How to find help in paying for a funeral

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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.

We’ve highlighted some organisations and websites in this blog who we hope can help. We are not experts in this areas and 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.

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.

A Funeral Expenses Payment can help pay for some of the costs of burial or cremation fees, travelling to arrange or attend the funeral, death certificates and paperwork, and up to £1,000 for other funeral expenses, such funeral director fees, flowers or the coffin, as long as the funeral takes place in the UK, European Economic Area or Switzerland.

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

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.

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.

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 What is a Simple Cremation? or how to have a lower cost funeral

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