Government support for bereavement to help cover expenses

When it comes to organising a funeral or cremation for a loved one, there are many factors to consider – including finances. While emotions are likely to be running high and thinking about money may feel uncomfortable, the reality is that organising these end of life services can get expensive. Some people choose to have funeral plans set into place before their passing which provide guidance and a bulk sum of money to cover these fees. But the family may also be entitled to support from the Government to help cover the expenses associated. In this guide, we’ll cover the different types of support available here in the UK.

How Much Does an Average Funeral Cost?

It’s normally not until you start planning a funeral or cremation that you truly realise the costs associated. On average, a UK funeral will cover around £5,000 with prices increasing as you move closer to the Capital. Cremations tend to come in slightly cheaper at around £3,800 but this is still a significant sum of money to come up with – especially if the death has been sudden. When working with a funeral director, it will be their role to help facilitate the service you’re looking for and suggest ways to keep it within budget. And, it will likely be one of these individuals who helps identify any Government-supported schemes that you may qualify for to help.

Who Is Eligible for Support?

The qualifying criteria for Government support after the death of a loved one will depend on the type of payment you’re looking to get. Each one has its own eligibility requirements and many will have a set period of time in which you can file a claim. As we mentioned above, a professional funeral director will be able to advise you about all of these. But, we’ve covered the main ones below to give you a basic understanding of what schemes are potentially available.

What Support Schemes Are There?

Bereavement Support Payment

If it is your spouse or civil partner who has passed away, you may be eligible for the Bereavement Support Payment. This was put in place to support or with the costs of burying a loved one and is paid in a single, lump sum. The payment isn’t means-tested, meaning it is not dependent on how much you earn and in recent years, is now an umbrella payment used to cover the previous Widowed Parent’s Allowance or Bereavement Payment.

The total payments are not taxable.

Guardians Allowance

This payment would be relevant to a designated guardian if they are bringing up a child whose parents have died. It is also sometimes applied to the surviving parent if one of the parents was born in the UK or has been living in the UK since the age of 16 for at least 52 weeks. While these payments don’t help with funeral costs, they do support the general living costs associated with losing one parent.


The full list of eligibility criteria for Guardians Allowance is available on the Gov.UK website here. Please check, but you may be able to claim this allowance if:

  • You are responsible for someone’s child whose parents have died.
  • You are eligible for Child Benefit.
  • If you do not know where the child’s surviving parent is.
  • If the surviving parent will be in prison for at least 2 years from the death of the other.

Funeral Expenses Payment

In some instances, you may be eligible for a one-off payment from the Government designed to help specifically with the costs of a funeral. This is relevant if you already receive certain benefits and need support in paying for the funeral.

Total Payment

The total amount that you receive will be determined by the benefits you are eligible for.

When the total amount for this payment is calculated, it will take into account other monies in your possession (the person arranging the funeral) – including those left from the deceased and any relevant insurance policies they may hold. You may also get this alongside the Bereavement Support Payment.


As we mentioned above, the Funeral Expenses Payment will be paid to those who:

  • Are in receipt of certain tax credits or benefits, including Income Support, Pension Credit and Housing benefits (only applies to the person arranging the funeral, not the person who has died).
  • Are in an eligible relationship with the deceased:
    • You are a partner, close relative or close friend when the individual has died.
    • Parent of a stillborn baby born after 24 weeks.
    • You are the parent of a deceased child who was under 16.
  • Are holding the funeral in the UK, in an EEA or Switzerland.

Your eligibility will also depend on whether another close relative is at work and not in receipt of the relevant benefits.

Knowing what types of support you can receive when a loved one passes away can help alleviate some of the stress and worry that goes into planning a funeral. At Wallace Stuart, we provide a personalised and supportive lady funeral director service to help guide you through this time. If you have any questions or would like to speak to one of us, get in touch and let’s talk.