The Funeral Expenses Payment is a government grant towards the cost of a funeral from the DWP.
To be eligible you must be responsible for the funeral costs and in receipt of qualifying benefits.
The average funeral payment covers about 41% of the average cost of a simple funeral.
The Funeral Expenses Payment covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Learn about applying for the Funeral Support Payment in Scotland on our factsheet.
The DWP look at two things in deciding whether to issue a funeral payment:
The applicant’s benefits and very possibly the benefits of some of the deceased’s family
- Whether they consider the applicant to have had the closest contact with the deceased
The applicant also usually needs to be named on the funeral bill; if not it will need to be explained why.
What benefits are required?
You or your partner need to be in receipt of one of the following income-related benefits:
- 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
If your financial circumstances were connected to the person who has died, your benefits may have been affected and you may need to make a new application first - call the DWP Bereavement Service on 0800 731 0469, or your council if it is an application for housing benefit.
Closeness of contact
If the person who died was living with a partner, the DWP will only consider an application from that partner and it is only their benefits that are taken into account.
If they didn’t live with a partner the DWP will need information about other family members. However, there are some instances when they should ignore a family member’s benefit status. This includes if they were estranged from the deceased (the relationship had broken down) or if they are under 18. The other categories and more guidance can be found in the DWP notes.
However, any ‘immediate family members’ (i.e. parent or adult child of the deceased) who don’t fall into one of the above categories must also be on a qualifying benefit, no matter who applies. So must any ‘close relatives’ (e.g. adult brothers and sisters, including half and step) who were at least as close to the deceased as the person applying.
Reasonable to take responsibility?
After a live-in partner, the DWP expect the person who had the closest contact with the deceased to apply. They categorise family members in the following way:
- Immediate family members (i.e. parent or adult child)
- Close relatives (e.g. brothers and sisters, including half and step)
- Other family (e.g. grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins), partners/spouses who weren’t living together and friends
However, they also expect the applicant to be the person who had the closest contact with the deceased. So it is possible for someone in a lower category to be the most ‘reasonable’ person to apply. In deciding who is closest they look at how often the applicant, and other family members, were in contact with the deceased and in what way.
What it covers, amounts and deductions
The main costs the Funeral Expenses Payment contributes towards are as follows:
- Reasonable burial or cremation fees
- Doctors’ fees
- Up to £1,000 toward other funeral expenses (generally those covered under funeral director’s fees, or if you are going DIY, costs such as the coffin)
- Death certificates to release money belonging to the person who died
- One return journey to arrange or attend the funeral, not including the cost of a funeral car
- In some circumstances, transport costs if you need to move the person who died over 50 miles
If the deceased had some money in their estate, e.g. in a bank account or insurance policy, this will be deducted from any award paid out.
How to claim
In England and Wales, you can download an SF200 form to apply or complete an application by phoning the DWP Bereavement Service Helpline on 0800 731 0469.
In Northern Ireland you can download the form online or contact the Bereavement Service on 0800 085 2463.
The DWP aim to process Funeral Expenses Payments within 13 working days, though in practice it can take longer.
Down to Earth funeral costs helpline
Our funeral costs helpline is staffed by an expert team who can offer you free and confidential advice about help with funeral costs anywhere in the UK.
Our experienced advisors have supported thousands of people across the UK to plan, reduce costs, identify ways to raise money, and get the right government support.