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The Funeral Expenses Payment

Information about the Government's means-tested funeral payment

Last updated: 1 August 2019

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If you are on a low income and claiming certain benefits, you may qualify to receive a Funeral Expenses Payment to help towards your loved one’s funeral costs.

The Funeral Expenses Payment can cover the cost of a person’s cremation or burial and other necessary expenses when someone dies. For more information on either, take a look through our guide to cremations and our guide to burials. This includes death certificates and help to move a loved one more than 50 miles for their funeral, within the UK. It could also help towards your own journey to get to the funeral.

This funeral payment is a means-tested benefit and there are forms that you will have to fill in, in order to assess how much help with funeral costs you may be able to claim. You can make a claim before the funeral if you’ve got an invoice for the bill from the funeral director. You can’t make a claim if you’ve only been given an estimate, however.

You may also qualify to claim help to cover additional costs, from the Funeral Expenses Payment. Up to £700 may be available to help pay for costs such as the funeral director’s fees for looking after your loved one and arranging the funeral, the coffin, flowers, or hearse.

The money will be paid directly to the funeral director if the bill is still to be settled, or into your bank or savings account if you have already paid for the funeral. Claims to the funeral social fund must be made within six months of the funeral.

Since April 2, 2018, it’s been possible to submit supporting evidence for a Funeral Expenses Payment application electronically.

To qualify for the Funeral Expenses Payment, you need to be the person who is responsible for arranging the funeral with the funeral director and you or your partner must be claiming certain tax credits or benefits:

  • 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

The funeral payment is also subject to the relationship you had with the person who died. To qualify, you must have been one of the following:

  • The partner, close friend or relative of the person who died
  • The parent, in the case of babies who were stillborn after 24 weeks into a pregnancy
  • The parent of a child who has died who was under 16, or under 20 and not in full-time education

If you fulfil the criteria, you can make a claim for the Funeral Expenses Payment even if you’re waiting for a decision on a qualifying benefit.

If your loved one had a funeral plan to help cover funeral costs, you may be able to claim a government funeral payment of up to £120 if you qualify. This can only be claimed to pay for funeral costs that were not covered by the funeral plan, however.

When someone dies, the cost of their funeral and any other bills owed may be taken from their estate as a priority. The estate includes any money, savings or property that someone had. It does not include a house or personal things left to a widow, widower or surviving civil partner.

You may be asked to repay any Funeral Expenses Payment you receive, if your loved one’s estate is later assessed to have sufficient funds to cover the funeral costs.

However any money that you have raised to help with the funeral costs – for example, from relatives, friends, charities or fundraising – will not be deducted from the Funeral Expenses Payment you are awarded by the Social Fund.

Find out more about financial help with funeral costs.

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