What is the Tell Us Once? How can it help me?
Tell us once is a free service offered by most local authorities on behalf of the DWP (department of work and pensions). It allows you to report a death to multiple Government organisations all at once.
How do I use the Tell Us Once service?
To use the Tell Us Once service you must first register the death. Once the death has been registered your registrar will inform you if the service is available in your area and the give you the option to use it.
Some registrars will offer you the service at the same time as registering the death or to arrange an appointment with them to come back at a later date. If you choose to use the service immediately after registering the death or arrange an appointment for a later date, the registrar will run through the government bodies that can be notified to check with you, which ones are relevant to the deceased. Each department is notified immediately, and you be given a letter to confirm you have actioned the service.
Alternatively, you will be given the option to action the service online here or by phone using the contact details provided by your registrar. You will only be able to use the service after the death has been registered and you have been given a unique reference number. You can use the phone or online service, instead of using it in person, if you don’t have all the necessary details at the time of registering the death or if you aren’t ready or feel able to go through the details yet. Once you have your reference number you have 28 days to use the service.
If you use the Tell Us Once service over the phone you will be sent a letter in the post confirming which government bodies have been notified.
If you have used the online service, you will be able to print off a list that confirms which bodies have been notified.
If the Tell Us Once service is not available in your area or you choose not to use it, you will need to notify all the relevant Government Bodies individually yourself.
Which organisations does the Tell Us Once service contact?
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) – To deal with personal tax. Once notified HMRC will contact you with details of any tax that is owed to them by the deceased or tax owing to the deceased.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – To cancel any benefits or state pensions. Once notified the DWP will contact you with details of benefits or entitlements that person had. As well as details of any overpayments made to the deceased that is owed to the DWP or any outstanding payments the DWP owe to the deceased.
Passport office – To cancel their British Passport. This means you will not need to send their passport to the passport office. You do not have to dispose of their passport you can keep it as a memento. It is recommended to cut off the top right-hand corner to prevent it from being used fraudulently if it gets lost or is stolen. If you do not want to keep the passport, please ensure it has been disposed of properly by returning it to the passport office.
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) – To cancel their driving licence and remove their name from up to 5 vehicles. You will still need to contact the DVLA separately if you are going to be keeping the vehicle even if only temporarily, selling the vehicle or keeping a personalised registration number of a vehicle you are selling.
Local Council – To cancel any benefits or entitlements the deceased received, cancel a blue badge, inform council housing services and to have the deceased removed from the electoral register.
Some public sector pension schemes – To cancel pension payments. Currently, the tell us once service will contact:
• My Civil Service Pension
• NHS Pension Scheme
• Armed Forces Pension Scheme
• Local Authority Pension Schemes
Please note, that if the person owned property or land in England or Wales, HM land registry will not be informed under the tell us once service. You will need to contact HM land registry independently to update their records. The ownership of the property will dictate what action must be taken with the Land Registry.
What information or documentation do I need, in order to use the Tell Us Once service?
• The deceased’s date of birth and place of birth
• The deceased’s National Insurance number
• The deceased’s passport number and/or their passport
• The deceased’s driving licence number and/or their driving license
A list and details of what benefits and state pensions the deceased was receiving. If you are not sure if the deceased was receiving benefits or entitlements from a certain government body, you can answer “don’t know” this will notify them of the death and allow them to check their records and take the necessary action.
Who can use the Tell Us Once service?
You can use the Tell Us Once service if you are:
- The immediate next of kin
- A surviving spouse or civil partner
- The executor or administrator of the estate
- If you are not any of the above you will be asked for their contact details when using the tell us once service, you must have their permission to provide this information.