Bereavement guide

Bereavement guide

It is a very difficult time following the death of a loved one. We hope the information on this page can help support you through this.

Bereavement guide

We offer various help and support through this hard time.

For helpful advice and support to relatives who have recently suffered the loss of a loved one, please see this bereavement guide below, which is prepared by Northumberland registrars.

Tell us once service

The ‘tell us once’ service helps you tell the people who need to know when someone has died.

What is the ‘tell us once’ service?
Following a death, there are necessary steps you are required to perform. We understand this an already stressful time, so we provide a service to hopefully make things easier for you. Tell us about the death and we will contact the relevant government departments and local council services so you don’t have to.
How we can help you
When someone dies, their death needs to be registered with a registrar. Several other organisations may also have to be contacted and given the same information.

We can help you give the information to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), who will then pass on this information to a number of other government departments and local council services.
How to use our service
You can either use our service:
  • in person, when you register the death
  • by telephone, once you register the death
You will then need to speak to someone at the DWP by calling 0800 085 7308, Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm. The number is free from a BT landline but other providers and mobiles may charge.

If you are calling from Wales, you have the choice of continuing the call in Welsh. For non-English speakers, call the above number and an interpreter will call you back to help. 
Bereavement - frequently asked questions
Who do you tell as part of the service?
We will tell the following organisations:
  • DWP
    • pension, disability and carers service
    • Jobcentre Plus
    • overseas health team
  • Ministry of Defence, Service Personnel and Veterans Agency
    • war pensions scheme
  • HM Revenue and Customs
    • child benefit
    • child tax credit and working tax credit
    • personal taxation
     
  • identity and passport service
  • council services
    • housing benefit office
    • council tax benefit office
    • council housing
    • council tax
    • libraries
    • blue badges
    • bus pass
    • adult services
    • children’s services
    • collection of payment for council services
    • electoral services
    • concessionary travel
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) 
What will you do with the information I give you?
The information you give will be treated securely and confidentially.

The organisations who are contacted will use the information to update records, as well as end services, benefits and credits as appropriate to resolve any outstanding issues.

They may use this information in other ways, but only as the law allows.
 
What information do I need to use our service?
In order for us to provide the right information to the organisations, please bring the following information about the person who has died:
  • their national insurance number and date of birth
  • details of any benefits or services they were receiving
  • their driving licence or driving licence number
  • their passport or passport number and town/country of birth
  • their blue badge (disabled person’s parking badge)
  • their bus pass
We may also ask you for the contact details of the following, provided you have obtained permission from them:
  • their next of kin (closest relative by blood or marriage to the deceased)
  • a surviving husband, wife or civil partner
  • the person dealing with their estate (affairs)
If an inquest is to be held or the death is to be referred to the coroner, the coroner's office will advise you on what steps to take.
 
Next of kin
If you are the next of kin, your entitlement to benefits may change. Please have your own national insurance number and date of birth with you when you attend the register office for the appointment, or if you are using the telephone service.

If you are not the next of kin, or the person who is dealing with the deceased’s estate (money, property and belongings), you can still use the service if you have permission to provide their details and act on their behalf.

Privacy
This service is committed to ensuring your information is protected. Please request our privacy statement to find out how we will use and protect the information you provide.

Please remember it is your responsibility to ensure all organisations paying you a benefit or credit, or providing a service, have correct and up-to-date information about you.
 
Who do I need to notify of the bereavement?
Following someone’s death, various people, companies and other interested parties need to be told:
  • local social services - if meals on wheels, home help and/or day centre transport was used
  • any hospital the person was attending
  • the deceased's local inland revenue office
  • the local benefits agency office to cancel pensions, allowances, benefits
  • any employer or trade union
  • home insurance provider
  • a child’s or young person’s teacher, employer or college should be informed if a parent, brother, sister, grandparent or close friend has died
  • car insurance company - people driving a car insured in the deceased’s name are not legally insured
  • local offices of British Gas, electricity, British Telecom, Royal Mail deliveries, local newsagent, if applicable
  • the local housing department, if the deceased was receiving housing benefit/council tax benefit and also if the deceased was living in property rented from the council
  • any landlord if the deceased lived in rented accommodation
Following a death, as well as informing people and organisations about the loss, some documents and other items may need to be returned:
  • order books and giro cheques will have to be returned to the appropriate benefits office - please make a note of any pension book or order book numbers before you send them back
  • the deceased’s passport, driving licence, car registration documents, membership cards and national insurance papers must all be returned to the relevant offices
  • any library books that might need returning
  • if there was any NHS equipment being used, it will need to be returned to either the hospital or health centre from where it came
  • any medical equipment loaned to the deceased will need to be returned - contact their GP for guidance 

Emotional support

It is a very difficult time following the death of a loved one. We hope that the information on this page can help support you through this.

For helpful advice and support to relatives who have recently suffered the loss of a loved one, please see this bereavement guide prepared by Northumberland registrars. Below, we have compiled a list of helpful websites for emotional support. 

General support and advice
GOV.UK
For assistance in dealing with the death of your loved one and the necessary steps you are required to perform following this. CRUSE bereavement care
A website dedicated to helping everyone come to terms with a loss, regardless of age, race or belief. The Samaritans
If you need someone to talk to, the Samaritans will listen and give support. Age UK
A national organisation for older people. SSAFA Forces Help
A national charity to help serving and ex-service men, women and their families in need. The WAY Foundation
The foundation provides self-help and support for men and women widowed, up to the age of 50, and their children.
  • Tel: 0870 011 3450
The Citizens Advice Bureau
This service offers free, independent and confidential advice on resolving legal and money problems.
Long-term illness
Macmillan
For information, advice or just someone who will listen. CancerLink
This service provides information, practical advice and emotional support to those affected by the illness. The Terrence Higgins Trust
The charity provides help and support for anyone with, or concerned about, AIDS or HIV infection.
Loss of a child
Child Bereavement UK
Support for families when a baby or child dies or is dying or if a child is facing bereavement.
Child Death Helpline
A helpline for all those affected by the death of a child of any age. The Lullaby Trust
Support for families of a baby who has died suddenly. The Still-Birth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS)
The society offers support for bereaved parents and families when a baby dies at, or soon after, birth.
Organ donation
HTA Human Tissue Authority
The authority license and inspect organisations that store and use human tissue for purposes such as research and patient treatment. British Organ Donor Society (BODY)
A self-help and support group of organ donors, those who have received organs and those whose relatives have died waiting for, or after, organ transplant.
Road traffic death
Road Peace
The UK’s national charity for road crash victims. It gives support to those bereaved or injured in a road crash.
Suicide beareavement
Bereavement by suicide is a unique form of grief. If you, or someone you know has been bereaved by suicide, Help is at Hand is a guide offering practical and emotional information and support. It includes stories, advice and sources of help to try and help people feel less alone. Please view the guide here. 

Further information is also available at www.supportaftersuicide.org.uk and printed copies can be ordered from www.orderline.dh.gov.uk by quoting 2901502/Help is at Hand.