Is it safe to rely on the Government Funeral Payment?
The Government Funeral Payment is for people on a low income who need help to pay for a funeral they are arranging. But according to Joan Walley MP, nearly half of all claims for a Government Funeral Payment are turned down. This means that the person who booked the funeral is left with the responsibility of paying for it. Should the estate of the deceased have enough money in it to pay the bill (eventually) not too bad. But if it hasn’t, then the person booking the funeral could be in financial trouble.
How much you get depends on your circumstances and if you qualify for the Government Funeral Payment.
Avoid the Government Funeral Payment
If the deceased had enough money in a bank or savings account, it is often possible for the undertakers bill to be paid direct by the bank. But ask first, and don’t pay the bill and then send the receipt to the bank – they won’t pay it then, it must be paid direct to the undertaker after you have proved the person is dead by producing the death certificate to the bank or other institution. There is no requirement for them to pay the funeral bill, so don’t assume they will without checking.
Check the deceased’s bank statements and papers for signs of life or funeral insurance or a funeral plan. Many people have monthly paid insurances – they usually won’t pay for a big proportion of the funeral, but it all helps. If there is a proper prepaid funeral plan, then (as long as you find it in time) all or most of the funeral expenses should be paid direct, as long as you have used the correct undertaker. If you find it later, or use the wrong funeral director, then prepaid funeral plans will normally make a refund into the estate.
If you have poorer relatives whose funerals you may have to pay for in future, then consider contacting us to arrange a funeral plan for yourself which could be transferred to them if necessary (most cannot be transferred, so you need to ask). People don’t always die at a financially convenient time.
If you already have a prepaid plan, it is worth checking to see if it could be used for another person in such circumstances: most cannot (which is where buying your funeral plan through us is better.)
Government Funeral Payment Repayments
Any money you get is usually paid back to the Government from the deceased person’s assets (if they have any). For example, any money or property they had.
A house or personal things left to a widow, widower or surviving civil partner are not counted as part of the estate.
What you’ll get from the Government Funeral Payment
How much you get depends on your circumstances.
The Government Funeral Payment can help pay:
- burial fees.
- cremation fees, including the cost of the doctor’s certificate.
- up to £700 for funeral expenses, eg funeral director’s fees, flowers, coffin.
- travel to arrange or go to the funeral.
- the costs for moving the body within the UK – but only for the part of the journey that’s over 50 miles. Moving bodies is not cheap.
If the person who died had a pre-paid funeral plan, you’ll only get help for items not covered by the plan.
Other costs the Funeral Payment can pay for are detailed in form SF200.
At the time of writing the funeral payment form can be downloaded by clicking Government funeral payment.