Covenant support for the Bereaved

The statement of the Covenant recognises the bereaved as a distinct cohort in the Armed Forces community, for whom Covenant support is especially appropriate. Outlined below is some of the Covenant support that is bespoke to the bereaved.

The Covenant’s purpose is to remove disadvantage for the Armed Forces community in accessing goods or services, or to offer special provision for appropriate groups. However, much of the support provided to the bereaved does not fall specifically within these categories. Therefore, it does not count as “Covenant”, and is not covered on this website. The Purple Pack outlines the support available to those bereaved in service.

There is support available to the bereaved through the Government, Service charities and Service Associations, depending on circumstances. The Defence Bereaved Families Group meets biannually. This is so that the Ministry of Defence can hear the views of organisations representing specific groups of the bereaved, and matters affecting this cohort may be raised.

Note that support available under the Covenant to the families of currently serving personnel may also apply to bereaved families. Additionally, while the bereaved are not veterans (unless they themselves have served), most of the support flagged as provided to veterans is also available to the bereaved. Therefore, the Covenant support outlined in the Service family and veteran sections of this website may also be applicable to the bereaved. Much work is ongoing to ensure the stakeholder community recognises the bereaved as an important cohort in their own right.

Covenant support that is bespoke to the bereaved

Covenant support that is bespoke to the bereaved includes the following. These are all examples of special provision.

War Widow(er)s Recognition Payment scheme

Widow(er)s of Armed Forces personnel who forfeited their entitlement to a pension for a Service attributable death prior to 2015 and have not had this pension restored are invited to apply for a one-off payment of £87,500 as part of the Government’s continued support for the Armed Forces, their families and veterans. Further information is provided at: War Widow(er)s Recognition Payment.

Press release: Lump sum payment for war widows

Inheritance Tax exemption

The estate of a deceased Service person or veteran may be eligible for an Inheritance Tax exemption. This is if the cause of death is found to be Service attributable, according to the criteria laid out in section 154 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984. A personal representative or next of kin for the deceased should apply to the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre for this exemption.


The Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme was established in 2011. It gives the children of Service personnel whose death is attributable to Service since 1990 a head start in life by enabling them to progress in their post-16 education. The scheme provides a number of different scholarships covering further and higher education.

Funeral expenses

A personal representative or next of kin may be entitled to funeral expenses or a funeral grant for a deceased Service person. Further conditions apply and additional information is provided by the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre.

Maintenance of Service graves

MOD maintains in perpetuity the graves of all personnel who had a Service funeral and headstone, and whose grave is registered to MOD. Additional information is provided by the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre.

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