Monday, June 24, 2024

The Financial Cost of Funerals: What Help is Available to Support the Family With Payments

Funeral costs can be expensive and come at a time when you least expect it. If you need help with paying for a funeral there are various ways you can get help with the expenses. Here we look at the main options.

The Funeral Expenses Payment

The Funeral Expenses Payment is a government scheme designed to help individuals who receive certain benefits or tax credits with the cost of a funeral. It is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The purpose of this payment is to ensure that individuals can provide a respectful and dignified funeral for their loved ones, even if they are facing financial difficulties.

To be eligible for Funeral Expenses Payment, you must meet certain criteria. These include:

  • You must be the partner, close relative, or close friend responsible for the funeral arrangements.
  • You must be receiving one of the qualifying benefits or tax credits, such as Income Support, Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, or Child Tax Credit.
  • You need to be responsible for arranging the funeral and be able to provide documents or receipts related to the costs incurred.

It generally covers essential funeral costs, including burial or cremation fees, the cost of a coffin, transportation costs and some other expenses directly related to the funeral. It may not cover the full cost of an elaborate funeral, and any savings or assets held by the deceased or the person applying may affect eligibility.

The payment is usually made directly to the funeral directors or to the individual who has paid for the funeral.

It’s best to start the application process as soon as possible after the death of your loved one to ensure timely support and to avoid any potential delays in receiving the payment.

Bereavement Support Payment: The Bereavement Support Payment is intended to provide financial support to individuals who have lost their spouse or civil partner, assisting them in adjusting to their new circumstances and meeting their ongoing financial needs.

This payment helps support people during the difficult transition period after the loss of their partner. It is a tax-free benefit that consists of two main components:

Bereavement Support Payment: This is an initial lump sum payment that can help cover immediate expenses. The amount awarded depends on whether the claimant has dependent children or not. If the claimant has dependent children, they may receive an initial lump sum payment of £3,500, followed by monthly payments of £350 for up to 18 months. If the claimant does not have dependent children, the initial lump sum payment is £2,500, followed by monthly payments of £100 for up to 18 months.

Widowed Parent’s Allowance: This component is only available to individuals who have dependent children. It provides monthly payments to help with ongoing financial support. The amount awarded depends on the claimant’s age, with higher payments available until the youngest child turns 20.

To be eligible for Bereavement Support Payment, you must meet certain criteria, including:

  • You must be below the State Pension age when your partner passed away.
  • Relationship to the deceased: You must have been married to or in a civil partnership with the deceased at the time of their death.
  • You must be living in the UK or in a country that is part of the European Economic Area (EEA) at the time of your partner’s death.
  • You should not be receiving certain contributory benefits, such as Retirement or Widowed Parent’s Allowance, at the time of application.

Social Fund Funeral Expenses

In some cases, the Social Fund may help with funeral costs if the deceased has no close relatives or if there are difficulties in covering the expenses. You can contact your local council’s social services department to inquire.

Charitable Organisations

There are several charitable organisations that specifically focus on helping individuals with funeral expenses.

Many local community groups, religious organisations, and faith-based charities have programs or funds dedicated to helping individuals with funeral costs. These organisations often have a strong connection with the local community and may be aware of additional resources and assistance available in your specific area.

Additionally, it’s worth considering broader support organisations that provide general assistance to individuals and families in financial hardship. These may not focus solely on funeral costs but can offer general financial advice and support during challenging times. Citizens Advice Bureau and StepChange Debt Charity can provide guidance on managing debts, accessing benefits, and improving overall financial well-being.

Another option to consider is setting up a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for funeral costs.

Final Thoughts

It’s a good idea to explore all available options for different forms of support. The funeral director you choose can also provide guidance on financial assistance options and help you navigate the process.

Claire James
Claire James
Claire is an accounts manager at Fire Digital UK, an online publishing and content marketing company based in the North West.

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