Financing a funeral

Funeral costs

Many people are now beginning to plan ahead for their funeral and pay for their funeral in advance.  This can be done through a funeral plan (where you pay up front or over a short period at today’s prices) or through an insurance policy.  However, for those who have not made provision, the cost of the funeral can be unaffordable.  In this case the closest relative can apply for a Social Fund Funeral Payment if they are on certain benefits (see below) or the Council will arrange the funeral as a paupers’ funeral and the family will have no say in the arrangements and be unable to keep any ashes where cremation has taken place.

The Social Fund Funeral Payment

The Funeral Payment can help pay for:

  • burial fees and exclusive rights to burial in a particular plot
  • cremation fees, including the cost of the doctor’s certificate
  • up to £700 for funeral expenses, eg funeral director’s fees, flowers, coffin
  • travel to arrange or go to the funeral
  • the costs for moving the body within the UK – but only for the part of the journey that’s over 50 miles
  • If the person who died had a pre-paid funeral plan, you’ll only get help for items not covered by the plan.

You can find the full list of what can be included in the Funeral Payment in claim form SF200.

How the money is paid

Usually, if the funeral director hasn’t been paid, the money is paid to them.

If the funeral director has been paid, the money is  paid into your account  – eg a bank account.

Eligibility for Funeral Payment:

Benefits and tax credits

You (or your partner) must get 1 of:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • The disability or severe disability element of Working Tax Credit
  • One of the extra elements of Child Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • How much you get also depends on any other money available, eg from an insurance policy or the deceased’s estate.

If there’s a close relative of the deceased who isn’t getting one of the qualifying benefits you may not be able to claim Funeral Payment.


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