The UK has been involved in many armed conflicts and wars in the past. During these times of bloodshed, many men and women lost their lives. Additionally, some veterans became ill or injured and died later. Thankfully, War widows or widowers are entitled to a War Widow’s Pension to help meet living costs. Find out how to get it below.
What Is the War Widow Pension?
This pension is for the wives or husbands of men and women who lost their lives during service in the armed forces. It could be any of the wars and conflicts in which the UK has taken part, for example, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, or the conflict against ISIS.
Who Qualifies for the War Widow Pension?
To be eligible for the War Widow’s pension, the ex-military personnel from forces such as the Army, the Navy, or the Air Force must have been in service on or before 5th April 2005. The person doesn’t need to have been married to the ex-military personnel to receive the War Widow Pension, living as civil partners would suffice.
To apply, you they meet one of the following:
- Died in service on or before 5th April 2005
- Was a civil defence volunteer during World War 2 (between 1939 and 1945)
- Was a naval auxiliary services member, a merchant seaman or a coast guard who passed away as a result of disease or injury during war or was a war prisoner
- Was a member of the Polish Resettlement Forces or Polish Forces under the command of Britain during World War 2 and died while on duty
- Was receiving the War Pensions Constant Attendance Allowance when they died or would have been in receipt if they were in hospital care
- Was in receipt of War Disablement Pension (80% rate) and the Unemployability Supplement
Military personnel sometimes lose their lives in training exercises away from the battlefield. These servicemen and women will also qualify for the War Widow pension.
How To Apply for the War Widow Pension
The applicant will need to provide details of both themselves and their deceased spouse or civil partner. It will include personal information such as name, address, details of children, and documents such as birth and marriage certificates.
Processing times are swift and successful applicants can expect to receive the entitlement on a monthly basis for the rest of their lives. Like all benefits in the UK, the application is free, and there are no costs involved to the applicant.
War Widow’s Pension Payment Rates
War Widow Pension payment rates vary depending on a person’s circumstances and age. No taxes are applied to War Widow Pensions, and all payments are paid into a bank account. The payment rates for 2023 for non-officer ranks are shown in the table below.
|Weekly Rate (Non-Officer)
|Widow less than 40 with children (basic rate)
|Children’s Allowance (for the 1st child)
|Children’s Allowance (for each additional child)
|Widow less than 40 with no children
|Age allowance (65 to 69)
|Age allowance (70 to 79)
|Age allowance (80 and over)
For personnel who were ranked as officers, the War pension varies depending on the exact rank. Check out this UK government website for exact War pension amounts for ranked officers.
Appealing the Decision
If the claim is unsuccessful, it is possible to appeal the decision. Before appealing, the applicant should contact Veterans UK for information on how the finding was reached, and ask for a re-consideration if there is other information Veterans UK was unaware of at the decision-making stage.
Changes in Circumstances
If the widow remarries, starts to live with a new partner, or forms a new civil partnership after 31st March 2015, the War Widow’s Pension will continue to be paid. If these changes in circumstances occurred on or before 31st March 2015, the pension will still be paid if:
- The new relationship started after 5th April 2005
- The diseased civil partner or spouse left the services on or before 30th March 1973
If these conditions are not met, the pension will stop.
What Happens If the Pension Gets Stopped?
The claimant can continue to obtain the pension at a later date in the following scenarios:
- Becomes widowed again
- Gets separated or divorced (including the dissolution of the civil partnership)
- The civil partner passes away
- No longer live with the partner
Veterans UK can provide a grant of up to £2200 towards the cost of the funeral of a veteran if:
- The death was due to a service incident on or before 5th April 2005
- The veteran was receiving War Pension Constant Attendance Allowance (or would have been receipt if they were hospitalised)
- The veteran received Unemployability Supplement with the War Pension assessed at more than 80%
The payment is made to the next of kin, widow, or the person paying for the cost of the funeral.
War Widow Pension Entitlement
The War Widow’s Pension entitlement is available to the partner of a veteran who died in service or due to injury or illness sustained in service. Administered by Veteran UK, the pension package ensures the widow and their children can live dignified lives.