Funeral Payments are available to people on low incomes to fund essential burial or cremation costs. Funeral Payments make up one of the four grants payable from the Regulated Social Fund. The other payments are Maternity Grant, Cold Weather Payment and Winter Fuel Payment. Funeral Payments are available by right to anyone satisfying the eligibility conditions.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been responsible for Funeral Payments since it replaced the Department for Social Security (DSS) in June 2001.
To be eligible for a Funeral Payment, the claimant, or the claimant's partner, must be receiving one of a list of qualifying benefits, such as Income Support or Housing Benefit. At the time of death, the claimant must be the partner of the deceased, the parent of a deceased child, or a close enough family member to be reasonably expected to pay the funeral expenses. The deceased must also have been a resident of the United Kingdom at the time of death.
You can claim for all necessary burial or cremation fees as well as other expenses such as funeral director's fees, flowers and a headstone. Claim form SF200 sets out in detail what costs are covered. If the deceased had a prepaid funeral plan, this will first go towards the funeral costs before any Funeral Payment is made. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) can recover some or all of a Funeral Payment from the deceased's estate.
Claiming Funeral Payment
You can make a Funeral Payment claim using claim form SF200. In England, Scotland and Wales you can pick up a claim form from any Jobcentre Plus office or by downloading from the DWP website. In Northern Ireland you will find it in any Social Security office, Jobs and Benefits office, or by downloading from the NI Direct website.
To be eligible, you must claim during the three months following death. You can do this even if you have already paid the funeral bills. Don't delay your claim while you are waiting for a decision on a qualifying benefit claim; file your Funeral Payment claim regardless as you cannot make a valid claim outside the three-month window.
If you disagree with a decision, whether your application is declined or you feel your grant is smaller than it should be, it is important that you appeal to the office that made the decision within one month. You can ask them to revisit their decision, give you a written explanation of their decision and, if necessary, appeal in writing to an independent tribunal. If you need help with this, consult your local Citizens' Advice Bureau.
- Directgov; Funeral Payments
- NHS Choices; Social Fund; Funeral Payment
- Department for Work and Pensions; Funeral Payment from the Social Fund; Form SF200
- NIDirect Government Services; Apply for a Funeral Payment
- "The New Governance of Social Security in Britain"; Emma Carmel and Theodoros Papadopoulos; 2003