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Funding Children’s Funerals

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Financial Support

The friends and family that are left behind can face difficult times ahead coping with the death along with the financial worries if that extra income is lost to the house hold, the deceased did not have a funeral plan or insurance set in place. 

Every year even without the COVID 19 virus at least 4000 children die under the age of 18 and grieving parents can face thousands in costs for burial or cremation. There are, however, a number of grants and other forms of financial support available from the government which can help.

Children’s Funeral Fund for England

This fund means that parents no longer have to meet the costs of standard burials or cremations of a child under the age of 18, including stillborn and foetal remains.Fees are waived by all local authorities and met instead by government funding.

This legislation brought England in line with Wales and followed a cross-party campaign by bereaved parents to remove fees for funerals for those under the age of 18.

The then Prime Minister, Theresa May said at the time:

‘No parent should ever have to endure the unbearable loss of a child – a loss that no amount of time will ever truly heal.

But in the raw pain of immediate loss, it cannot be right that grieving parents should have to worry about how to meet the funeral costs for a child they hoped to see grow into adulthood.

I have been incredibly moved by the dignity and strength of campaigners like Carolyn Harris, who lost her own son Martin when he was just eight years old. Carolyn has passionately argued for a Children’s Funeral Fund to spare grieving families the burden of meeting funeral costs.

In the darkest moment of any parent’s life there is little light – but there can be support.

That is why I have asked for the Children’s Funeral Fund to be set up in England. For Carolyn, in memory of her son Martin, and in support of all those parents overwhelmed by such harrowing loss.’

In England, there is also a £300 contribution towards the price of a coffin, casket or shroud. This can be reclaimed by the funeral director, or, if you’re not using one, by yourself. Other fees including for the funeral director, flowers and a memorial, if required, will still need to be paid.

Eligibility

CFF funding is available for the stipulated fees and associated expenses incurred in the burial or cremation of a child if the following conditions are met:

  1. the child had not reached their 18th birthday at the time of their death; or
  2. ii. the child was stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy (as defined in section 41 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953); and
  3. iii. the burial or cremation takes place in England; and iv. the burial or cremation is taking/ took place on or after 23rd July 2019. c)

Nationality and residency

There are no nationality or residency requirements for CFF eligibility.

The government’s website https://www.gov.uk/government/news/childrens-funeral-fund-for-england sets out clearly the full details of the Children’s Funeral Fund for England (CFF).

Funeral Expenses Payment

Funeral Expenses Payment can help pay for some of the costs of the following:

  • burial fees for a particular plot
  • cremation fees, including the cost of the doctor’s certificate
  • travel to arrange or go to the funeral
  • the cost of moving the body within the UK, if it’s being moved more than 50 miles
  • death certificates or other documents

You can also get money for any other funeral expenses, such as funeral director’s fees, flowers or the coffin. You can get up to:

  • £700 if the person died before 8 April 2020
  • £1,000 if the person died on or after 8 April 2020

The payment will not usually cover all of the costs of the funeral.

How much you get depends on your circumstances. This includes any other money that’s available to cover the costs, for example from an insurance policy or the deceased person’s estate.

If the deceased had a pre-paid funeral plan, you can only get up to £120 to help pay for items not covered by their plan.

Funeral Expenses Payment is paid into your bank, building society or credit union account if you’ve already paid for the funeral.

The money will be paid directly to the organiser of the funeral (for example, the funeral director) if you have not paid yet.

You can get a Funeral Expenses Payment if all of the following apply:

  • you get certain benefits or tax credits
  • you meet the rules on your relationship with the deceased
  • you’re arranging a funeral in the UK, the European Economic Area (EEA)  or Switzerland

Benefits and tax credits you must get to be eligible for the payment

You (or your partner) must get one or more of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • the disability or severe disability element of Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit

Funeral Support Payment-Scotland

Funeral Support Payment helps pay for funeral costs if you live in Scotland. You can use the payment towards funeral costs for a baby, child or adult. This includes babies who were stillborn.

It usually will not cover the full cost of the funeral but it should help pay for some costs. It can be paid either to you or the funeral director who’s helping you plan the funeral.

Only one person can get Funeral Support Payment for the funeral.

You will not be eligible if you’ve already had other government support for the funeral, this includes:

  • Funeral Expenses Payment (England or Wales)
  • Funeral Payment (Northern Ireland)
  • your hospital arranging and paying for your baby’s funeral if you had a stillbirth

What happens if you can’t afford to pay for a funeral?

The local council or hospital can arrange a Public Health Funeral if:

  • There isn’t enough money in the estate to pay for it.
  • There are no relatives or friends available to arrange the funeral.

This is usually a cremation. Others can attend the funeral but the local authority will decide the time and date.

There normally is a short service, but anything else including flowers, cars or notices in the local newspaper are not included.

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