Getting help with a funeral

Where can I get help to pay for a funeral?

If you are a family member or a friend and you need help with the cost of a funeral, there are several organisations that can provide help.

There is a charity service called Quakers Down to Earth who provide a free helpline that gives help and information about finding a low-cost funeral. They do not pay towards the cost of a funeral but will help you find out where you can get help towards the cost.

If you are a member of the family of the person who has died, and you are receiving a benefit, you might also be able to get a Funeral Expenses Payment to help towards the cost of the funeral.

Or you might be able to get a Budgeting loan from the DWP – Department of work and pensions.

Funerals arranged by the council (often called Public Health Funerals) 

In some situations, we can make funeral arrangements for people who have died without family or friends to organise it for them. These cases are normally referred to us by the coroner.

Sometimes next of kin are unable to make the arrangements because they live abroad, or they are unable to because they are elderly and in care, or in hospital.

When there is no obvious next of kin, we will try and trace a next of kin through any paperwork left by the person who has died or using a genealogy service.

If we are unable to find anyone, or there is no one willing or able to make the funeral arrangements, then we have a legal duty (under Section 46 of the Public Health [Control of Diseases] Act 1984) to make those arrangements. These are called Public Health funerals.

We will appoint a funeral director to carry out a simple basic funeral, and in most cases, this will take place at a crematorium (unless there is evidence that the person who died wished to be buried).

If there is family, and they have chosen not to take responsibility for the funeral, then unfortunately they will have very little control over the arrangements.

The funeral will be carried out with respect and so that it is not obvious to members of the public that it is a Public Health funeral.

If you need more advice you can contact us by using this form.

Freedom of Information Requests for Public Health funerals carried out by us.

For information on public health funerals that we have carried out please see our Public Health Funerals Register. This page will be updated at the end of each month.