If you are recently bereaved, you may find yourself confused or worried about finances.
These worries may come from the cost of the funeral or general living costs, particularly if your partner was the main earner of the household.
Funerals are expensive with the average cost in the UK being £3,757. Money is often an added concern on top of grief, but there are ways of making this manageable.
For example, if you or your partner have a funeral payment plan, then this may help with the costs. A funeral payment plan involves paying in a certain amount every month, which will then contribute to the ultimate funeral price.
If this isn’t the case, you may need to explore other options.
Getting help with paying for a funeral
If you or your partner are the recipients of certain benefits, you may be entitled to Funeral Expenses Payment. (You may be able to claim this even if you weren’t married). A full list of benefits that entitle you to this can be found here.
One cheaper funeral option that is growing in popularity is direct cremation. This is a simple funeral with no service (although a service can be held separately at another time). Companies such as Simplicity and Pure Cremation specialize in this and you may wish to look at this as an option.
The Quaker Social Action website has a section on advice for people who are struggling to pay for a funeral. Down To Earth provides a lot of support and practical tips.
Another thing to consider when arranging or planning a funeral is to “shop around”. Ask different funeral directors for quotes and costs.
After the funeral
Once the funeral is over, you will still be grieving and adjusting to a life without the other person. Money may still be a worry, particularly if the other person was the main source of income.
Perhaps the most known financial help is the Widow’s Pension or Bereavement Allowance. This is paid from the age of 45 until state pension age. This breakdown from Which? shows how much you could get.
If you are on a low income, it may be possible to get financial help for keeping your home warm in winter under Cold Weather Payments or Winter Fuel Payments. You will usually get the Cold Weather Payments if you get Pension Credit and the Winter Fuel Payments if you were born on or after 5th April 1954.
Many people don’t know that they can claim certain benefits or get financial help before or after a death and it isn’t easy to think about checking when you are grieving. This is where it would be a good idea to plan. If you or your partner have a diagnosis or even just planning your funeral or end of life care, then make sure you check what you could be eligible for and start making enquiries. Much of this information can be found on https://www.gov.uk/death-spouse-benefits-tax-pension/benefits or https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
Stephanie Owens is a Senior Communications Officer at Hospice UK.
Have you been affected by any of these issues?
If you have been affected by any of the issues described in this blog, or simply need someone to reach out to, you can call Independent Age’s freephone Helpline for information and advice on 0800 319 6789.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Independent Age