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Need help paying for a funeral?

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State Support

The Government provides limited financial support for bereaved people on low incomes. Even if you are eligible for it, a state contribution is unlikely to cover the full cost of the funeral. The two forms of support are:

Funeral Payments

This is a grant (i.e. you don’t have to pay it back) towards the cost of a simple funeral for people on qualifying benefits. In east London the average award is around £1,250.  More information on funeral payments can be found on the site

Bereavement Allowance

Are for widowed spouses or civil partners, above the age of 45 and
at least one partner under pensionable age, whose partner paid sufficient national insurance contributions. They include a one-off grant of £2,000 and two fixed-term weekly benefits depending on your age and whether you have children. More information on bereavement allowance can be found on the site

Social fund funeral payment:


The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) only issue a funeral payment to the person considered responsible for paying for the funeral.
A surviving spouse, partner or parent would need to apply to the Social Fund, and therefore sign the funeral bill. Both parents must be on benefits to qualify, unless one is estranged. If there is no spouse, partner or parent, then children or siblings may be eligible, provided all of them are on a qualifying benefit. Next come other relatives, and then close friends. 

Order of priority for social fund applications:

1. Partner or spouse
2. Parent(s)
3. Children
4. Siblings
5. Other relatives or friends

Qualifying benefits or entitlements

  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit which includes a disability or severe disability element.
  • Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element. 

Bereavement benefits

If you were married or in a civil partnership with the person who has died you may be eligible for one of these benefits:

Bereavement Payment

A one-off payment of £2,000 based on your partner’s national insurance contributions;

Bereavement Allowance

A weekly benefit which can be paid for up to 52 weeks;

Widowed Parent’s Allowance

A weekly benefit if your partner has died and you have dependent children.
To apply, complete a bereavement benefits pack - form BB1.

These benefits are based on national insurance contributions and are payable if you are over 45 and under pensionable age, or your partner was under pensionable age when they died.

This article was originally posted by Quaker Social Action

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