Brief guide to the Tell Us Once service

The last thing we want to do when mourning the loss of a loved one is to sift through paperwork and make multiple calls to all the different organisations that need to be informed of the death. Fortunately, the government has introduced the Tell Us Once service designed to save people time, money and upset.

What is it?

Tell Us Once is a government service that allows people to report a death to a number of government departments in one go. The service is provided by most local authorities on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

What does it cover?

The Tell Us Once service covers the following departments:

  • HM Revenue and Customs: tax and benefits
  • Department for Work and Pensions: benefits such as income support
  • Public sector / armed forces pension schemes: pension payments
  • Passport Office: British passports
  • Local council: Housing benefit, council tax benefit, blue badge, removal from electoral register and informing council housing services
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency: driving license

The Tell Us Once service does not cover ownership of land or property however you can find out more information on this here.

How does it work?

You’ll need to register the death at your local register office in England and Wales or at the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages if you live in Scotland.

Once you officially register the death, the registrar will let you know if Tell Us Once is available in your area, give you the contact details and provide you with a reference number to use online or by telephone. Alternatively, they may offer you a Tell Us Once interview, where the relevant information can be collected.

To use Tell Us Once, you will need the details of the person that has died including their date of birth, National Insurance number, driving license number and passport number. You will also need specific information on benefits/pensions, or local authority services like blue badges that you wish to cancel. And you will need contact details for next of kin and the name and address of any surviving spouse or civil partner and, if it is not you, the person dealing with their estate (the executor or administrator).

Is it available in every local authority?

Not every local authority offers the Tell Us Once service, and it is not available in Northern Ireland. There is a list of authorities where it is not available on the .Gov website.

Where Tell Us Once is not available then you’ll need to contact the departments separately. If you live in a local authority that doesn’t offer Tell Us Once then here’s a useful example of a Bereavement Checklist. It includes a list of who to contact and when you should contact them.

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