Universal Credit and Pension Credit Applicants May Get More for Funeral Expenses in 2020 | Personal Finances | Finance

The increase in the money available to grieving families to help cover the costs of the funeral was announced by the Minister of Social Delivery on Saturday. This is in addition to existing payments to help pay for funeral necessities, such as burial or cremation costs.

According to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), approximately 800 funeral expense claims are received each week by the DWP’s bereavement support team.

Who is entitled to assistance with funeral expenses?

A person cannot make payment for funeral expenses if the following three conditions apply:

  • They get certain benefits or tax credits
  • They meet the rules on the relationship with the deceased
  • They organize funerals in the UK, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

A person can still obtain other forms of assistance even if they are not eligible for payment of funeral expenses.


What are some benefits and tax credits?

A person or their partner must obtain one of the following benefits or tax credits to be eligible.

These are:

  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Employment allowance and income support
  • Pension credit
  • Housing allowance
  • The handicap or severe handicap element of the work tax credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Universal Credit.

If a person obtains a mortgage interest support loan, they may also be eligible.

The government website warns that payment will generally not cover all the costs of the funeral and the amount received will depend on the situation.

Louise Eaton-Terry, funeral costs expert at the Royal London, said: ‘While the cost of funerals has increased over the years, the government benefit to help with funeral costs has remained at £ 700 for 16 years.

“Having campaigned tirelessly on this issue, we welcome the announcement of an increase in the funeral allowance.

“However, with bereaved families borrowing nearly £ 2,000 to pay for the funeral of a loved one, more needs to be done to tackle funeral poverty.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg – the government must, at the very least, commit to increasing the benefit annually if it is to truly make an impact.”

Ian Atkinson, Marketing Director at SunLife – author of the Cost of Death Report, said: “The funeral payment has been £ 700 for 16 years so a 43% increase is really welcome and could make a big difference. difference for many people. However, we have to keep in mind that over the same period the cost of funerals increased by 122.5%, from £ 1,920 in 2004 to £ 4,271 in 2018. ”

He continued, “A direct cremation is the most affordable type of funeral – the fact that no one is present at the cremation makes it much cheaper, and then it’s up to the family to decide how much they want to spend on it next. sending. disabled ‘.

“The payment of funeral expenses is used to pay for extras that make the funeral more personal (it is in addition to existing allowances that cover funeral necessities, such as burial or cremation costs), so this increase will certainly help many. people to be able to afford those personal touches for their loved ones.