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Funeral Payment

A Funeral Payment is a non-repayable grant to help with the costs of a funeral or cremation. However, it may not cover all expenses associated with a funeral.

To receive a Funeral Payment:

  • you or your partner – not the person who has died – must be on a qualifying benefit
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) must accept that it's reasonable for you to claim for the costs because you are the partner or closest relative or friend of the deceased person

Some people are excluded from claiming – see who can claim for details.

The person who has died must have been ordinarily resident in the UK when they died and the funeral must usually take place in UK. You may still be able to get a Funeral Payment if the funeral takes place in Europe (ask your local Jobcentre Plus for advice if this is the case).

The DWP can recover any payment it makes to you if there is sufficient money in the deceased person's estate to pay for the funeral.

Qualifying benefits for a Funeral Payment

To qualify for a Funeral Payment, you or your partner must receive one of the following:

Claiming Funeral Payment and time limits on claims

You need to make a claim for a Funeral Payment in the period between the date of the death and three months after the funeral. There's no way to backdate your claim if you make it outside the time limits.

If you're awaiting a decision on a qualifying benefit, still apply within the time limits. If your qualifying benefit award is backdated and covers the date of your Funeral Payment claim, you should qualify for the payment. If a payment is refused before the qualifying benefit is awarded, make a new claim within three months of the qualifying benefit being awarded. The DWP may hold off making a decision on your Funeral Payment application until the qualifying benefit is awarded.

To apply, you need to download the Funeral Payment claim form SF200 (PDF, 301kb), or ask for one at your local Jobcentre Plus. Once you have completed the Funeral Payment form, return it your local Jobcentre.

If your claim is turned down and you disagree with this decision, you need to contact Jobcentre Plus within a month of receiving their decision. You have the right to ask for an explanation or a written statement of the reasons for their decision. You also have the option to appeal to an independent tribunal.

The official online source of government information on benefits is GOV.UK.

Click on the bars below for more detailed information on Funeral Payment.

Who can claim Funeral Payments?

The DWP must accept that it's reasonable for you to claim. This depends on how close your relationship was with the deceased person.

You're eligible to claim if you were the partner (married or registered civil partner, or you were living together as if you were married or civil partners) of the deceased person when they died.

If the deceased person is a child or baby, you can claim if you were responsible for that child. If the child had an absent parent, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may look to them to cover the cost of the funeral if they're not on benefits.

You can claim if you're the parent, son or daughter of the deceased person. You can also claim if you're a close relative (parent-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law or brother-in-law) of the deceased person. If you're a step-parent, stepson, stepdaughter or a step-in-law of the deceased person, you are also entitled to claim.

You can claim if you're a close friend of the deceased person. If you're a relative of the deceased but not a close relative (see above), you could claim as a close friend instead.

In some circumstances you won't be able to make a claim, even if you are a close relative or friend. For example, you cannot claim if:

  • the deceased person had a partner
  • the deceased person was a child and there's a parent or other responsible person who can make a claim to meet the funeral costs
  • there's a parent, son or daughter of the deceased person who doesn't get a qualifying benefit (unless they're under 18, estranged from the deceased person, a young person for whom Child Benefit is payable, a full-time student, a member of a religious order, a prisoner, a hospital inpatient, an asylum seeker or they're ordinarily resident outside the UK)
  • there's a close relative of the deceased person who was in closer contact with them than you were (unless they're in one of the excluded groups above)

If you're not sure if you can claim, contact your local Jobcentre Plus for advice.

How much Funeral Payment?

A Funeral Payment can cover:

  • the costs of a burial plot and necessary burial fees
  • cremation costs, including medical references, but not burial of the ashes
  • the cost of documentation for the release of the deceased person's assets
  • one return journey for you to travel from your home to arrange or attend the funeral
  • reasonable transport costs (if the journey is more than 50 miles) of transporting the body to a funeral director or a place of rest, and transport of the coffin and bearers in a hearse, plus the mourners in one other vehicle, from the funeral director's or a place of rest to the funeral
  • up to £700 for other expenses, which might include other transport costs, flowers, religious costs or funeral director's fees

Reductions in Funeral Payment

A Funeral Payment will be reduced by the value of:

  • a pre-paid funeral plan
  • any lump sums from a life insurance policy or other scheme
  • government grants for war disablement pensioners
  • contributions made by relatives or charities (excluding the Macfarlane Trust, the Fund, the Eileen Trust, the vCJD Trust, the Skipton Fund or the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund)

The Department for Work and Pensions can reclaim the Funeral Payment from the deceased person's estate, if there is one.

If you're claiming the payment, your own assets (such as savings) are not taken into account.

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Page last reviewed: 20/05/2013

Next review due: 20/05/2015

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