Funeral Expenses Payments
If you're on a low income and need help to pay for a funeral you're arranging, you may be able to get a Funeral Expenses Payment from the Social Fund. You might have to repay some or all of it from the deceased person’s estate.
To get a Funeral Expenses Payment you must be responsible for the funeral and:
- get certain benefits or tax credits
- meet the rules on your relationship with the deceased
- claim in time
- meet the rules on where the funeral takes place
Benefits and tax credits
You may be eligible if you or your partner get any of the following benefits or tax credits:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit which includes a disability or severe disability element
- Child Tax Credit
- Universal Credit
You may also be eligible if you get Support for Mortgage Interest loan payments.
The term 'partner' is used here to mean:
- a person you are married to or person you live with as if you are married to them
- a civil partner or person you live with as if you are civil partners
Relationship with the person who has died
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 of the deceased child if they were under 16 (or under 20 and in full-time education)
If the parent is ‘absent’, you must be responsible for the child and the absent parent must get a qualifying benefit.
If there’s a close relative of the deceased who isn’t getting one of the qualifying benefits, you may not be able to receive a Funeral Payment.
The Child Funeral Fund is available as a one-off lump sum payment to cover the expense of a funeral of the death of a child under the age of 18, or stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy.
There is no entitlement to the Child Funeral Fund where a payment has already been made about the expenses associated with the cost of the funeral by any other Government funeral expenses or bereavement schemes.
Claim in time
You must apply within six months of the funeral. You can make a claim even if you’re waiting on a decision on a qualifying benefit.
Location of the funeral
To be eligible:
- the funeral must usually take place in the UK
- if the funeral takes place in the Republic of Ireland, the deceased must normally have lived in Northern Ireland
There are different rules if the funeral takes place:
- outside the UK
- in the Republic of Ireland if the deceased was not normally resident in Northern Ireland
Who is not eligible
As a close friend or relative, you can't get a funeral expenses payment if:
- the deceased had a partner when they died
- there is a parent, son or daughter of the deceased who has not been awarded one of the qualifying benefits or was not estranged from the deceased - this doesn't include family members who are:
- aged under 18
- qualifying young people for the purposes of Child Benefit
- full-time students
- members of religious orders
- in prison or in hospital (and who had been awarded a qualifying benefit immediately before they entered prison or hospital)
- asylum seekers being supported by the National Asylum Support Service
- resident in a care establishment and whose expenses are met in whole or part by a Health and Social Care Trust
- not normally resident in the UK
- there is a close relative of the deceased, other than a close relative in one of the excluded groups listed above, who was in closer contact with the deceased than you were, or had equally close contact and is not getting a qualifying benefit
What you'll get
How much you get depends on your circumstances. The Funeral Expenses Payment can help pay for:
- burial fees and rights to burial in a particular plot
- cremation fees, including the cost of the doctor’s certificate
- up to £1000 for funeral expenses for fees or items such as funeral director’s fees, flowers, coffin
- travel to arrange or go to the funeral
- the costs for moving the body within the UK - but only for the part of the journey that’s over 50 miles
- getting a medical reference, report or documents required in connection with the disposal of the body whether it be by burial, cremation or otherwise
- the cost of documents needed to release the money, savings and property of the person who died
If the person who died had a pre-paid funeral plan, you’ll only get help for items not covered by the plan.
The Department for Communities works out how much help you can get will also look at how much money, other than your personal savings, is available to help you with the cost of the funeral. This could include money from the estate of the person who died and from insurance policies.
It does not include money from arrears of benefit, Bereavement Support Payment or contributions received from charities, friends or relatives towards the cost of the funeral.
You can find the full list of what can be included in the Funeral Expenses Payment claim form.
How the money is paid
Usually, if the funeral director hasn’t been paid, the money is paid to them.
If the funeral director has been paid, the money is paid into your bank, building society or credit union account.
You’ll usually have to pay back any money you get from the deceased person’s estate if they have one. 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.
Other money available
When the Department for Communities works out how much help you can get, it will also look at how much money, other than your personal savings, is available to help you with the cost of the funeral.
This could include money from the estate of the person who died and from insurance policies. It does not include money from arrears of benefit, a Bereavement Payment, Bereavement Support Payment or contributions received from charities, friends or relatives towards the cost of the funeral.
Apply for a Funeral Expenses Payment
You must apply within six months of the funeral. The date the claim form is received in a Department for Communities office is the date payment will be considered from, not the date you downloaded or received the claim form.
If you get Universal Credit, you won’t get a decision on your claim until after your next payment.
You can claim a Funeral Expenses Payment by phone, by downloading a claim form or by asking for a form.
Apply by phone
Call the Bereavement Service helpline. The adviser will also help you claim any other bereavement benefits you’re entitled to.
If you use sign language, you might be able to use the video relay service to apply for a Funeral Expenses Payment using British Sign Language (BSL) or Irish Sign Language (ISL). To access the service go to:
Download a form
Download an application form from the following page:
How to appeal
You can appeal if you disagree with a decision, however, you must usually ask for a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ before you appeal.