HELP WITH FUNERAL COSTS




  On this page

  Important

  Can you get help?

  Qualifying benefits etc

  Who can claim?

  How to claim

  Help and advice

  How much will be paid and what does
it cover?

  If the deceased has a prepaid
funeral plan

  Money you may be able to use for
the funeral


  How the DWP will pay you

  Paying any money back

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Prearranged & Prepaid Funeral
Click to find a funeral director near you

  Important

This page is an extract taken from the SF200 issued by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The information below is subject to change without recourse to this web site and should therefore be considered as advice.

For further information contact your local Jobcentre Plus office.

  Can you get help?

You may be able to get help towards the cost of a funeral if ...


  • you or your partner arranged the funeral in the United Kingdom (UK), and
  • the person who has died had their main home in the United Kingdom when they died. You may also be able to get help if you or your partner arranged the funeral in the European Economic Area or Switzerland. But check with Jobcentre Plus as this will depend on your circumstances.

The DWP use partner to mean ...


  • a person you are married to or a person you live with as if you are married to them, or
  • a civil partner or a person you live with as if you are civil partners.

By United Kingdom the DWP mean England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. European Economic Area countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

If the funeral was not in one of these countries you cannot get help.

  Qualifying benefits

You can only get help towards the cost of a funeral if ...


  • you or your partner are getting one of the following qualifying benefits or entitlements:

    • Income Support
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Pension Credit
    • Housing Benefit
    • Council Tax Benefit
    • Working Tax Credit which includes a disability or severe disability element.
    • Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element. From April 2010 to April 2011 this means a Child Tax Credit rate of £548 a year or more. These figures are for a whole year and will be less for part-years, or
  • the council tax payer where you live gets a Second Adult Rebate because you are on Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit or have a low income.

  Who can claim?

You may get a Funeral Payment if you fall into one of the following groups:


  • you were the partner of the deceased at the time of death. For the purposes of claiming a Funeral Payment, the DWP still treat someone as your partner if you were married to them, and living as a couple, civil partners, or living with them as if you were married or civil partners, immediately before you or they went to live in a care home. Or if you were married or civil partners and living in the same care home.
  • the deceased was a child for whom you were responsible and there is no absent parent (unless they were getting one of the benefits listed earlier when the child died, or they are in one of the groups listed next.) The expression "child" means a person who is treated as a child for the purpose of the Child Benefit Act, which is: a person under the age of 16; a person under the age of 20, not receiving full-time education and the prescribed conditions are satisfied in relation to them, or a person over the age of 20 who is receiving non-advanced full-time education by attendance at either (a) a recognised educational establishment, or (b) elsewhere when it is recognised by the Secretary of State.
  • you were the parent of a still-born child
  • you were a close relative or close friend of the deceased and it is reasonable for you to accept responsibility for the funeral costs, given the nature and extent of your contact with the deceased. By close relative the DWP mean parent, father-in-law, mother-in-law or step-parent, son, son-in-law, step-son or step-son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, step-daughter or step-daughter-in-law, brother or brother-in-law, sister or sister-in-law.

You cannot get a payment as a close relative or close friend of the deceased if ...


  • the deceased had a partner when they died, or
  • there is a parent, son or daughter of the deceased who is not getting a qualifying benefit and whose relationship with the person who has died had not broken down, unless that person is, at the date of death

    • under 18
    • a qualifying young person for the purpose of child benefit
    • aged 18 or over and in full-time education
    • receiving asylum support from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS)
    • a fully maintained member of a religious order
    • in prison or hospital immediately following a period on a qualifying benefit
    • ordinarily living outside the United Kingdom.
    If there is another close relative of the person who has died who is not getting a qualifying benefit, the DWP may need to consider their circumstances.

  How to claim

Fill in form SF200 Funeral Payment from the Social Fund. Send it to Jobcentre Plus with all the documents the DWP have asked you for. You must claim within 3 months of the date of the funeral. If you are waiting for a decision on a qualifying benefit or entitlement you must still claim within the time limit.

Send Jobcentre Plus ...


  • the funeral director’s final bill as soon as you get it, or
  • evidence of the costs incurred if the funeral arrangements were made without using a funeral director, and
  • method of payment form if you have been given one.

  Help and advice

The information in these notes is only a general guide to claiming a Funeral Payment from the Social Fund.

If you want to talk to someone about Funeral Payments get in touch with Jobcentre Plus. The DWP can arrange for someone to see you at home if this is necessary, or at Jobcentre Plus. You can find the phone number and address in the business section of the phone book. Look under Jobcentre Plus. You can also get more information from www.direct.gov.uk.

If you have difficulty filling in the claim form, someone else can fill it in for you. But remember, you must sign the form yourself. Jobcentre Plus can help you fill in the form or you can ask a relative, or friend, or someone at an advice centre.

  How much will be paid and what does it cover?

Important! The DWP will not, under normal circumstances, commit themselves to contributing towards the cost of the funeral until the funeral director issues the funeral account — after the funeral has taken place. If the DWP turn down your application, you as the person responsible for making the funeral arrangements will become liable for the outstanding debt to the funeral director.

When you arrange the funeral, please tell the funeral director that you will be claiming a Funeral Payment from the Social Fund. The DWP can only consider certain costs, and you will be responsible for the balance.

The list below sets out what can be included in the Funeral Payment:


  • the cost of reopening a grave and burial costs, or
  • the cost of opening a new grave and burial costs, including any exclusive right of burial fee, or
  • in the case of a cremation
    – the cremation fee
    – the cost of any doctor’s certificates
    – the cost of removing a pacemaker or other medical device which must be removed before the cremation
  • the cost of any documents needed for the release of the money, savings and property of the person who has died
  • when it is necessary to move the body over 50 miles within the United Kingdom to the funeral director’s premises or place of rest, the reasonable cost of that part of the journey which is over 50 miles
  • when the journey to the funeral is necessarily over 50 miles, the cost of that part of the journey which is over 50 miles for the transport of the coffin and bearers.
  • the necessary cost of a return journey for you to either arrange the funeral, or go to the funeral
  • up to £700 for any other funeral expenses. This amount includes all other costs in connection with the funeral. This might include the coffin, cars and the funeral director’s fees.

If you have a bill for an item which has not been provided by the funeral director. This might be, for example, flowers. The DWP may be able to help with these if the amount paid to the funeral director for other funeral expenses is less than £700.

  If the deceased has a prepaid funeral plan

The DWP need to know if the person who has died had ...


  • a prepaid funeral plan. A prepaid funeral plan is any arrangement made before death to cover some or all of the costs of a funeral.
  • a funeral bond
  • any other prepaid arrangement like these.

The DWP cannot help with any of the items and services listed the previous section which are already fully covered by a prepaid plan. But you may be able to get a payment for ...


  • the necessary cost of any items listed in the previous section that are not covered by the plan
  • the necessary part-cost of any items listed in the previous section that are only partly covered by the plan
  • up to £120 for any other funeral expenses.

So that the DWP can make a decision about your claim, they need to know what the plan provides. You should send them a copy of the original plan and any documents you have received from the plan provider showing the items and services that the plan provides for this funeral.

If a prepaid funeral plan was not paid in full before the person died, the DWP will need to know how much has been repaid or will be repaid by the plan provider. You should send them a copy of the original plan and any documents you have received from the plan provider showing the amount to be repaid.

  Money you may be able to use for the funeral

When the DWP work out how much help you can get, they will also look at how much money is available to help you with the cost of the funeral. This could include money from the estate of the person who has died. This could be ...


  • money in a bank, building society or Post Office account. You may be able to ask the bank or building society to pay the funeral bill if there is enough money in the account
  • money from insurance policies
  • money from an occupational pension scheme
  • money from a burial club or something like this
  • any savings or cash of the person who has died
  • contributions towards the cost of the funeral from relatives or charities.

The DWP will not take into account any lump sum Bereavement Payment of £2,000 from social security or compensation payments from the following government funded trusts ...


  • the MacFarlane Trust
  • the MacFarlane (Special Payments) Trust
  • the MacFarlane (Special Payments) (No 2) Trust
  • the Fund
  • the Eileen Trust
  • the Department of Health payments in respect of victims of Creutzfeldt Jakob disease
  • the Skipton Fund
  • the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund.

You will need to tell the DWP if you have paid part of the funeral director’s bill. Tell them how much you have paid, who paid the bill and when it was paid.

  How the DWP will pay you

If the DWP can pay you a Funeral Payment and the funeral director’s bill has not already been paid, they will usually pay directly into the funeral director’s bank account. The DWP may, sometimes, send you a cheque made payable to the funeral director. If so, please give the cheque to the funeral director as soon as you receive it. Send the DWP the funeral director’s method of payment form if you have been given one. If the funeral director’s bill has already been paid the DWP will make payment to you, normally directly into an account. Please give the DWP your account details at Part 10 of the claim form. If you have not used a funeral director, the DWP will make any payment to you, normally directly into an account.

  Paying any money back

A Funeral Payment made from the Social Fund will have to be paid back from the estate of the person who has died. The law says that funeral expenses must be paid before anything else is paid from the estate. By estate the DWP mean ...


  • any assets such as property, land, stocks and shares, savings and any other money or cash belonging to, or owed to, the person who has died
  • any money that comes into the estate after the person dies.

The DWP will write to you or to the person who is looking after the financial affairs of the person who has died. They will ask if the person who has died left any estate from which the Funeral Payment can be repaid. This is because money is not always immediately available to pay for the funeral, but may become available later. For example, money may be released later or you may find an insurance policy you did not know about.

The DWP do not count the home occupied by the partner of the person who has died, or personal possessions left to relatives.



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