Bereavement allowance (BVA) - description

Note: BVA closed to new entrants from 20 March 2020. This page is for historical purposes only.

What is BVA?

BVA is a short-term income support payment that provides financial assistance to recently widowed persons, both male and female, in the period immediately following the death of a partner (1.1.P.85). It is paid under the pension income and asset tests. BVA is generally payable for up to 14 weeks from the date of the partner's death.

How BVA is paid

BVA is usually paid fortnightly.

Supplementary assistance

BVA recipients receive a PCC (

Recipients of BVA MAY also receive one or more of the following as part of their BVA rate:

Policy reference: SS Guide Qualification for RA, Qualification for RAA, 3.12.1 Pension supplement - qualification & payability

Bereavement payment provisions

Recipients of BVA MAY also be entitled to any amounts of income support payment that was owing to the deceased person prior to their death.

Example: The BVA applicant is a member of a couple whose deceased partner was in receipt of an age pension prior to their death. The BVA applicant may be entitled to receive any amounts of pension that were owed, but not paid, to the partner prior to their death. This would usually be in the form of a lump sum payment. The lump sum payment is not considered income when applying the income and assets test for BVA.

Act reference: SSAct section 8(8)(a) Excluded amounts-general

Background information

BVA was formerly the widowed persons allowance.

BVA closed to new entrants from 20 March 2020.

Act reference: SSAct pre-20 March 2020 section 315(1) Qualification for BVA

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.4.9 BVA - qualification & payability, BVA - current rates

Last reviewed: 20 March 2020