Funeral payment assistance scheme

Loans or grants can help pay for funeral costs, including burials or cremations. The central government provides financial assistance to families that are on benefits and that can’t pay to bury their loved one. The type of aid provided, whether it is a loan or grant, will depend on whether the applicant can repay the funds using proceeds from the deceased’s estate.

The amount of assistance provided by the scheme is limited. In general, the family will need to pay 25 to 40 percent of the funeral costs on their own; the government scheme will not pay the entire bill. The programmes involves both the government as well as family sharing in the cost of the burial. Based on the average costs to bury or cremate someone in the UK, this means the government may provided as well much as £1,200 for the bill and the balance is due from the surviving members.

The assistance is only for households that are on some form of benefits. To apply for the funeral payment scheme, the applicant needs to be receiving some form of welfare. This can be Income Support, Universal Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, Local Housing Benefit, disability, or the Working or Child Tax Credit. There are also income and other requirements in place that need to be met.

Loans for a funeral

Often the deceased may have some estate to their name. This may be made up of a savings account, home, investments, pension, or some other benefit. If the deceased has any estate or savings, then the funeral payment scheme will only loan the family money to pay for the costs involved. The funds will need to be repaid after the estate has been settled by the living members of the family.

The loan will be interest free. This will make the repayment easier on the household. Once the widow, widower, parent, or living family member receives the remains of the estate, they will need to repay the government the cost of the loan that paid for the funeral bill. Since the process does take time for them to get the money from the estate, the government understands this and will not charge interest to them.

Free burials or cremation scheme

Since the government may only pay around £1,200 for a funeral (leaving a balance of £2,400 due from the applicant based on average costs) this can still be a challenge for many local families that are very poor and have no money to their name. Many families on a low income or those in poverty may still struggle to come up with the money to pay a portion of the bill. If this is the case, there are some local programmes in places in which a funeral can be free, such as the following.

  • Wales – Anyone under the age of 19, including still borns, can get a free cremation or burial. The local authority will pay the entire bill and the family will have zero costs.
  • Public Health Funerals – These are available in England, Scotland, and Wales, and this is generally a free funeral or burial if there are no immediate family members to pay the bills.

Those are currently the only two ways to get a free funeral. If after exploring all of the government schemes, if more help is needed, then families can always enquire into local church programmes, council schemes, or even ring Citizens Advice for information. As some charities may hold fund raisers for the poor, maybe a church can create a donation drive, and other forms of support may be arranged too.

There are two phone numbers to ring to apply for assistance with funeral costs. They include 0800 169 0140 as well as 0800 169 0286.


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