If you’re responsible for arranging the funeral and on a low income, you may be eligible for a Funeral Payment to cover various aspects of the costs. These payments are made through the Social Fund, a government fund to help people with one-off payments and emergency expenses.
There are strict rules about who can get help and how much. As you won’t get a definite decision on your application for a payment until after the funeral, it’s best to check if you are eligible before you make the funeral arrangements.
To qualify for a payment, you or your partner must receive certain means-tested benefits, including Pension Credit. You should also be the person who would usually be expected to pay for the funeral, for example if you are the partner (including same-sex partners) of the deceased. If the deceased had no partner, a close relative or a close friend can be considered for a Funeral Payment but the rules are quite complicated. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can refuse an application from a close relative or friend if it considers that another close relative could arrange and pay for the funeral.
You must claim within three months of the funeral, and you may not be able to get a payment if the deceased person had a pre-paid funeral plan.
If there is no money for a funeral, the council will arrange a public welfare funeral, although they may seek the costs back from the estate. Contact your local council for further information or in Northern Ireland contact the local Health and Social Care board.