Government Funeral payments.
We have posted this information up to help people where the simple precaution of taking out a prepaid funeral plan was not taken by the person who has died. We do understand that not everyone can afford one, even on a low-cost monthly basis, but we do hope that some folk will at least approach our members for help in protecting their families. Please do contact the relevant authorities to see if the funeral payment might be available. The Government payment is a help, but it falls woefully short of providing a reasonable funeral.
The Government funeral payment may help those on a low incomes with the essential costs of a funeral. If you are eligible, you do not have to repay it, though it will be claimed back from the estate of the person who has died in many cases.
Who can claim the Government funeral payment.
You can claim a funeral payment if you or your partner is getting one of the following:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- housing benefit
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit, if your award is high enough
- Working Tax Credit including an extra amount for disability
- Universal Credit.
Your capital (for example, savings) doesn’t affect a funeral payment.
Responsibility for the funeral.
You will not get a funeral payment just because you are paying for a funeral. The Jobcentre Plus office, or Social Security Agency office in Northern Ireland, has to accept that it is right for you to take responsibility for the funeral costs and that no one else who should be paying for it. If you are claiming funeral costs for your child who has died or if you are the partner of the person who has died, you may be paid a funeral payment as long as you meet the benefit conditions. This applies to lesbian and gay partners as well as 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, but it will depend whether there are other relatives alive who are not on benefit. If there is someone closer or equally close to the person who has died who is not on benefit, you cannot usually get a funeral payment. In this situation, Jobcentre Plus will also consider whether it is reasonable for you to accept responsibility for the funeral expenses. They will look at how well you knew the dead person.
What costs can be met
A funeral payment will not cover all the costs of a funeral. It will not pay for expenses which are already covered under a pre-paid funeral plan.
Otherwise, a funeral payment can include:
- the costs of a new burial plot or the costs of cremation
- the cost of transporting the body for the return journey between the funeral home or place of rest and the place where the person died. But only if this journey is over 50 miles. Only the part of the journey over 50 miles will be paid for
- the cost of transporting the coffin and one car of mourners to the funeral, but only if the return journey is over 50 miles. Only the part of the journey over 50 miles will be paid for
- the cost of one return journey for you to attend or arrange the funeral
- the cost of getting documents to release the assets of the person who has died.
A funeral payment (at the time of writing) can also include up to £700 for other expenses, including:
- the funeral director’s fees
- the cost of collecting and transporting a body 50 miles or less
- extra religious requirements.
If there is a private funeral payment plan, there is a limit of £120 for any of these other expenses that are not already covered by the funeral plan.
A funeral payment will be reduced by any available assets of the person who has died. This means any resources they had which can be used to pay towards the funeral, but doesn’t include arrears of benefits owing to them when they died. It also includes:
- lump sum insurance payments
- pension scheme payments
- contributions towards funeral expenses from charities or relatives
- any money paid out under a pre-paid funeral plan.
If you get a funeral payment which does not cover all the costs, you may be able to get a budgeting loan as well.
When to claim a funeral payment
You can claim a funeral payment from the date of death up to three months after the date of the funeral, even if you have already paid the funeral bill.
How to claim a funeral payment
You can claim by:
- phoning the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Bereavement Service. They can take a claim for a funeral payment and bereavement benefits over the phone. They can also do a benefit check to see if the next of kin is entitled to any other benefits as a result of the death
- contacting you local Jobcentre Plus office for a claim form SF200
- downloading an SF200 claim form from the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk.
For more information about the Bereavement Service, see ‘Telling government about the death’ inWhat to do after a death
If you have used a funeral director who has not yet been paid, the funeral payment will usually be sent direct to them. If the funeral director has already been paid, the payment will be made to you. You may not be able to claim back the full costs of the funeral.