What help there is when an adult dies

Grieving the death of someone in your family is a tough thing to go through. There are many things to consider. We have payments and services that may help you.

Exemptions

You may get an exemption from your requirements, while you’re grieving. You may get exemptions from mutual obligations or activity test requirements if you get one of these payments:

This exemption period may last either:

  • up to 8 weeks from the date of death of an immediate family member
  • up to 14 weeks from the date of death of your partner
  • for the length of the pregnancy if you were pregnant at the time of your partner’s death.

Payments you may get

The type and amount of bereavement payment you get will depend on the following:

  • your individual circumstances
  • your relationship to the person who has died
  • when you tell us about the person's death.

In most cases, you won't need to submit a claim. When you tell us about the death, we’ll work out how much and pay you.

Single income support recipients

When a single allowance recipient dies, we pay their regular payment to their estate up to their date of death. Their payment stops on the day they die. There’s no extra bereavement assistance.

Single pensioners

When a single pensioner dies, we pay their regular payment covering the fortnight in which they died as normal. The executor of the estate can access it from their bank account. Their payment stops after this payment.

Carer Allowance

You may get a Carer Allowance bereavement payment if you’re getting both:

  • Carer Allowance for an adult who dies
  • an income support payment other than Carer Payment not qualifying you for bereavement assistance.

We pay up to 14 weeks of Carer Allowance, as a lump sum.

Carer Payment

If you get Carer Payment for a person who dies, you may continue to get this payment after they die. You can get it for up to 14 weeks after the person's death. This is to give you time to contact us and apply for another income support payment. You may also get a lump sum bereavement payment.

Members of a couple

You may be eligible for a lump sum bereavement payment if your partner dies. This is if you were both getting a pension or income support payment for 12 month or more. It’s usually equal to the total you and your partner would’ve got as a couple, minus your new single rate. This is for up to 14 weeks after your partner’s death.

ABSTUDY Living Allowance

If you’ve been getting for ABSTUDY Living Allowance for 12 months, you may get bereavement assistance if your partner dies. Your partner must also be getting:

  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Social Security benefit, allowance or any combination of these allowances for the previous 52 weeks
  • a pension from us.

If eligible, we pay this as a lump sum. It’s usually equal to the total you and your partner would get as a couple, minus your new single rate. This is for up to 14 weeks after your partner’s death.

Farm Household Allowance

If you’ve been getting Farm Household Allowance for 12 months, you may get a bereavement payment if your partner dies. They must have also got one of the following:

  • a social security pension
  • a Service Pension
  • a Veteran Payment
  • an Income Support Supplement
  • a social security payment for 12 months or more.

If eligible, we pay this as a lump sum. It’s usually equal to the total you and your partner would’ve got as a couple, minus your new single rate. This is for up to 14 weeks after your partner’s death.

JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance

You may get a bereavement payment as a lump sum if your partner dies and you’re claiming or getting either:

You must both be Australian residents at the time of death.

If you are pregnant at the time of the death, we’ll pay you an additional amount. To get this payment you’ll need to provide medical evidence, including the expected date of birth.

Partner Allowance

If you get Partner Allowance, and your partner dies, you may continue to get this payment. You may get it for up to 14 weeks after the person's death. This is to give you time to contact us and apply for another income support payment. You may also get a lump sum bereavement payment.

Pension Bonus Bereavement Payment

You may be eligible for Pension Bonus Bereavement Payment if your partner both:

  • registered for the Pension Bonus Scheme with us or the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • died before making a successful claim for Age Pension and Pension Bonus.

We base the payment on the amount of Pension Bonus your partner would have got. You must submit a claim within 26 weeks of your partner's death.

Medicare, concession and Health Care Card

We won’t issue you a new Medicare Card, Concession or Health Care Card if your partner dies. If you’d like a new card you can ask us to send you one. Otherwise the details will stay the same until your current card expires.

A service provider may charge full price for services received on the person’s date of death. This is because the concession entitlement ceases on the day prior to the death. If this happens the executor or you should talk to the service provider about the charges.

Support services

It may seem difficult at first to take part in social groups and activities. You may or may not want people around you. Counsellors can often help you in times of grief.

Talk with your doctor or local community health centre about your situation. They can give you information, and refer you to support and counselling services.

Use our service finder to find other support available in your area.

There are other support services and information you may find helpful.

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement has online resources for grief.

Beyond Blue provides confidential counselling services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Griefline provides telephone and online counselling services.

Headspace is the national youth mental health foundation. They can help young people who are going through a tough time.

Head to Health is a digital mental health gateway for online and phone mental health services.

Lifeline is a national charity open to all Australians in personal crisis. They have 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. You can also contact a counsellor.

MensLine Australia provides confidential counselling services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Solace Australia provides support for people who have lost their partner.

You can also contact a counsellor through organisations such as:

Help to manage your money

You can get financial help to:

You can speak to a financial counsellor by contacting any of the following:

Read about how to cope financially after losing your partner on the MoneySmart website.

Page last updated: 20 March 2020