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Taking care of your loved one after they die can be an extra expense many families cannot afford, and there are many decisions that can make a funeral more or less expensive. Most funeral directors will charge a package fee for the basics (i.e. plain coffin, hearse, one limo rental and cremation fees) and then offer add-on services (e.g. headstone or plaque, catering, flower arrangements, etc.). There are however funeral costs support available. The Money Advice Service gives some useful information on the costs you should consider for a funeral.

If you require financial support, there are several programmes available to help cover funeral costs:

Children’s Funeral Fund

An official government programme, the Children’s Funeral Fund helps parents cover some of the funeral costs for children under 18 or if a baby is stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy, no matter your family’s income or the amount you have in savings. The burial or ceremony must take place in England and covers:

  • Burial and cremation fees (including the cost of a doctor’s certificate)
  • Up to £300 to pay for a coffin, shroud or casket

Funeral Expenses Payment

To cover other related costs, you can apply for a government-backed Funeral Expenses Payment (at least one parent must already be receiving specific benefits). Scottish residents should apply for a Funeral Support Payment instead.

The Funeral Expenses Payment will help cover the following costs:

  • Burial fees for a particular plot
  • Cremation fees (including the cost of the doctor’s certificate)
  • Travel to arrange or go to the funeral
  • Cost of moving the body within the UK (if it’s being moved more than 50 miles)
  • Death certificates or other documents
  • Other funeral expenses – funeral director’s fees, flowers, coffin, etc.

Eligible applicants will receive £1,000 if the person died on or after 8 April 2020.

The Funeral Expenses Payment will not usually cover the full cost of a funeral. This payment will also be deducted from any money you receive from an insurance policy and the deceased’s estate (including any money and property but not a house or personal belongings left to a widow, widower or surviving civil partner). If the deceased had a pre-paid funeral plan, you will only be eligible for up to £120 to help pay for items not included in their plan.

Child Funeral Charity

The Child Funeral Charity offers emotional and financial support to families in England and Wales who have lost a child aged 16 years and younger. The charity aims to help families help with funeral costs not covered by the government fund. Please visit their website directly for more information.

The Charlie Cookson Foundation

If your child is seriously ill, the Charlie Cookson Foundation may be able to help take away the financial stress of everyday living costs – from helping with mortgage payments, rent and utilities to providing food vouchers and covering other expenses. They also provide further financial support to parents who have lost their seriously ill child by continuing to cover their everyday living costs whilst grieving.

Bereavement Support Payment

You might be entitled to Bereavement Support Payment if your spouse or civil partner has died and if they either made National Insurance (NI) contributions for at least 25 weeks or died due to an accident at, or disease cause by, work. Additional criteria and more information about the payment can be found on the website.