Getting State Help With Funeral Costs
Funerals can be an expensive business. They are, by their nature, often an unexpected cost, and one with which many people struggle to cope.
There is a recognition that many people are not in a position to meet the cost of a funeral. In these cases, some help may be available from the state.
Funeral PaymentsYou may be eligible for a one-off Funeral Payment from the Social Fund if you or your partner are in receipt of certain benefits. The Payment may have to be repaid, in full or in part, from the estate.
The relevant benefits include: income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, and Council Tax Benefit.
In order to be eligible you must also have a particular relationship with the deceased individual. You must be either their partner when they died, the parent or guardian (provided there is no parent) of a deceased child, the parent of a child who is still-born, or a close relative or friend who could reasonably be expected to meet the costs of the funeral.
Funeral Payments are available up to £700. They will normally be paid directly to the funeral director, except when you have already paid for the funeral. In these cases, the payment will be made into your bank account. You can make a claim for a Funeral Payment through Jobcentre Plus, or online through the DirectGov site.
Bereavement PaymentYou may be entitled to a Bereavement Payment if your spouse or civil partner has died. In order to qualify, your spouse or civil partner must either have been up to date with their National Insurance Contributions, or their death must have been as a result of their work. In addition, you must have been under the State Pension age at the time of their death.
You will not be eligible if you are living with another person as if you were married or in a civil partnership.
Bereavement Payment is generally a single, tax-free payment of £2,000. It will be made directly to your bank account. Remember, though, that this payment could affect your entitlement to some means-tested benefits. You can make a claim through Jobcentre Plus.
Bereavement AllowanceIf your spouse or civil partner has died, you may be entitled to Bereavement Allowance for up to 52 weeks following their death. This is a taxable benefit.
You may be eligible if: you are aged over 45 at the time of death; you are under the State Pension age; the deceased was up to date with their NICs, or their death was as a result of their work; and you are not currently bringing up children.
As with the Bereavement Payment, you will not be eligible if you are living with another person as if they were your spouse or civil partner.
The amount of the Bereavement Payment depends on your age. If you are 45 at the time of death, you will receive up to £29.30 per week. This gradually increases up to the highest rate of £97.65, which applies to those aged between 55 and the State Pension age.
It is important to remember that Bereavement Payment can have an impact on other benefits you are receiving. You should speak to your nearest Jobcentre Plus for more information, and to apply.