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The Funeral Expenses Payment Scheme Explained

Neo cares deeply about providing affordable, eco-friendly services to everyone. Our staff have been trained by Quaker Social Action for best practices regarding the Funeral Expenses Payment scheme, and so we’ve created this quick guide for you to use if you need advice or are looking to apply to the Funeral Expenses Payment scheme. 


What is a Funeral Expenses Payment?

If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and receive certain benefits (outlined below) you are eligible to get a Funeral Expenses Payment (also called ‘Funeral Payment’) to help pay the costs of a funeral. The DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) looks at a few things to determine whether or not you are eligible for the funeral payment grant. 


First, check if you’re eligible:

The main two things that will be looked at when checking your eligibility are: 1.) what kind of benefits you receive and 2.) what relationship you have with the deceased. 


Benefits check: 

To apply, you or your partner need to be in receipt of one of the following income-related benefits: 

  •  Universal Credit 
  •  Income Support 
  •  Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance 
  •  Income-related Employment and Support Allowance 
  •  Pension Credit 
  •  Housing Benefit 
  •  Working Tax Credit which includes a disability or severe disability element 
  •  Child Tax Credit


Note: You may also be eligible if you get support for mortgage interest loan payments.


Rules on your relationship with the deceased:

You must be one of the following:


Important tip: If an immediate family member is not on an income-related benefit, but was estranged from the deceased, this should not stop the person applying receiving the Funeral Expenses Payment. 


Other things that will be considered:
  • You might not get a Funeral Expenses Payment if another close relative of the deceased (such as a sibling or parent) is in work.
  • You can still claim Funeral Expenses Payment if you’ve applied for these benefits and you’re waiting to hear about your claim.
  • If you were responsible for a deceased child but you’re not their parent, the non-resident parent must get one or more of these benefits.


What does the Funeral Expenses Payment cover?

Funeral Expenses Payment can help pay for some of the costs of the following:

  • Cremation fees, including the cost of the doctor’s certificate
  • The cost of moving the deceased within the UK, if your loved one is being moved more than 50 miles.
  • Death certificates or other documents


How much will you get paid?

How much you get depends on your circumstances. This includes any other money that’s available to cover the costs, for example from an insurance policy or the deceased person’s estate. If the deceased had a pre-paid funeral plan, you can only get up to £120 to help pay for items not covered by their plan. The payment will not usually cover all of the costs of the funeral.


The amount will be reduced by any money in the deceased’s estate (except money held in a joint account where both people pay in and neither has restrictions on withdrawing). However, arrears of benefits paid in on the date of death or afterwards should not be deducted. 


You do not have to repay a funeral payment, but if the person who has died left money or property the Funeral Payment might have to be paid back out of that. 


How is the money paid?

Funeral Expenses Payment is paid into your bank, building society or credit union account if you’ve already paid for the funeral.

The money will be paid directly to the organiser of the funeral (for example, Neo Cremations) if you have not paid yet. We can provide the invoice for this if needed. 


Before you make a claim:

You must apply within 6 months of the funeral, even if you’re waiting for a decision on a qualifying benefit You can make a claim before the funeral if you’ve got an invoice or signed contract from the funeral director. 


Important tip: At Neo, we always supply our families with an upfront invoice with the cost of the service directly labelled on the top. What most families don’t know is that an estimate does not count. You will need to get an invoice or contract from the funeral director in order to ensure that the application gets accepted by the DWP. If you have further questions regarding this, please do not hesitate to give our Care team a call. They will do their best to help you. 

If you get Universal Credit, you will not get a decision on your claim until after your next payment.


How to claim:

Claim by phone by calling the Bereavement Service helpline.

Bereavement Service helpline

Telephone: 0800 731 0469

Textphone: 0800 731 0464

Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0469

Video relay service for British Sign Language (BSL) users – check you can use the service

Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 3.30pm

An adviser will also help you claim any other bereavement benefits you might be entitled to.

You can also claim by post. Download and fill in the claim form (SF200), then send it to the address on the form.


Documents you need to submit with your application: 

Neo recognises that the passing of a loved one is already a difficult time and that the costs for a funeral can become a source of additional distress. In response to this, we are strong advocates against funeral poverty and are committed to helping families with low income.  Please contact us if you have any questions. We are here to help and we will do the best we can to help you during challenging times.

Holly Roseveare

Operations Associate

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