By Pat Hutchinson, District Manager, Newtownabbey CAB
Q: I am 73 and on state retirement pension and a top-up of Pension Credit. My husband has died after a lengthy illness and the cost of the funeral is £3,200 and I will have to take out a loan to pay for it. I just cannot afford to pay for it, what can I do?
A: A funeral payment is a payment to help people on a low income with the essential costs of a funeral. You must show that you have met these expenses.
You do not have to repay a funeral payment, although it can be recovered from the estate of the person who has died.
You can claim a funeral payment if you or your partner is receiving Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, housing benefit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), or Pension Credit.
If you are getting Child Tax Credit and your award is high enough, you can claim a funeral payment. If you are getting Working Tax Credit with an extra
amount for disability, you can also claim a funeral payment.
Your capital (for example, savings) does not affect a funeral payment.
You will not be granted a funeral payment just because you are paying for a funeral. The Social Security Agency has to accept that it is reasonable for you to be responsible for the funeral costs and that there is no one else who should be paying for it.
If you are claiming funeral costs for your child who has died, or if you are the partner of the person who has died, you can be paid a funeral payment as long as you meet the benefit conditions.
A funeral payment will not cover all the costs of a funeral. It will not pay for expenses which are already covered under a pre-paid funeral plan.
If you get a funeral payment which does not cover all the costs, you may be able to get a budgeting loan as well.
Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau – go to www.adviceguide.org.uk or call at: Newtownabbey Citizens Advice Bureau, Dunanney Centre, Rathmullan Drive, Rathcoole, Newtownabbey, BT37 9DQ. Telephone advice is available 9am – 4pm each day 028 90852271-Lunch 1:00 - 1:30pm, email advice is available on firstname.lastname@example.org