How to claim a Funeral Expenses Payment
With the cost of funerals rising, it can be difficult to pay for all the arrangements. Depending on your circumstances, there are government funds that may help, such as the Funeral Expenses Payment which supports people who get certain benefits.
Here we explain how the UK government can support you if you’re struggling to pay for a funeral, with guidance on how to apply.
What is the Funeral Expenses Payment?
It’s a scheme to help people in England and Wales who cannot afford to pay for a funeral
How much you can get depends on your circumstances. The government will look at all the information you tell them about your finances, and make a decision on what to give you.
They also take into account any other money that’s available – for example from an insurance policy or the estate of the person who’s died. If the person who died had a pre-paid funeral plan you can get up to £120 to help pay for things their plan does not cover.
You need to be claiming certain benefits or tax credits in order to qualify
You or your partner must get at least one of the following:
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
The disability or severe disability element of Working Tax Credit
Child Tax Credit
People who are getting a Support for Mortgage Interest loan may also be eligible.
If you’ve applied for any benefits and you’re waiting to hear about your claim, you can still apply for the Funeral Expenses Payment.
Eligibility depends on your relationship with the person who died
You need to be:
the partner of the person who died, at the time of their death;
a close relative or close friend of the person who died;
the parent of a baby stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy;
the parent or person responsible for a child who’s died who was under 16 (or under 20 and in approved education or training).
You might not get a Funeral Expenses Payment if another close relative of the person who’s died (such as a sibling or parent) is in paid work.
What does it cover?
It will not usually cover all of the costs of a funeral
But it can help pay for some of it, such as:
Burial fees for a particular plot
Travel to the funeral
The cost of moving the body within the UK, if it’s more than 50 miles
Death certificates or other documents
You can also get up to £1,000 for expenses like funeral director’s fees, flowers or the coffin.
Are funerals getting more expensive?
Average funeral costs in the UK have more than doubled since 2010 - causing 1 in 8 families to go into debt in order to pay for a loved one’s funeral. During the same period, wages in the UK have risen by just 20%. And despite the public outrage over the cost of housing, petrol and utilities, the average cost of funeral prices has risen at a much higher rate. However, alternative options like direct cremation are helping people to create their own memorials for a fraction of the cost.
How do you get the payment?
The easiest way to claim is over the phone
Call the government’s Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 731 0469 and choose option 2. They’ll take you through the application, asking you about your circumstances, your loved one’s assets and any money available.
You can also claim by post. Download the claim form, called SF200, print it and fill it in. Send it to Freepost DWP Funeral Payments or take it to your local Jobcentre Plus.
It’s likely you’ll need to send in some documents to show proof of your circumstances, such as a copy of your loved one’s funeral plan if they had one, or receipts for any funeral costs you’ve already paid for.
How you get the payment depends on whether or not you’ve paid for the funeral:
You’ve already paid: it goes straight into your bank, building society or credit union account.
You have not paid yet: the money goes directly to the organiser of the funeral – for example, the funeral director.
How to arrange a funeral
Not sure where to start? Read our complete guide to arranging a funeral
How to claim a Funeral Expenses Payment before the funeral with Farewill
If you choose to arrange a cremation with Farewill and qualify for a Funeral Expenses Payment, the government can pay us directly.
Here’s how it works:
Whether claiming by phone or post, state that you want the payment to go directly to Farewill.
Include a copy of our invoice with your claim – we can supply this for you after our initial phone call.
Attach some documents about your loved one’s assets to show that there are not enough funds in the estate to cover our cremation fee.
Include details of your relationship with the person who died, along with notes about other family members. This allows the government to work out who is the right person to make the claim.
If you disagree with the outcome of your claim, you can appeal
The government will decide whether, and how much, to pay based on all the information you tell them. If you do not agree with their decision you can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal.
What to do if you’re not eligible
There are other schemes available
If you cannot afford to pay for a funeral but the government decides you do not qualify for the Funeral Expenses Payment, here are some other things that may help:
Bereavement Support Payment
This may allow you to claim financial support that you can use to cover some funeral costs.
If you have children or you’re pregnant, you could receive a lump sum of £3,500 followed by monthly instalments of £350 for up to 18 months. If you do not have children, you could receive £2,500 followed by monthly instalments of £100 for up to 18 months.
You may be able to get this if:
your spouse or civil partner died in the last 21 months;
they paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks;
they died because of an accident at work or a disease caused by work.
You’ll need to have been under the State Pension age when they died, and living in the UK or a country that pays bereavement benefits.
In England, Scotland or Wales, call 0800 731 0469 to apply, or you can claim by post. Find out more about the Bereavement Support Payment online.
This is an interest-free loan for people on income-related benefits. The repayments come directly from your benefits and you only pay back what you borrow. You normally have to repay the loan within two years.
You may be eligible if you, your spouse or civil partner have been receiving one of the following benefits for at least six months:
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
You could get £348 if you’re single, £464 if you have a partner, and £812 if you or your partner claim Child Benefit.
How much you could get depends on:
your ability to pay the loan back;
whether you have savings of more than £1,000 (or £2,000 if you or your partner are 63 or over).
You cannot get a Budgeting Loan if you owe more than £1,500 in total for Crisis Loans and Budgeting Loans.
Children’s Funeral Fund for England
This can help to pay for some of the costs of a funeral for a child under 18 or a baby stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy.
It does not depend on how much money you have – so what you earn or how much you have in savings will not affect what you get.
The Children’s Funeral Fund for England can help pay for:
Cremation fees, including a doctor’s certificate
Coffin, shroud or casket (up to £300)
It does not cover any of the funeral director’s expenses or extra things like flowers.
Funeral directors can apply to claim these fees back on your behalf. If you’re not using a funeral director, the burial or cremation provider can claim for the fees of a burial or cremation, and receive the money directly.
The Children’s Funeral Fund applies to funerals in England only. In Wales, families who register a child’s death can receive £500 from the government towards the funeral and related costs.
Raise money through a JustGiving page
People taking part in charity events like marathons and cycle races often use JustGiving, but you can also use it to raise funds for a funeral. In just a few minutes, you can set how much you’re trying to raise, explain why you need help and create your own page. You can then share this with family, friends and colleagues so that they can help towards funeral costs. You can create your own JustGiving page online.
What happens if someone dies with no money or family?
The local council or hospital can arrange a public health funeral
This usually takes the form of a short, simple cremation service. Historically, it was called a ‘pauper’s funeral’ under the 16th-century English Poor Laws, but most people now refer to it as a public health funeral.
You can attend the funeral, but the local authority will decide the date and time of the service. They do not pay for extra things like flowers, cars or a death notice in the local paper.
UK councils arrange thousands of public health funerals every year, for people who have died alone or in poverty.
We can help you arrange a funeral if you’re on a budget
Our team is here to help you arrange the funeral that’s right for you and your family. Direct cremations start at £800. Get an estimated cost today