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Funeral Payment

If you are in receipt of certain benefits and need help to pay for a funeral you are arranging, you may be eligible for help through a Funeral Payment. How much you get depends on your circumstances and if you qualify.

1. What is a Funeral Payment?

If you are in receipt of certain benefits and need help to pay for a funeral you are arranging, you may be eligible for help through a Funeral Payment.

If you are paying for the funeral of a child under 18 or a stillborn child and the funeral took place in England, you may be able to get help from the Children’s Funeral Fund. You can still apply for a Funeral Payment for any additional costs that weren’t covered by the Children’s Funeral Fund.

You do not have to repay a funeral payment, but if the person who has died left money or property the Funeral Payment might have to be paid back out of that.

Applies to: England, Wales, and Northern Ireland

If you live in Scotland you may be able to apply for a Funeral Support Payment instead

Age Rules: There are no specific age rules

Taxable: No

 

2. Can I get a Funeral Payment?

You qualify for a Funeral Payment if you, or your partner, are getting one of the following benefits:

You may also qualify if you are entitled to a Support for Mortgage Interest loan.

If you partner has died and you did not qualify for the any of the benefits listed above while they were alive, you may be eligible for some of them now. You should use the Benefits Calculator to check if you are entitled to any of these benefits. If you are entitled, you should claim it straight away. You do not have to wait for a decision on the claim before you claim a Funeral Payment. 

You will not be granted a Funeral Payment just because you are paying for a funeral. The benefits office has to agree that it is reasonable for you to be responsible for paying for the funeral and that there is no one else who should be paying for it.

If you are claiming for the funeral of your child or partner, you can be paid a Funeral Payment as long as you meet the other qualifying conditions. This applies to lesbian, gay and heterosexual partners. It also applies whether you were married, in a civil partnership or just living together.

If you are a close relative, family member or a friend of the person who has died, you may be able to get a Funeral Payment. However, this will depend on whether there is someone closer or equally close to the person who has died who is not getting benefits. In this situation, the benefits office will consider how well you knew the person who has died and whether it is reasonable for you to accept responsibility for the funeral expenses.

The funeral usually has to take place in the UK to qualify for a Funeral Payment but some may be covered if they take place in an European Economic Area EEA country.

If the person who has died lived in Northern Ireland, you may also be able to claim a Funeral Payment for a funeral in the Republic of Ireland.

You should seek advice if the funeral is not in the UK; you can use our Find an Adviser tool or call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Bereavement Service (England, Wales and Scotland) or Northern Ireland Bereavement Service.

3. How much Funeral Payment will I get?

There is no fixed sum for a Funeral Payment.

A Funeral Payment can cover:

  • Necessary burial or cremation fees

  • The cost of documents needed for the release of the money, savings and property of the person who has died

  • Part of the cost of moving the body to a place of rest (if in the UK and over 50 miles)

  • Part of the cost of transporting the coffin and bearers to the funeral (if in the UK and over 50 miles)

  • The cost of one return journey for you to arrange or attend the funeral

  • Up to £700 for other costs related to the funeral, such as the funeral director's fees, the coffin, cars or flowers.

If the person who died had a prepaid funeral plan, you will not get any help towards costs already covered by the plan. You may still get help with necessary costs not covered or only partly covered by the plan and up to £120 towards other costs related to the funeral.

If the Funeral Payment does not cover the full necessary costs of the funeral, you may be able to apply for a Budgeting Loan as well.

A Funeral Payment does not usually have to be repaid. However, if the person who died left assets and/or money in their estate, this might have to be used to pay back the Funeral Payment. A home lived in by the partner of the person who has died is not counted nor are personal possessions left to relatives.

How will I be paid a Funeral Payment?

Funeral Payment is paid into your bank, building society or post office account if you’ve already paid for the funeral. However, it will be paid directly to the organiser of the funeral (for example, the funeral director) if you haven’t paid yet.

Funeral Payment and other benefits

A Funeral Payment does not count as capital so will not affect other means-tested benefits that you get.

Updated: September 2019

4. How do I claim a Funeral Payment?

You must claim a Funeral Payment within six months of the funeral taking place.

England, Wales and Scotland

Telephone Claim

DWP Bereavement Service:
Tel: 0800 731 0469
Textphone: 0800 731 0464
Tel: 0800 731 0453 (Welsh)
Textphone: 0800 731 0456 (Welsh).

Paper Claim

Download a claim form from the Gov.UK website

Northern Ireland

Telephone Claim

Northern Ireland Bereavement Service: 0800 085 2463.

Paper Claim

Download a claim form from the NI Direct website

Phone your local Social Security/Jobs and Benefits Office for a claim form

What documents will I need to claim a Funeral Payment?

You must send the following documents to support your claim:

  • The funeral director’s final bill or the bill/receipts for the necessary funeral costs if a funeral director wasn’t used

  • The bill or receipt for any other funeral-related costs being claimed for

  • A copy of the funeral plan, funeral bond or other such prepaid arrangement if one exists and any letter from the plan provider about the amount to be repaid

  • The final statement for the bank or similar account of the person who has died

  • If you qualify on the basis of Housing Benefit entitlement, you will need to send the letter from the council showing you are entitled to this.

If you do not have any of this evidence, you should not delay claiming.

Updated: September 2019

5. How do I challenge a Funeral Payment decision?

If you disagree with the decision made on your Funeral Payment claim, you can ask for a written statement of reasons. If you still believe the decision is wrong, for example due to incorrect information being used, you can ask for it to be looked at again. This is called a mandatory reconsideration.

The time limits are strict. You will usually be given one month to dispute a decision so it is important to seek advice and act quickly. If you have missed this deadline, you can still ask for the decision to be looked at again. However, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) might refuse.

If you don’t agree with the decision after it has been looked at again, you can ask an independent tribunal to look at the decision. You should use Form SSCS1  to do this. You cannot usually ask a tribunal to look at a decision until you have gone through the mandatory reconsideration process.