For almost 1 in 8 families, finding the money to pay for a loved one’s funeral caused them notable financial problems.
It’s no wonder: with the average cost of a funeral at £4,417, it can be difficult to know where to get this money from. But this can change: at Legacy of Lives, we believe in providing people with the tools they need to help with funeral costs.
Whether this is government help or charities that help with funeral costs, there are a range of different ways to receive help paying for a funeral - making sure the day is about celebrating your loved one, and not about the anxieties of expenses.
If you are looking for help in arranging a funeral, you can compare quotes completely free of charge using our free funeral planner tool here.
Where to get help with funeral costs
There are a range of different options you can choose to receive help with funeral costs. Depending on your financial situation and circumstances, there are schemes in place to help: government schemes, and charities that help with funeral costs by offering grants and aid for grieving families’ living expenses.
If you’re paying for the funeral yourself but want some advice on lower cost options, see our page on low cost funerals: funeral planning on a budget.
Government help paying for a funeral
There are different ways to receive government help in paying for a funeral. You can see some options below.
Funeral Expenses Payment
If you are on low income or government support benefits, the Funeral Expenses Payment can help with funeral costs to cover the burial or cremation, transport and documentation.
You can also receive a grant of up to £1000 to cover expenses for funeral directors, flowers, or a coffin. However, it’s important to note that this payment will not usually cover the full cost of the funeral, so recipients will usually have to cover the rest themselves - but it can at least ease some financial worry.
You can be eligible for the Funeral Expenses Payment if you receive:
- 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
- Universal Credit
You can read more on the Government’s Funeral Expenses Payment page.
Children’s Funeral Fund
Unlike other help with funeral costs, this fund is not means-tested - so is not affected by your income or savings. To be eligible, a child must be under 18 at the time of death, or stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy, and the funeral must take place in England. This fund will cover burial fees, cremation fees, the cost of a doctor’s certificate and the coffin, shroud or casket (up to a cost of £300). Find out more on the Children’s Funeral Fund page.
Public Health Funeral
If there are no friends or relatives to pay for the funeral, and there is no money in the deceased’s estate to pay, then the local authority will organise and pay for a funeral. This will usually be a cremation.
Bereavement Support Payment
While this does not directly correlate to help with funeral costs, the bereaved husband, wife or partner of the deceased can receive a one-off grant from the government known as Bereavement Support Payment. This is a grant of £3,500 (the higher level) or £2,500 (the lower level), followed by up to 18 monthly payments of £350 or £100. You can find out more about this on the government’s Bereavement Support Payment page.
Charities that help with funeral costs in the UK
There are a range of charities that help with funeral costs - depending on circumstances, you can see some that may be worth contacting below.
Some of these charities do not directly help with funeral costs (such as headstones or burial costs), but do help with grieving families’ living expenses, so may make financial difficulty easier elsewhere. Here are five charities offering to help with funeral costs in some capacity:
Friends of the Elderly: this charity can provide financial support grants to older people on low incomes, and can contribute up to £400 towards the total cost of utility bills or funeral costs. This will be paid directly to the funeral directors. This can be a good option for elderly loved ones on lower incomes and less than £4000 in savings.
Child Funeral Charity: this charity helps families in England and Wales who are arranging a funeral for a baby or a child aged 16 or under. They provide financial help with funeral costs for elements that are not covered by the government’s Children’s Funeral Fund - including flowers and plaques.
Care Workers Charity: this charity can provide help for people who were previously employed as care workers. They offer maximum grants of £500 and can help towards funeral costs.
Leukaemia Care: this charity provides a number of small grants - like the Helping Hand Fund of £150 - to leukaemia sufferers and the bereaved to help with day to day living expenses, including bills and home maintenance. This is not for funeral costs, but can make financial difficulty easier elsewhere.
British Gas Energy Trust: like Leukaemia Care, this charity can ease financial difficulty caused by high funeral costs by providing grants to help with bill payments. Applicants must specify their relationship to the deceased, and why their estate is not sufficient to cover costs.
What happens if cannot afford a funeral UK?
If you cannot afford a funeral in the UK there are many options available to you. Depending on your income you may be entitled to a government grant, you can find more information on this page of whether you may be entitled to government support and the forms that it comes in.
Charities are another way to receive help if you cannot afford a funeral in the UK, there are many charities that offer support with funeral costs, you can find a selection of these charities above.
Who qualifies for a funeral grant?
There are many different grants available from the government, most grants are means based, however there some are available to all income groups, you can find out more information at Get help with funeral costs.
How to apply for a funeral grant?
To apply for a funeral for a funeral grant you can either do so by telephone by calling bereavement service helpline or applying by postal service using SF200 form. You find the contact details and download the form at Make a claim.
How can I get help with funeral costs?
The best way to get help with funeral costs is to apply for the government schemes above (depending on your circumstances), or reach out to some of the charities that help with funeral costs. Many of these charities will also be happy to offer financial advice where they can.
Another way to cut funeral expenses is to consider lower cost options - you can take a look at our page on low cost funerals: funeral planning on a budget for these tips.