Funeral Expenses Payment – getting help with funeral costs
Funerals can be very expensive, with the average funeral in the UK costing £4,184*. Even though it is possible to reduce funeral costs, you might still need help paying for a loved one’s funeral.
If you live in England and Wales and claim certain benefits, you could be eligible for government help with funeral costs, such as the Funeral Expenses Payment (also referred to as Funeral Payment).
If you live in Scotland, you can apply for a Funeral Support Payment. It has replaced the Funeral Expenses Payment in Scotland.
What is the Funeral Expenses Payment?
Funeral Expenses Payment is a government scheme for people on a low income or receiving certain benefits, to help them pay for a funeral. If you need help paying for a funeral, it's worth checking your eligibility for the Funeral Expenses Payment.
Who qualifies for the Funeral Expenses Payment?
To qualify for the Funeral Expenses Payment, you must:
- Be responsible for arranging the funeral
- Receive certain benefits or tax credits
- Meet the rules on your relationship with the deceased
- Arrange a funeral in the UK, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
Benefits and tax credits you must get:
You (and 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 Benefit
- Universal Credit
If there’s a close relative of the deceased who is getting one of the qualifying benefits you may not be able to claim Funeral 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 there’s a close relative of the deceased (such as a sibling or parent) who isn’t getting one of the qualifying benefits you may not be able to claim Funeral Payment.
If you do receive money from the deceased’s estate, your Government Funeral Payment will be deducted from this. The estate includes any money or property they had but does not include a house or personal things left to their widow, widower or surviving civil partner.
What you'll get
Exactly how much you get will depend on your circumstances, including any other money that is available to cover costs (such as insurance policies or money from the deceased’s estate). It is unlikely the Funeral Expenses Payment will cover all the costs of the funeral.
A Funeral Payment will help to cover some of the costs of a basic funeral including:
- Burial fees for a particular plot
- Cremation fees (including the cost of a doctor's certificate required for cremation)
- Travel to arrange or attend the funeral
- The cost of moving the body within the UK (if it's being moved more than 50 miles)
- Death certificate and any other legal documents required
You can also get up to £1,000 for other funeral expenses such as funeral director’s fees, flowers or a coffin.
If the deceased had a prepaid funeral plan, you can only get up to £120 to help pay for items not included in their plan.
Check the claim form notes for full details of what Funeral Expenses Payment covers.
How to make a claim
You can claim by calling the Bereavement Service Helpline on 0800 731 0469 or downloading a Funeral Expenses Payment claim form, and sending the completed form by post.
You must apply for the Government Funeral Payment within six months of the date of the funeral. You can also make a claim before the funeral if you have an invoice or signed contract from the Funeral Director, however you cannot claim beforehand if you have only been given an estimate of costs.
How the money is paid
The money will be paid directly to the organiser of the funeral (for example, the funeral director) if you have not paid yet.
If you have already paid for the funeral, the Funeral Expenses Payment will be paid into your bank, building society or credit union account.
To find out more information about government help with funeral costs or to and make a claim, visit Gov.uk.
Funeral Support Payment in Scotland
In Scotland, the Funeral Expenses Payment has been replaced by Funeral Support Payment.
Funeral Support Payment is a one-off payment from Social Security Scotland which helps cover the cost of a funeral. It will not cover the full funeral cost, but it should help pay for some of the expenses.
You can get a Funeral Support Payment if all of the following apply:
- You live in Scotland (the person who died may have lived anywhere in the UK)
- You or your partner are responsible for arranging the funeral
- You or your partner are getting certain benefits or tax credits
- The funeral is being held in the UK or in some circumstances in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland
- You are applying after the person has died, up to 6 months after the date of their funeral
You can apply online for Funeral Support Payment - most people take around 25-35 minutes to complete the application form. Alternatively, you can apply by phone on 0800 182 2222 or by post. For more information on eligibility criteria and how to apply, check the mygov.scot website.
Other help with funeral costs that may be available to you:
If you’re not eligible for the Funeral Expenses Payment, you might be able to get other help to pay for the funeral.
Bereavement Support Payment
You may be able to get Bereavement Support Payment (BSP) if your husband, wife or civil partner died in the last 21 months. You must claim within 3 months of your partner’s death to get the full amount. You can claim up to 21 months after their death but you’ll get fewer monthly payments.
Bereavement Support Payment has replaced Bereavement Allowance (previously Widow’s Pension), Bereavement Payment, and Widowed Parent’s Allowance.
Learn more about the Bereavement Support Payment.
Children's Funeral Fund for England
The Children’s Funeral Fund for England* 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.
Unlike the Funeral Expenses Payment and Bereavement Support Payment, it is not means-tested: 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 the burial fees or cremation fees, including the cost of a doctor’s certificate and a coffin, shroud or casket (up to a cost of £300). Should you be eligible for the Funeral Expenses Payment, you might be able apply for this to cover any other funeral expenses up to the value of £1,000.
Learn more about support for child funeral costs.
*In Wales, burial and cremation fees aren’t charged for children’s funerals, and in Scotland, the Scottish Government are working closely with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to remove all burial and cremation fees for children’s funerals.
Public Health Funeral
Public Health Funerals (often referred to as a pauper’s funeral) are provided by local authorities for people who have passed away and have no next of kin, or whose next of kin, relatives or friends are unable or unwilling to make the necessary arrangements for a funeral.
As a public health funeral is considered a last resort where there is no other alternative, there can be no contributions or part funding from the bereaved.
Taking steps to reduce funeral costs
If you do not qualify for government help with funeral costs, you can take steps to reduce the cost of the funeral to ensure it’s more manageable for you.
At Simplicity, we provide simple funerals which cover the essential elements of a cremation, without the obligation to pay for traditional ceremonial elements you may feel are unnecessary - allowing you to reduce funeral costs by up to 76% vs the average basic funeral*.
Our services are available throughout all of mainland Great Britain, from just £995. See our funeral prices for more information.
For help arranging an affordable funeral, contact us today. Our phone lines are open 24/7.
* The average cost of a basic funeral in the UK is currently £4,184, SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report, sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2021