Paying for the funeral
A funeral is not a small expense but there’s budget options available so don't feel as if you need to get yourself into a lot of debt.
Make sure you know what funds are available before arranging the funeral; at a time when you are grieving, racking up a big bill that you can’t afford to pay will make everything really stressful.
If you are the person who holds the responsibility for paying for all of the funeral-related costs but don’t have sufficient money to cover the expense, there may be help available.
The Social Fund provides a Funeral Payment to those who meet the qualifying criteria and have a low income.
You could receive up to £700 from the Social Fund but the sum you are awarded depends on your income and your relationship to the deceased. JobCentre Plus administers the scheme and all completed paperwork must be returned there.
If you are awarded any monies, once the estate has been dealt with, the sum will have to be repaid from the assets. Personal effects left to a surviving spouse and property are excluded from the calculation.
A payment from the Social Fund should not be mixed up with the right to claim Bereavement Benefit; these are completely different payments.
Bereavement Benefit is generally paid to the spouse or civil partner of the deceased, and could be as much as £2000, in a one-off lump sum.
The qualifying criteria for Bereavement Benefit could change, but as at 2015, you had to fulfil the following:
aged under state retirement age at the date of death
the deceased paid NI contributions, or died from industrial disease or accident
the deceased was not entitled to receive State Retirement Pension (Category A) at the date of death
You will lose your entitlement to this benefit if you divorce, are in prison or are co-habiting with an-other individual as if you were married or in a civil partnership.
Other benefits you might be entitled to receive include Widowed Parents Allowance and Bereavement Allowance. You won’t need to apply separately as your entitlement to all of these will be considered at the same time automatically.
The Bereavement Service can provide more information on your entitlement. They can be reached at 0345 606 0265 - Mon-Fri (8am-6pm).
Losing a loved one is an incredibly difficult experience, and the emotional pain and heartache won’t simply melt away after the funeral has taken place.
How you are affected and how long your feelings will last is a very personal thing, with no two people reacting in the same way. There’s no right or wrong way to feel, and even when you are grieving at the same time as someone else, you could react and respond in very different ways.
Grief generally has different stages which you will progress through as you are ready. The range of emotions and feelings involved in each of these stages are vast but could include anger, resentment, relief, guilt, denial, sadness, numbness, disbelief, emptiness and fear of what the future might hold
Experiencing the death of someone close is an intense experience which changes you forever. It’s particularly common to start questioning the meaning of life or wondering whether you will ever feel like smiling again.
The feelings will of course be particularly overwhelming right after the death but for many people, the most difficult period comes when everyone has gone back to “normal” because it’s then that much of the support can drift away. The emotional impact at this point can be harder in some ways, because the realisation that normal life no longer exists can really hit home.
Talking to others who have experienced bereavement can be useful, as can sharing memories of the deceased with family and friends. It may take several months before you feel able to even begin to think about anything else.