Funeral support payment

Funeral support payment will be a one-off grant to help with the costs of a funeral if you are on a low income. The funeral may be of a partner, family member or friend. It could also be the funeral of a child who is still-born.

Funeral support payment will be introduced by summer 2019 and will replace the current social fund funeral payment in Scotland.

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Who can get a funeral support payment

You will be able to get a funeral support payment if:

Responsibility for the funeral expenses

To qualify for a funeral support payment, you or your partner must have accepted responsibility for the costs of the funeral and it must be reasonable to have accepted responsibility. In deciding whether it is reasonable for you to have taken responsibility for the funeral costs, Social Security Scotland must take into account whether the person who has died had a closer relative and also any other relevant factors. Read more about what 'closer relative' means.

Usually, it will be reasonable for the person who has the closest family relationship to the person who has died to take responsibility for the funeral expenses, but there are other circumstances, such as estrangement, which may be relevant and may mean that you are entitled even if there is a closer family member.

Getting a ‘qualifying benefit’

To qualify for a funeral support payment, you or your partner must be getting one of the following:

  • universal credit
  • income support
  • income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • income-related employment and support allowance
  • housing benefit
  • child tax credit
  • working tax credit which includes the disabled worker or severe disability element
  • pension credit

You can be entitled if you were getting universal credit within the last month but it has now stopped.

Claim at the right time

You can claim at any time from the date the person died until six months after the funeral.

What does a funeral support payment cover

Funeral support payment covers:

  • the cost of a burial plot, burial fees and the cost of grave-digging
  • cremation fees including the cost of removing a pacemaker
  • if required, the costs of any medical references and medical certificates
  • the costs of documents required to release the assets of the person who died
  • transport costs for the amount of journeys in excess of 80 kilometres, that are to:
    • transport the body within the UK to a funeral director’s premises or to a place of rest
    • transport the coffin and bearers in a hearse and the mourners in another vehicle from the funeral director’s premises or place of rest to the funeral.
  • cost of one return journey undertaken to make arrangements for the funeral, but not exceeding the cost of a return journey from your home to the place of burial or cremation
  • a payment of £700 towards other funeral expenses, or £120 if the person who has died was aged 18 or over when s/he died and had a pre-paid funeral plan or similar arrangement.

If the burial or cremation takes place in an area in which the person who has died was not ordinarily resident and the cost of the burial or cremation, including transport costs, are more than the costs would otherwise have been, the funeral support payment will not cover the excess.

Some assets belonging to the person who has died can be deducted from funeral expense assistance. Read more about deductions from funeral support payment.

Applying for funeral support payment

You will be able to claim for funeral support payment from summer 2019.

If you disagree with the decision made by Social Security Scotland on your funeral support payment application you will be able to challenge this decision.