Dealing with the loss of someone close is a traumatic experience. But when you’re told the cost of the funeral, it makes the whole ordeal a lot more stressful. If you’re unable to afford funeral costs and there are no funeral plans in place for the deceased, finding the money can seem impossible.
It can become an extremely worrying time during an already painful situation. But in times like this try not to stress, there is financial help available for you.
If you’re eligible, there are two types of financial support you can receive, with one providing help for up to 18 months after the death of a loved one. The amount you get will depend on a range of things, including your local authority and your financial situation.
Who’s eligible for funeral cost help?
For those already on universal credit, housing benefit, income support, child tax credit or pension credit, you could be eligible for government help via the Funeral Expenses Payment. The government scheme was created to help those on a low income to pay for a funeral.
Funeral Expenses Payment
There are two elements to the Funeral Expenses Payment, the first element can cover the following costs:
- Cremation fees
- Travel arrangements for the funeral
- Burial fees for particular plots
- Death certificates
- Any cost of moving the body in the UK
The amount of money you receive depends on the circumstances and costs of the funeral. If the deceased has no assets, you won’t be asked to repay with your own money. However, if the deceased has personal savings or property, the payment will be taken from that.
If the deceased has a prepaid funeral plan, you will only receive up to £120 and this can only be used for items that aren’t covered by their plan.
The second element of this plan will cover:
- Funeral directors’ fees
- The coffin
To claim this, you must keep the receipts and apply for a reimbursement (this can be paid up to £1,000).
How to apply
You must apply within six months of the funeral to make a valid Funeral Expenses Payment claim, even if you’re waiting for a decision on whether you’re eligible.
If you get approved, you will receive the funeral expenses in your bank if you already paid for the funeral. If not, the money will be paid directly to the funeral organizers such as the funeral director.
Bereavement Support Payment
The Bereavement Support Payment is a benefit that pays a lump sum plus 18 monthly payments to the partner of the deceased. You don’t have to be on benefits to receive it. Instead, you’re eligible if:
- You’re under state pension age when your partner died
- Living in the UK or a country that pays bereavement benefits
- Your deceased partner paid at least 25 weeks of national insurance
- Your deceased partner died because of an accident at work
For this scheme, you need to claim within three months of your partner’s death for the full payment. Claiming up to 21 months after the death is valid, but you won’t receive the full amount. You can find out how to claim it on the government website.
If you are on benefits and receiving this payment, it won’t affect your other benefit payments. However, it will affect how many benefits you’re paid if you’re still receiving the bereavement support payment one year after the death.
Charities also provide services to help with funerals, such as Marie Curie, Friends of the Elderly and Care Workers Charity. They usually help under certain circumstances, so make sure you qualify before attempting to arrange one via a charity.
If you’re struggling to afford a funeral, another option is to go to your local council and arrange a Public Health Funeral. However, this will be a very basic funeral. It will include a coffin and funeral director services but wouldn’t include flowers, transport or viewings and can’t be attended. These are usually carried out for those who died alone or have no relatives.
If you’re really struggling to afford a funeral, don’t suffer in silence. Help is out there so make use of it and give your loved one a special goodbye.