Our recent article provided a guide to funeral costs and payments. Something which we touched on in that article which we are now going to explore in more depth is getting help paying for a funeral through something called the Social Fund.
If you or your partner are on a low income and have to arrange a funeral, you may be able to get some help with the costs of the funeral through the Social Fund. The term “partner” is defined in this context as a person you are married to, a civil partner, or a person you live with as if you are married to them or as if you are civil partners.
A Funeral Payment from the Social Fund is a one-off, tax free payment designed to help cover the necessary costs of a funeral, allowing you to pay for a simple, respectful, low-cost funeral. This includes:
- The necessary costs of burial or cremation fees
- A new burial plot (if a burial is chosen)
- Travel to arrange or go to the funeral
- The costs of moving the body within the UK for any part of the journey that’s over 50 miles
- Up to £700 for any other funeral expenses like funeral director’s fees, a coffin or flowers.
To receive a Funeral Payment through the Social Fund, you must make a claim within three months of the funeral.
In order to be eligible for a payment from the Social Fund, you or your partner must be in receipt of one of the following benefits.
- Income support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Working Tax Credit which includes a disability or severe disability element
- Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Benefit
It must be reasonable for you or your partner to pay for the funeral, and so the circumstances of other close relatives of the person who has died may be taken into account when deciding whether or not a Social Fund payment will be made. In order to be eligible to receive the Funeral Payment, you must have been:
- The partner of the deceased when they died
- A close relative or close friend of the deceased
- The parent of a baby stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy
- The parent of the deceased child if they were under 16 (or under 20 and not in full-time education).
If the person who has passed away had a pre-paid funeral plan then you will only receive help for items not covered in that plan.
In order to receive a payment from the Social Fund, it is normally expected that the person who has passed away was living in the UK at the time of their death, and that the funeral will be held in the UK.
Technically, a Funeral Payment from the Social Fund is only a loan. So, if you get a Funeral Payment, you will have to pay this back if there is any cash in the estate of the person who died, or if there is property left to anyone who is not a widow, widower or civil partner of the person who has passed away.
To be clear, their estate includes money, property and other things that they owned. Any home that is still lived in by a surviving partner or personal things left to relatives do not form part of the estate.
If the application for the Funeral Payment is successful, the funeral director will be paid directly if they haven’t already been paid. If the funeral director has been paid then the money will be paid directly into your bank account.
To make a claim for a Funeral Payment you must either fill out a SF200 claim form or make a claim over the phone. Go to https://www.gov.uk/funeral-payments/how-to-claim to print off the form, to get the contact details, or to get more information about the Social Fund. To find out more about arranging a funeral, visit http://www.cravens-funerals.com/.