Finding the money to pay for a funeral can be extremely stressful for some families, particularly if you are on a lower income or the death was sudden and unexpected. This can place families under a huge amount of strain and make a difficult time feel even more painful.
Fortunately, financial help is available for those that need it most, and there are several government schemes that provide financial funeral assistance. As a follow-up blog to ‘What happens if I can’t afford a funeral?’, this blog will explain what schemes are available and how you go about getting help.
Public Health Funeral
If a family can’t afford to pay for a funeral and there is no money in the estate, a public health funeral may be the best option. This is suited to families who can’t afford to pay for the funeral in any capacity. They are arranged by either the local authority or hospital, and usually consist of a very simple service and cremation. Friends and family are able to attend a public health funeral, but the funeral director, date and time are chosen by the local authority. Anything considered an ‘extra’, such as funeral cars and flowers, is not included.
How to apply: Contact your local authority as soon as possible to register your request. Each local authority will have a different procedure for how they manage public health funerals, and they will advise you on the next steps. They will also allocate a funeral director to manage the arrangements. If you are unsure where to begin, your local Citizens Advice office should be able to help.
Funeral Expenses Payment
For anyone who is on a low income and in receipt of benefits, you may qualify to receive a Funeral Expenses Payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The payment won’t usually cover the whole bill, and aims to cover some of the essential costs, such as death certificates, cremation/burial fees, funeral transport and some of the funeral director’s fees. If the deceased had money left in their estate, you may be required to pay back any money you receive. Any applications have to be made within six months of a person dying. The money will either be sent direct to the funeral director and deducted from the final bill, or else paid straight into your account (if you apply after the funeral has been paid for). This is a means-tested benefit.
How to apply: You can find out more, check your eligibility and make an application by calling the Bereavement Service Helpline on 0800 151 2012. Alternatively, you can apply online through the government website, or else download and print an SF200 claim form and apply by post (otherwise your local Jobcentre Plus can give you a form).
Bereavement Support Payment
If your partner dies, you may be eligible to receive a Bereavement Support Payment. This applies to the death of a spouse, civil partner or anyone in a long-term cohabiting partnership in which you have at least one child. This benefit isn’t means tested, meaning anyone can apply regardless of their income or work status. It exists to support those facing financial worries following the death of a partner. Your individual circumstances will dictate what financial support you are eligible for – this is typically a one-off payment followed by up to 18 monthly payments.
How to apply: You can find out more, check your eligibility and make an application by calling the Bereavement Service Helpline on 0800 151 2012. Alternatively, you can apply online through the government website, or else download and print a BSP1 claim form and apply by post (otherwise your local Jobcentre Plus can give you a form).
Children’s Funeral Fund
When a child, young person or stillborn baby dies, the bereaved parents or guardian may be entitled to financial support from the government. The Children’s Funeral Fund is a government scheme that will cover some of the funeral costs for children under 18 and stillborn babies born after 24 weeks. This is not a means-tested benefit, and won’t depend on your financial circumstances or work status. This fund helps to pay for burial or cremation fees, and the cost of a coffin (up to £300). It’s worth noting that you can apply for this in conjunction with a Funeral Expenses Payment.
How to apply: If you are using a funeral director then you don’t need to submit any claims. The burial or cremation provider will be able to claim direct for the relevant costs. Your funeral director will then claim for any further costs (such as the coffin). For anyone not using a funeral director, you can make a claim for up to £300 for the coffin through the government website.
If you are concerned about how you will pay for the funeral, speak to your funeral director as soon as possible. Whilst you will need to oversee any applications for financial support (excluding the Children’s Funeral Fund discussed above), they will be able to provide you with support and tailored local advice. They should also reassure you that your loved one is in safe hands, no matter what financial circumstances you find yourself in.
At Dillamore, we believe that everyone deserves a dignified goodbye. To find out more, call us on 01525 372210, use our contact form to send us an email, or schedule an appointment using our online booking tool.