About the scheme

The scheme is time-limited. Deaths which occurred before the announcement of the scheme will also be considered. The scheme will remain open until the relevant NHS workforce provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 expire. Ministers will then give notice that the Scheme is to close, and a 6-month period will allow any final claims to be made and settled.

The scheme is non-contributory which means there is no cost to staff or employers.

This scheme is separate to the NHS Pension Scheme. If the deceased was also a member of the NHS Pension Scheme then NHS Pension death benefits may also be paid. You will need to complete separate claim forms. The forms will be provided by the NHS Employer or can be found on the bereavement page of the NHS Pensions website.

Who’s covered

The scheme covers staff who:

  • are employed by an NHS body
  • work for organisations that support the delivery of NHS services, including outsourced or subcontracted services
  • work on an NHS contract, including primary care medical and dental services

Staff can be:

  • full-time or part-time
  • permanent or temporary, including agency workers and locums
  • retired staff who return to NHS employment
  • students taking up paid frontline roles

Within adult social care the scheme covers all staff employed by an organisation registered by the CQC to provide personal care and accommodation for persons who require nursing or personal care. In addition, members of the social care workforce in non-CQC registered organisations are also eligible, if their employer receives public funding.

Within children’s social care the scheme covers child and family social workers employed or engaged by local authorities working in high risk circumstances including agency staff. It also covers those working for organisations that receive public funding to deliver children’s social care services includes employees, agency workers and contractors in children’s residential and secure homes or other settings where there is deemed to be a high risk of exposure which could not be avoided due to the nature and location of the work being carried out such as residential special schools.

The coverage of the scheme is broadly drawn across NHS and social care sector employers given the variety of roles and locations, and the ways these may change in response to the pandemic.

Eligibility is work-related, where the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care can reasonably conclude that the person contracted coronavirus in the course of performing their duties.

Eligibility criteria

For a claim to be accepted, the Secretary of State must be reasonably satisfied that:

  • coronavirus disease was wholly or mainly the cause of death
  • the individual was exposed to a high risk of contracting coronavirus disease in circumstances where they could not reasonably avoid that risk because of the nature and location of the work their work
  • the individual contracted coronavirus in the course of their work

Circumstances that likely fall within these criteria are where the individual was:

  • testing or diagnosing whether a person is infected with or contaminated by coronavirus
  • coming into close proximity by reason of caring for, supporting, treating or providing other clinical service to a person who has, or is suspected of having, coronavirus or coronavirus disease
  • providing any other type of service within the same environments where those services are delivered

Where the individual was performing duties that do not fit these scenarios, or if it’s difficult to establish the presence of coronavirus in the workplace, the claimant is invited to explain why they think the individual was exposed to a high risk of contracting coronavirus because of the nature and location of their work. The claimant’s explanation will be appropriately considered.

Claims process

If you believe you may be eligible to make a claim and you have not heard from the deceased’s employer about the claims process, use our NHS and Social Care Life Coronavirus Assurance Scheme 2020 claim form (PDF: 428KB) for individuals working in the NHS or adult and children’s social care in England.

If you need to speak to someone about the process of making a claim, contact us.

The claim form should be completed by the legal personal representative for the deceased or a solicitor acting on behalf of the estate.

The claim form will need to be certified by the deceased’s employer.

To complete the form, you’ll need:

  • details of the deceased
  • details of the legal personal representative or solicitor
  • employment information about the deceased
  • the cause of death, as listed on the death certificate
  • payment details

The legal personal representative or solicitor will also need to provide the employer with the death certificate and either:

  • an original Grant of Probate,
  • original Letters of Administration

If there’s more than one legal personal representative, each person (other than the claimant, if they’re also a legal personal representative) must complete a claim form annex to confirm they agree with the payment details provided on the claim form.

The employer will send the claim form, along with certified copies of the supporting documentation to us.

Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration

To make sure that the life assurance lump sum is paid in line with the wishes of the deceased (if they had a will) or the law (if they had not made a will), the claimant must provide the employer with either a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

The Registrar of Deaths should issue a PA2 leaflet from the government website, alongside the death certificate.

The PA2 leaflet explains how to apply for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. You can also ask a solicitor to apply for probate for you.

If there’s a will, the claimant will receive a Grant of Probate.

If there is no will, they will receive Letters of Administration. These are commonly referred to as ‘probate’. The lump sum will not be payable without probate.

You can find more information on the process and probate application fees on the government website.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, probate applications are taking longer than usual to process.

Probate obtained outside of the UK must be formally resealed in an English Court, known as the Probate Registry.

It may be impractical for someone living overseas to obtain / reseal Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration in this country. For example, because the document has been obtained from a Court that is outside the Commonwealth.

One way that this can be resolved is by the Personal Representative(s) arranging for someone residing in the UK to be given Power of Attorney (POA) to act on their behalf.


Once we have received the completed form from the employer, we’ll process the application and pay the life assurance lump sum into the bank or building society account of the Estate or issue a cheque to the claimant.

We’ll notify the claimant and all Legal Personal Representatives that the life assurance lump sum has been paid.

We’ll also notify the employer that the life assurance lump sum has been paid.

Where payment is due, payment will be made within 30 days of us receiving an authorised claim form and supporting documentation from you and the employer.

If the life assurance lump sum is not paid within 30 days, we’ll pay interest on the unpaid amount.

Interest will be paid at the bank base rate. However, if the life assurance lump sum was not paid within 30 days as a result of some act or omission on the part of the claimant, no interest will be paid.

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