If a person in receipt of a social welfare payment dies, it will continue to be paid for 6 weeks to qualified adults in certain circumstances.  If the deceased was getting an increment for a qualified adult, the qualified adult will obtain six weeks of the deceased person’s payment including the increment.

Where a person is receiving one of the relevant benefits and the spouses also receiving one of them, the spouse obtains six weeks of the deceased’s payment plus the spouse’s payment.  If the deceased was a qualified adult, the applicant obtains six weeks of the qualified adult increase.  If the deceased was a person receiving fulltime care and attention, a person getting carer’s allowance or benefits continues to receive it for six weeks.

The payments covered include most social welfare payments including jobseekers allowance and benefit, injury benefit, carers allowance or benefit, disability allowance, illness benefit, state pension, contributory or non-contributory, widow or widower’s and civil partner’s contributory scheme.

The personal representative of a person who is in receipt of a social assistance payment, must not less than three months before distributing assets, inform the Minister in writing of his or her intention to distribute the assets and provide the Minister with a schedule of assets to the estate.

Audit may automatically collate probate records with social welfare payment records.  The provision applies to means tested payments only.

The Department considers schedule of assets against its own records of means.  If there is a discrepancy, a repayment may be required.  If requested within the three-month period, sufficient assets must be retained in order to repay sums that may be determined to be due in excess of the amount to which the person is entitled.

A personal representative, who fails to undertake the obligation, may be personally liable to repay the amount to the Department of Social Welfare.  Proceedings may be taken for  a debt due to the State.  They must be taken within six years of the date of notice to the Department.

A widowed or surviving civil partner’s grant is a payable to a widow or surviving civil partner on the death of a spouse or civil partner. It is a one-off lump sum payment of €8,000.

This grant is available to lone parents, pensioners, widows, widowers or surviving civil partners who have one or more dependent children living with them at the date of death, or a widow or surviving civil partner whose child is born within 10 months of the date of death of her spouse or civil partner.

For the purpose of the Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner Grant, a qualified child is a child up to age 18, who is normally resident in the State and who is living with you. A child aged between 18 and 22 who is normally resident in the State continues to be a qualified child provided they are in full-time education at a recognised school or college.

The 2019 Act  brings the legislative provisions relating to social welfare payments after the death of a claimant fully into line with long-standing policy and practice and confirms that such payments are made to the surviving spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the deceased.

The 2020 Act included the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment in the list of benefits may continue for a period of six weeks after death in certain circumstances. This will bring the Covid-19 Payment into line with other social protection payments for the unemployed including Jobseeker’s Allowance and Jobseeker’s Benefit.

A Bereavement Grant was paid on the basis of social insurance contributions.  It s not paid for deaths after 2013.

It was paid on the death of

  • an insured person,
  • pensioner
  • spouse, civil partner or a co-habitant of an insured person.
  • widow / widower,  surviving civil partner or a co-habitant of an insured person,
  • child under 18 or over 18 year  and less than 22 years and fulltime education.
  • spouse or partner of a person receiving contributory pension,
  • qualified adult of a contributory pensioner,
  • qualified child

Entitlement to a bereavement grant was established in a number of ways.

  • if the insured person had 156 weeks PRSI paid since entering insurable employment
  • if the insured person had at least 26 weeks PRSI paid since entry into insurable employment and 39 weeks paid or credited in the relevant tax year or
  • an average of 39 paid or credited over the three to five years prior to that date or
  • an average of 26 paid or credited since 1979 or since commencement of employment or later and  the end of the tax year before death occurred or pension age is reached.

The bereavement grant was €850.   It was paid to the person responsible for paying the funeral bill.  Proof of the same will be required.

The contribution condition, which applied where the person died under 66  required

  • at least 156 contributions paid since employment
  • 39 paid or credited in the second last year or
  • an average of 39 paid or credited in the previous three to five years before the last year.
  • There are alternative tests for contributions measured from the introduction of PRSI in 1979.

A pensioner is a person in receipt of a State contributory or transition pension, invalidity pension, a widow or widower’s pension, surviving civil partner’s contributory pension, deserted wives benefit. It includes a person who would have been in receipt of these payments, but for receipt of non-contributory pensions, being a category of person who is to be better off on such payment

A qualified adult also included

  •  a person, where the person would have qualified for an increase but for receipt of one of the means tested payments.
  • a qualified child is a person under 18 or over 18 and under 22 in full-time education, ordinarily resident in the State and in relation to whose death, contribution conditions are not satisfied by the person’s insurance or that of his spouse.
  • a person who, at the date of death is between 16 and 22 years and in receipt of disability allowance.

A Bereavement grant is also payable on the death of an orphan or a person in respect of whom a guardian’s contributory payment is payable.

The alternative basis is an average of 26 contributions paid or credited or voluntary since 1979 or if  he  became an insurable employee later, to the end of the contribution year before death.


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