the moment waiting for a decision as to what I will receive, I cannot have the "lump sum" of £2,000 as my DH had not enough contributions and had already started using his contributions (I am 58 he was 79) I have put in for Bereavement allowance(think it used to be called widows pension) but it is very unlikely that I will be receiving any of this, as between us we did not accumulate enough contributions, as I wasn't able to work as I cared for DH,therefore I am exepcting that I will be put on Jobseekers as soon as, and expected to go and search for work immediately! I think if you do manage to receive the Bereavement allowance then the Jobcenter will at least leave you alone for 12 months.I myself have had no income coming in for 2 weeks now and although I had a tiny bit saved that has now gone.Sorry cannot reply to you in private as your not in Blue.

HollyDaze Sun 20-Jul-14 13:45:17

Hello Diane - I can understand the anger and frustration you feel as I am in the same situation. My husband died January 2013 (he was just 3 months short of his 65th birthday). I was also paid BA for twelve months but nothing after that other JSA (which I haven't claimed as I wasn't in a fit state to work) and told that I couldn't claim any of his pension until I reach 65 - I can't fathom that out as they would have had to pay it on his 65th birthday anyway.

We didn't have a private pension as we had enough money to live on for the rest of our lives - until my husband hid the money from me and wouldn't stay where he'd put it. Then he dies suddenly and I have no idea where it all is so am living on what I got from the sale of our second house (which wasn't much after everyone else thrust their hands into the pot). Such an unfair system isn't it - makes you wonder why we pay taxes sad

bikergran Sun 20-Jul-14 13:48:29

rose I think maybe in days gone by, that yes you were entitled to what's was known as "widows pension" but it is now called "bereavement allowance" and you can only have it for 52 weeks (that's if your entitled to it, as not everyone is) Lets face it, do any of us think of reading up on these things at any time, and then if we do , by the time it comes to us , the dear government decide to switch things around, change the names of allowances just to confuse us all, at a time when our minds are scrambled to start with.

Ana Sun 20-Jul-14 13:48:32

Just to say, biker, that you can send a PM to any poster, whether they're 'blue' or not. Just put their username in the 'send to' box.

bikergran Sun 20-Jul-14 13:50:41

stupid me!!!! not 30th July ! 30th of JUNE! grrrrrrrrrr see what I mean about our minds scrambled! sad

bikergran Sun 20-Jul-14 13:51:15

oh thanks Ana, I didn't know that..thankyou.

Diane54 Sun 20-Jul-14 14:51:06

Hi , you have to be 65 and over to receive widows pension, under 65 it is called bereavement benefit , which is only for 52 weeks then they expect you to go on job seekers allowance , great at 61 starting out looking for work and if anything happens to me before i am 65 then my contributions will go towards keeping some body else on benefit , when is this government going to get there act together, if you lived in America , or Australia they are all clued up with these things .

GrannyTwice Sun 20-Jul-14 15:40:04

I didn't think widows pension existed anymore. Thats the problem for Diane. So for many there will be a gap between the end of bereavement allowance and becoming eligible for the state pension. This gap has to be filled by working or claiming JSA if you meet the conditions. If you have a private pension from your husband, obviously that will help. It's another knock on effect of raising the age at which state pensions can be claimed. It's very sad for people in this situation

rosequartz Sun 20-Jul-14 15:47:35

Sorry if I gave you misinformation, Diane; however, I did try to google what was the latest information on this (why isn't it updated online?).
I would think there may be quite a few women who find themselves in this situation; perhaps we ought to lobby our MPs as I think it is a disgraceful gap in the system.

I don't think Australia are that great at providing pensions, benefits etc for anyone, not that I have heard anyway from relatives and friends who live there.

bikergran, if you click on 'private message' you can message someone even if their name is not in blue.

GrannyTwice Sun 20-Jul-14 15:58:14

There is sadly absolutely no way this legislation will change - I'm not saying it shouldn't, just that it won't on financial grounds alone. And they couldn't change it for widows without changing it for all women. It's the case that a lot of people still don't know about all these pension changes and their impact. Also the reality of older people finding work when they've been carers for several years and out of the formal work force is pretty bleak. It's really sad. The only suggestion I can make Diane is if your husband or yourself was in an occupation or profession which has a benevolent society - they might be able to help out perhaps when your bereavement allowances stops - CABs tend to know about those. I once got ongoing very generous help from RABI for a widow.

Galen Sun 20-Jul-14 16:20:07

I had that when my oh died aged 59. I was 58. Fortunately I already had my occupational pension as I took early retirement on health grounds. I also received a pension from my husbands job.
Aren't you entitled to any pension from his old occupation?

Diane54 Sun 20-Jul-14 17:05:33

Hi , yes I have a private pension from my husband , but not enough to pay my way as this is now half of what he was getting , I will have to wait and see what the dwp say on the 31st of July when they ring me back about my pension forecast for when I am 65, but like I say the goal posts keep moving all the time with out people knowing !!!

mollie65 Sun 20-Jul-14 17:54:33

diane54 - sorry for your loss - it is a tough time.
unfortunately the goalposts and rules keep changing for all of us in receipt (or nearly) of pensions (aka 'benefits') and the limiting of widows pension to 52 weeks for those not of pension age is one of them that is in a way understandable.
the benefits bill is huge and it cannot be justified that younger men or women should receive a pension indefinately purely on the fact they were married or civil partnered and are now bereaved.
at least you have the bereavement pension for 1 year and a private pension even if halved. good luck flowers

Kiora Sun 20-Jul-14 18:05:45

I think this is just awful. Women's lives were very different in our time. Most and I mean 99 % of my friends worked up until the had their first baby then didn't work right up until their children were teenagers or never. We didn't have the opportunities women have now. I didn't know anyone who sent their children to nursery. In fact I'd never seen a nursery. We had play groups. My children went mornings or afternoons for 3 hours. What I'm saying is that women stayed at home and men went to work.( I'm not insinuating that this is right or wrong it's what we did) I'm sure most men thought they had entered into a sort of 'moral' contract with their country that if they paid their taxes and insurance their wives would be given a part of their pension, enough at least to survive on. A reward for their hard work and her lifelong commitment to her family. The problem is our government has no morals. How on earth is a widow in her late 50's or 60's who spent most or at least a good chunk of her life not working suddenly expected to get a job but more importantly who will give her one. It's ridiculous. ( I am speaking from my own experience I know many women did work I myself worked part time when my youngest went to school. but if my husband had earned enough to allow me to stay at home that's what I would have done. Cleaning and factory work wasn't something Id have chosen. I certainly wouldn't be capable of doing it now.Diane I hope things aren't as bleak as they seem. I send my condolences for your sad loss. If your up to it write to your M.P. It probably won't do any good but at least you can register your disgust at an immoral piece of legislation. angry

GrannyTwice Sun 20-Jul-14 18:23:03

But wives do benefit from their husbands contributions if they( the wives) do not qualify for a pension in their own right when their husband reaches state pension age. If the husband dies, the wife will have a pension on his contributions once she reaches pension age. What has changed is the age at which that pension is paid and the changes to widows pensions. And as fr those of us in our 50s and 60s now, I don't recall thinking there was any other contract with the state if I didn't go out to work other than benefitting from my husbands contributions. Sadly over the years the state pension has been worth less and less since Thatcher broke the link between earnings and pensions and no one after that reinstated it.

GrannyTwice Sun 20-Jul-14 18:26:26

Sorry - was restored by Osborne but there were 30 years when the link was not maintained

janeainsworth Sun 20-Jul-14 19:48:32

Diane If you were a carer for your mother and your husband, you may be able to get NI credits which would give you a better state pension.

Penstemmon Sun 20-Jul-14 21:00:21

Sorry for your loss Diane

I am sorry I cannot offer any additional advice to the comments already offered. If you were in work when the pension rules changed you would have had a letter, probably with your payslip.
I remember getting mine because I scraped in by, a month or so, for getting my pension aged 60 and remember younger colleagues being horrified at the time they would have to wait. But it is so hard to keep track of all those things sometimes and at the time of receiving the info we probably cannot imagine the time will come when we realise we should have taken more notice.

I do hope that CAB or similar help to find a route to help you.