Who pays for a funeral?

There are rules about how a funeral should be paid for.

If the person who died has left money behind, the funeral is one thing that it should be used to pay for. Some banks will allow you to take the funeral director’s invoice to them so it can be paid directly, or, if you are using a legal representative to manage the estate, you can give it to them to handle on your behalf.

However, you cannot use all the money left to pay for a lavish funeral if there are other debts and legacies to be paid, such as money left to named individuals or charities.

Please call us for advice if you are unsure about how to approach this scenario – 0800 0246 121.

If the money left by the person who has died is very little, all may have to be used to pay for a simple funeral and there may be nothing left for family members and other beneficiaries. However, if the deceased did not leave an estate to pay for their funeral, did not have a funeral plan or insurance in place, and the family is unable to pay for the funeral, the next of kin can make an application to the DWP via the Social Fund.

Paying for a funeral via the Social Fund

You can apply to the Social Fund if you are claiming any of the following benefits or are currently waiting on your claim:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • The Disability or Severe Disability Element of Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Support for a Mortgage Interest Loan

If you have been on one of these benefits in the last 26 weeks you may be able to claim for a budgeting loan to help you with the costs of the funeral.

You can arrange this by going to your local JobcentrePlus, or you can also call the DWP Bereavement Service, here:
Telephone: 0800 731 0469
Welsh Language: 0800 731 0453
Textphone: 0800 731 0464
Welsh Language Textphone: 0800 731 0456
NGT Text Relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0469
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Down to Earth

If you are on benefits or a low income, Down to Earth can support you to find a meaningful funeral that is more affordable.

Their experienced team support thousands of people across the UK to look at their options, keep costs down, and identify ways to raise money for a funeral. They can provide free one-to-one support if the funeral has not happened; they mainly do this via their helpline 0208 983 5055, but you can also make initial contact by email downtoearth@qsa.org.uk.

They also have information and resources on their website here.