Funerals are expensive and after a death people may find themselves responsible for a funeral and wonder how it should be paid for. The person arranging the funeral is responsible for paying for it but may be able to get help. Funeral payments are available from the Social Fund but there are conditions about when they are paid.
The first call on the diseased person’s estate is the undertaker’s bill. It takes priority over any other debts.
I had a client whose mother had died and there had been £4,000 in the estate which he had got his hands on. He soon got through most of this, consoling himself and his friends with drink. Then the Undertakers bill arrived. He was aghast. He lived on Benefits. Surely there should be a benefit to pay for his mother’s funeral? No. He had had the Estate. He was responsible and he would be pursued for the debt.
The second condition is that the JobCentre Plus has to accept it is reasonable for you to pay for the funeral. If there is someone as close as, or closer to the diseased than you, who is not on Benefits, they will be expected to pay and you may be asked if there are any close relatives.
Then in order to claim you must be on an Income-related Benefit such as Income support, Housing Benefit, ESA or Pension Credit. Your savings make no difference.
If someone dies who has no known relatives to arrange or pay for their funeral then the Council will make arrangements for a Public Health Funeral. Most are cremations but there is an unmarked lair at Scone Cemetery for burials.
The CAB carries copies of a very useful booklet on ‘What To Do After a Death In Scotland’ Not a cheerful subject but it is clear and accurate.
The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is completely confidential. The articles I write for the Crier are always based on true stories but I disguise the client so they could never be identified.
The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is at 7 Atholl Crescent. Drop in is 10am-12 noon, Monday to Friday or phone 01738 450581 for an appointment in the afternoon. If the line is busy you can leave a message and you will get a call-back. The number will come up as Withheld to protect your privacy.
01738 450580 is the Advice Line. This line is often busy but if you leave a message your call will be returned.
Everything is confidential, even the fact that you visited the bureau.
There is also a website run by the CAB. Adviceguide.org.uk covers many topics and is easy to use.