15th November, 2019.
Government announces increase from Spring 2020
Losing a loved one is a stressful and upsetting time and worrying about the extra financial pressures of paying for a funeral, can increase the emotional toll at this time. Fortunately, there is help available to ease some of the financial pressure of arranging a funeral, if you (or your partner) are claiming certain benefits or tax credits and meet the criteria for relationship to the deceased. The Funeral Payment scheme is available to pay for a funeral and the Funeral Expenses payment scheme is provided by the Government to fund the extra expenses involved. The Government has recently announced that they will be increasing the amount that can be claimed for in Funeral expenses from Spring 2020 to £1,000.
So, who is eligible for the Funeral Expenses payment scheme? If you receive any of the following benefits you are eligible: 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 might also be eligible if you are receiving a Support for Mortgage Interest loan. In terms of your relationship to the deceased, you must be the partner of the deceased when they died, a close relative or close friend, the parent of a baby stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy, the parent or person responsible for a deceased child who was under 16 (or under 20 and in approved education or training).
From Spring 2020, if you meet these criteria, you will be able to claim up to £1000 (an increase of 43%) towards expenses such as a coffin, funeral director’s fees and flowers. This extra amount will help to ensure that the funeral of a loved one is a bit more special, which might provide comfort at a difficult time.
We are fully aware how confusing and upsetting arranging a funeral can be for those left behind but knowing that financial assistance is available from the Government, if you need it, will hopefully provide some comfort. We are also available to talk to anytime day or night, to provide advice about what you need to do when a death occurs and organising a funeral.
The link to make a claim for funeral expenses online is here https://www.gov.uk/funeral-payments/how-to-claim or you can telephone the Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 731 0469.