Government Bereavement Benefits

State Bereavement Benefits

In the UK, the State does not consider that bereavement benefits should pay for a decenet funeral.  The Government always has considered that families should make their own arrangements, unless they are in the very poorest sections of society.    In many countries 4 in 5 people have made advance arrangments, but in the UK the proportion is the other way round.  More than 4 in 5 people have not made arrangments for their own funerals.  Most of us over 50 have seen the family quarells and are at least aware of the private financial disasters a death – whether unexpected or not – can cause.   Borrowing £4,000 to pay for a decent funeral can result in having to pay back many times that amount to Pay Day lenders.  Not a great legacy to leave.

Funeral Plan Quotes
Funeral Plan Quotes

Our mission is to help people plan in advance to avoid relying on Paupers Funerals, but there are links to the relevant information further down the page.  We can’t help with immediate problems (though there is a list of independent funeral directors here, and more information on what you need to do when someone dies.)

This is a link to the page where Government Bereavement Benefits are explained.

Why not help the government improve the system by responding to their inquiry belowo ?  Then contact us to sort out your own prepaid funeral?

Bereavement benefits inquiry launched.

Coinciding with a week of BBC programming on death and bereavement, the Work and Pensions Committee launches an inquiry into “funeral poverty”, and the benefits available to people who lose someone they were financially dependent on.

Background of the Bereavement Benefits inquiry.

A recent FOI request by BBC local radio shows that the cost to local councils of so-called “paupers’ funerals” has risen almost 30% to £1.7m in the past four years. The number of public health funerals, as they are properly known,  which are carried out by local authorities for people who die alone or without relatives able to pay, has also risen by 11%.

Committee Members have heard from constituents who were denied their relatives’ ashes because they were unable to pay for the funeral. The Government provides Social Fund payments to help people unable to pay for funerals, but these are paid in retrospect and do not necessarily cover the full costs.

The Widowed Parents Allowance, to help a parent left to raise a child or children alone, is only available to parents who were married, and people may be unaware that bereavement support is available.

Call for written submissions

The Work and Pensions Committee invites written submissions on:

  • the policies and processes which relate to the Social Funeral Fund Payment,
  • Bereavement Payment,
  • Bereavement Allowance.
  • Widowed Parents Allowance.
  • Recommendations for improvement.

The Committee are particularly interested to hear about people’s experiences of:


  • What are the costs of a funeral, and how does this compare with payments from the Social Funeral Fund?
  • Do funeral homes offer less expensive funeral options for people on low incomes?
  • Could improvements be made to the application process for Social Funeral Fund payments?
  • What is the impact on families and individuals when they cannot meet the cost of a funeral for a friend or relative?
  • What is the impact on funeral homes and directors when the cost of a funeral cannot be met?
  • What arrangements do Local Authorities have for Public Health Funerals? Have LAs seen an increase in Public Health Funerals and what is the cost to LAs?

Bereavement benefits

  • What is the level of awareness about bereavement benefits, amongst those who may be eligible to claim?
  • Are bereavement benefits targeted at those who need them? Should eligibility criteria be reviewed?
  • Are there any problems with how bereavement benefits will interact with Universal Credit?
  • Is communication and guidance about bereavement benefits sufficient?

Send a written submission.

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