How to find help in paying for a funeral

Rainbow over Poppy's HQ in Lambeth cemetery, with grey sky , roofs and trees

Four minute read

An unexpected death, or one that comes at a difficult time, can make paying for even the simplest funeral seem impossible. However, there are sources of support available if you are struggling with funeral costs, even if these are not always easy to find.

Download our handy guide about help available to pay for a funeral

We’ve highlighted some organisations and websites in the guide and in this blog who we hope can help. However, information and eligibility can change, so please do check the links thoroughly.

We can’t cover everything here, but we are always happy to work with clients to discuss more options and ideas tailored to your needs, or to signpost you to others who can help if we’re not able to within the timeframe. Just get in touch.

Government assistance from the Department for Work and Pensions

If you or your partner receive certain benefits — such as Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Income Support or any of other benefits and tax credits listed here — you might be eligible for a Funeral Expenses Payment from the Department for Work and Pensions. The amount available depends on your exact circumstances.

To be able to apply, you need to be the partner, close relative or close friend of the person who has died — or the parent of someone who died when they were less than 16 years old. There are more details on the government website.

Bereavement Support Payments are also available if your husband, wife or civil partner died in the last 21 months and you were under pensionable age when they died. This consists of an initial payment, followed by up to 18 monthly payments. There’s full information on the government website.

Planning a funeral with Poppy's using a Funeral Expenses Payment

If you are applying for the Funeral Expenses Payment, please let us know as soon as possible.

Payments from the DWP are usually a contribution towards the costs, not the full amount. You are responsible for paying any extra costs, or paying all the costs if your claim is unsuccessful. These costs will need to be paid three working days prior to the funeral.

The Funeral Expenses Payment can help pay some of the costs of:

  • Burial fees
  • Cremation fees, including the cost of the doctor’s certificate
  • Travel to meetings at our Sheen or Tooting locations or travel to attend the funeral
  • The cost of moving the person to our Tooting mortuary (within 50 miles)
  • Death certificates or other documents.

You can also get up to £1,000 for other funeral expenses, such as funeral director’s fees, flowers or the coffin. However, other costs, such as hearses, limo, orders of service or keepsakes, may not be covered.

Full information about who to contact and how to claim a Funeral Expenses Payment.

Grants available for specific groups of people

There are also grants available from other sources, which depend on your background or that of the person who’s died. They could be related to where you live, your occupation or profession or whether you fit into a particular group.

For example, if you or the person whose funeral you are arranging was a care worker, the Care Workers Charity may be able to help. Or if you are linked to a Catholic parish in the Westminster diocese can apply for a funeral grant via Caritas Westminster.

Similarly, Friends of the Elderly accept applications specifically from older people on low incomes, which can include funeral costs, under their ‘financial support’ grant scheme. Some war veterans are also entitled to help with funeral expenses from Veterans UK.

Down to Earth is a service specifically designed to help people who are struggling with funeral costs to find the right support, whatever their background, including information about different grants that are available. You can contact them on 020 8983 5055 or find lots of information on their website.

Help with children’s funeral costs

The Children’s Funeral Fund for England can help to pay for some of the costs of a funeral for a child under 18 or a baby stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy. It is not means-tested — what you earn or how much you have in savings will not affect what you get.

This fund can cover burial or cremation fees (including the cost of a doctor’s certificate) and a coffin, shroud or casket (up to a cost of £300).

What’s different about this fund, is that the funeral director applies on your behalf, rather than you having to complete the application yourself.

Additional help is available. The Child Funeral Charity has funding available for elements of the funeral which are not covered by the Children’s Funeral Fund for England, such as flowers or orders of ceremony.

React, a charity which supports families with terminally ill children, will also consider applications for funeral and memorial expenses.

Find more information about funerals for babies and children here.

Crowdfunding a funeral

This is a way that you can enable people who know you, or who knew the person who has died, to show their support by contributing to the cost of the funeral.

Some of our clients have done this successfully in the past and there are many online platforms that allow you to do this. Beyond has a step-by-step guide to getting started.

Further sources of information

Excellent guides are available from Macmillan and Moneyhelper, covering this information in much more detail.

With help from Down to Earth, we’ve also published this blog full of information about Public Health Funerals.

Find out more about simple and direct cremations or how to have a lower cost funeral.

To stay in touch with all the latest news and updates from Poppy's by email, sign up here or contact us if you need help planning a funeral.

Discover more articles