The Funeral Expenses Payment provides financial help towards funeral costs when someone dies. This guide explains how claiming certain Social Security benefits qualifies you for help paying for a funeral that you need to arrange.
Note: A guide explaining how to get help with funeral costs is also available in Welsh language (Cymraeg). The Funeral Support Payment has replaced the Funeral Expenses Payment for people in Scotland.
Funeral Expenses Payment Amount
The money you get from the government may not cover the full cost of the funeral. But, it can help to cover the cost of:
- Burial fees for a particular plot.
- Cremation fees (and the cost of a doctor’s certificate).
- Death certificates or other related documentation.
- Travel costs to arrange or to attend the funeral.
- The cost of having to move the body (if moved more than fifty miles and within the United Kingdom).
Another payment, up to £700, is also available to cover certain other types of funeral expenses (e.g. the coffin, fees for the funeral director, flowers).
The total amount you get will depend on your circumstances, such as whether there will be any money from an insurance policy or from the estate of the deceased person.
If You Get Money from the Deceased Person’s Estate
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will deduct the Funeral Expenses Payment from any money that you receive from the estate of the deceased person.
Someone’s estate can include money or property that they previously had. But, it will not include a house or personal possessions that they left to a spouse (e.g. widow, widower) or a surviving civil partner.
How the DWP Makes the Funeral Payment
Like most other welfare benefits, the money is paid into a bank, building society, or a credit union account when claimants have already settled the bill for the funeral.
If the bill has not been paid, the money would go directly to the company organising the funeral (e.g. the funeral director).
Funeral Expenses Payment Eligibility
To qualify for financial help with funeral costs from the Department for Work and Pensions, you must (all):
- Be getting one of the qualifying benefits or tax credits.
- Meet the ‘relationship’ rules with the person who died (see below).
- Arrange a funeral in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, or one of the European Economic Area (EEA) countries.
Qualifying Benefits and Tax Credits
To meet the Funeral Expenses Payment eligibility criteria, either you (or your partner if you have one) must be getting at least one of these benefits or tax credits:
You can still make a claim for Funeral Expenses Payment even if you are waiting to get confirmation about your application for these benefits.
The non-resident parent must be getting one of the qualifying benefits if you were responsible for a child who died, but you are not their parent.
You might not get the payment if a close relative of the deceased person is not getting one of the benefits or tax credits.
Rules on Relationship with the Deceased Person
The rules on relationships when someone dies mean you would need to be (either):
- The deceased’s partner when they died.
- A close relative (or close friend) of the deceased person.
- The parent of a baby stillborn after twenty four (24) weeks of pregnancy.
- The parent (or responsible person) for a deceased child who was under the age of sixteen (or under 20 if in approved education or training).
Note: You may not get Funeral Payment assistance if another close relative of the deceased person is working (e.g. a parent or sibling or parent).
You can contact the Social Fund to check your eligibility if the funeral will take place in Switzerland or the European Economic Area (EEA).
Social Fund Contact Details
Telephone: 0800 169 0140
Textphone: 0800 169 0286
Next Generation Text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0140
Welsh language: 0800 169 0240
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
Learn more about phone call charges
How to Claim Funeral Expenses Payment
You need to make an application within six (6) months of the funeral date. This also applies in cases where you are waiting for a decision on a benefit award.
Providing you have an invoice or signed contract from the funeral director (not an estimate) you can make a claim even before the actual funeral takes place.
But, you would not get a decision on a claim if you are getting Universal Credit, until after the next payment.
The quickest way to claim Funeral Expenses Payment is by phoning a Bereavement Service adviser.
Bereavement Service Helpline
Telephone: 0800 731 0469
Welsh language: 0800 731 0453
Textphone: 0800 731 0464
Welsh language textphone: 0800 731 0456
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0469
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
You can also use the adult or child claim form SF200 available on the GOV.UK website to apply for a Funeral Expenses Payment by post. Fill in the application form after downloading it and then send it to the address written on the document.
Note: Some of the procedures for claiming a Funeral Payment differ if you are living in Northern Ireland.
Funeral Expenses Payment Appeal
In situations where you disagree with a Funeral Expenses Payment decision you can make an appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal.