Help with Funeral Costs

Overview

For individuals and families on low income, Funeral Expenses Payments can be claimed from the government and paid to eligible benefit claimants. The amount you get does not usually cover the cost of a funeral.

This section covers adult funerals, for a child's funeral, please visit Support for Child funeral costs.

Funeral Poverty

Funeral poverty means the price of a funeral is beyond a person’s ability to pay. It is often an unplanned for expense in low income families and funeral costs are alarmingly high and can be lacking in detail at the start of the funeral process. This often leads to a shock bill at an already traumatic time for family.

Quaker Social Action lead a fair funeral campaign to combat funeral poverty. They provide a Find a Fair Funeral search to find your nearest funeral director signed up to their pledge, as follows:

  • We will help people to find funerals that are within their means.
  • We will be open about the price of our services, including third party costs:
    • In initial conversations
    • Within our price lists
    • On our website
  • We will be open about the amount of any deposit we require, and when this and the final balance are required:
    • In initial conversations
    • Within our price lists
    • On our website

How does it work?

You could get a Funeral Expenses Payment (also called a Funeral Payment) if you get certain benefits (see eligibility) and need help to pay for a funeral you are arranging.

If you receive money from the deceased’s estate

Your Funeral Expenses Payment will be deducted from any money you get from the deceased’s estate.

The estate includes any money or property they had but not a house or personal things left to a widow, widower or surviving civil partner.

What will you get?

Funeral Expenses Payment can help pay for some of the costs of the following:

  • burial fees for a particular plot
  • cremation fees, including the cost of the doctor’s certificate
  • travel to arrange or go to the funeral
  • the cost of moving the body within the UK, if it’s being moved more than 50 miles
  • death certificates or other documents

You can also get money for any other funeral expenses, such as funeral director’s fees, flowers or the coffin. You can get up to:

  • £700 if the person died before 8 April 2020
  • £1,000 if the person died on or after 8 April 2020

The payment will not usually cover all of the costs of the funeral.

How much you get depends on your circumstances. This includes any other money that’s available to cover the costs, for example from an insurance policy or the deceased person’s estate.

Check the claim form notes for full details of what Funeral Expenses Payment covers and for the claim application forms.

If the deceased had a pre-paid funeral plan, you can only get up to £120 to help pay for items not covered by their plan.

How the money is paid

Funeral Expenses Payment is paid into your bank, building society or credit union account if you have already paid for the funeral.

The money will be paid directly to the organiser of the funeral (for example, the funeral director) if you have not paid yet.

Eligibility

You can get a Funeral Expenses Payment if all of the following apply:

  • you get certain benefits or tax credits
  • you meet the rules on your relationship with the deceased
  • you are arranging a funeral in the UK, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland

Benefits and tax credits you must get

You (or your partner) must get one or more of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • the disability or severe disability element of Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit

You might also be eligible if you’re getting a Support for Mortgage Interest loan.

You can still claim Funeral Expenses Payment if you have applied for these benefits and you are waiting to hear about your claim.

If you were responsible for a deceased child but you’re not their parent, the non-resident parent must get one or more of these benefits.

If there is a close relative of the deceased who is not getting one of these benefits, you might not be able to claim Funeral Expenses Payment.

Rules on your relationship with the deceased

You must be one of the following:

  • the partner of the deceased when they died
  • a close relative or close friend of the deceased
  • the parent of a baby stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy
  • the parent or person responsible for a deceased child who was under 16 (or under 20 and in approved education or training

If the funeral will take place in the EEA or Switzerland

Contact the Social Fund to check if you’re eligible.

Social Fund

Telephone: 0800 169 0140

Textphone: 0800 169 0286

NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0140

Welsh language: 0800 169 0240

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm