Paying for a Funeral

Paying for a funeral – alternatives.

Paying for a funeral is a really big issue with many families, and often tips them into the hands of the money lenders
with their crazy high interest rates. Ideally, everyone should have a prepaid funeral plan, with Independent Advice from our Members. But that is never going to happen, so what other ways are there to pay for a funeral.

Option 1: The family can pay.

Which is fine if they can afford it, at the time of your death. Sadly, many people die at financially inconvenient times, and funeral directors are increasingly concerned about bad debts, so more want to be paid in advance.

Option 2: Crowdfunding

Wayne Leighton of Hartlepool was diagnosed with terminal cancer at just 42, and was expected to die within the year. He had no savings, and didn’t want to be a burden on his family. There was no way he could pay for the funeral himself, so he hit on the idea of crowdfunding. Making a public appeal for help from strangers isn’t going to work for everyone though!
You can read the full story here:

Option 3: Government Funeral Help – if you can get through the hoops.

You could get a Funeral Payment if you’re on a low income and need help to pay for a funeral you’re arranging.

How much you get depends on your circumstances and if you qualify.

You’ll usually have to pay back any money you get from the deceased person’s estate (if they have one).

The Funeral Payment may 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 their was a funeral plan, you’ll only get help for items not covered by the plan.

Full details are in claim form SF200 (link correct at time of writing).

But will you get any help?

  • you must be responsible for the funeral and:
  • claim in time
  • get certain benefits or tax credits
  • meet the rules on your relationship with the deceased.

The rules are different if the person died outside the UK.

Who can claim?

  • The partner of the deceased when they died.
  • A close relative or close friend of the deceased.
  • The parent of a baby stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
  • The parent of the deceased child, if they were under 16 (or under 20 and not in full-time education.)
  • If the parent is ‘absent’, you must be responsible for the child and the absent parent must get a qualifying benefit.

You (or your partner) must get one of:
(BUT if a close relative of the deceased who isn’t getting one of the qualifying benefits you may not be able to claim Funeral Payment so be very careful to check.)

  • 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.

Option 4: The deceased can pay.

It is possible that there is enough money in their bank account to pay for the funeral. Banks and other savings institutions MAY release funds to pay for the funeral, but only with advance agreement, and they certainly won’t allow the deceased to run up an overdraft. Of course, the ideal way is for person to have spoken to one of our members, who are all Independent Funeral Plan Advisers, and have arranged the best possible prepaid funeral plan themselves, taking much of the strain off those left behind.