Government benefits

People can be on benefits for a variety of reasons and a change of circumstances, especially the death of a partner, can affect your own entitlement.

Finding out about benefits

After a death, income may fall if a work pension is lost. Or it may fall at first and then rise due to an inheritance which may take you over the threshold for some benefits or mean you have to pay tax.

The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) has a Bereavement Service helpline to notify them of the death of a loved one. At the same time the eligibility for benefits of immediate next-of-kin can be checked.

Applications for Bereavement Benefits and the Social Fund Funeral Payment can be made on the telephone immediately:

Call the DWP Bereavement Service Helpline on 0800 731 0469 (or 0800 731 0453 for a Welsh language service). The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Alternatively, the textphone number is 0800 731 0464.

If you are not using a professional to deal with Probate for you we recommend you call the Bereavement Service as soon as possible to avoid any over-payment of benefits which would then have to be repaid from the estate to the government.

Getting help

People claiming benefits may be entitled to help from the DWP. The website Funeral Expenses Payment has helpful information.

Depending on your current circumstances you could receive help in paying for costs of the doctor’s certificate of death, cremation fees and up to £700 for any funeral expenses including funeral directors’ fees and coffin transportation. For a full list of exactly what can be included please download the Funeral Expenses Payment claim form.

Contact HMRC for help and advice about dealing with tax after someone dies, or you can hire a professional. You may be able to get free tax advice if you’re on a low income.

Payment terms

Funeral Partners payment terms. We will fully quote costs covering all four elements on our estimate.

Wills and Probate

Applying for the legal right to deal with someone’s property, money and possessions when they die is called ‘applying for probate’.

DWP Claims

People claiming benefits may be entitled to help from the DWP.

Further Reading: Bereavement Support

It can be a confusing time following a death and difficult to know what you need to do first. We are glad to be able to offer help and support at this difficult time.