How to get financial help for funeral costs

Everyone deserves a proper farewell, but with funerals typically costing anywhere between $4,000 and $15,000, working out how to pay for it can cause a lot of stress in an already difficult time. Thankfully, if you’re struggling to find the funds, there are lots of options available for Australians seeking financial help for funeral costs.

Please note: The information on this page is of a general nature and should not be considered financial advice. The links provided throughout this page will lead you to the relevant authorities where you can request official advice.

Basic funeral costs

It’s important to know what goes into a funeral so that you can calculate your costs and work out whether you need financial help. While every funeral will be different, here are some of the most common factors to consider:

  • Transport and mortuary care: your loved one will be transferred to our care where we’ll prepare them to be laid to rest
  • Funeral service: a funeral service gives friends and family the opportunity to say their goodbyes. You may choose to hire a celebrant, or you can hold your own personal gathering
  • Coffins and caskets: even if your loved one wished to be cremated, a coffin will still carry them to their final place of rest
  • Official death certificate: a death certificate is necessary for arranging a burial or cremation. It will also be requested by banks and other authorities when filing a life insurance claim, transferring ownership of vehicles to your name, and accessing bank accounts and assets.
  • Burial or cremation services: the choice between burial and cremation is a very personal one, though many people will have stated their wishes prior to death

Financial funeral assistance in Australia

Understanding that not everyone has the funds available for a funeral, both State and Federal Governments offer financial help to assist families with the costs.

Here are some of the options available to you.

Financial Support from Centrelink

From the 20th of March 2020, Centrelink closed the Bereavement Allowance (BVA) to new entrants, but there are still plenty of other forms of financial assistance available through Centrelink. While these payments may not specifically be dedicated to funeral assistance, you may choose to use some of this money to fund a dignified farewell for your loved one.

Carer Allowance: a fortnightly payment for someone giving daily care to a disabled, ill, or frail aged person, Centrelink may pay up to 14 weeks of Carer Allowance as a lump sum in the event of the dependent’s death.

Carer Payment: if you were receiving Carer Payments when the person under your care died, you may be eligible to continue receiving these payments for up to 14 weeks. Aimed at giving you time to apply for an alternative form of income support, this payment also gives you time to organise the funeral without having to worry about money.

Bereavement Payment: when a couple have both been receiving some form of pension or income support for at least 12 months before a partner’s passing, the surviving partner may be eligible for a Bereavement Payment lump sum. This payment is usually equal to the combined payment you were receiving, minus your new single rate.

Superannuation and Life Insurance

Life insurance is a common inclusion in many healthcare cover and superannuation policies. Life insurance can come as either a lump sum or an income stream that will be paid to beneficiaries after a person dies. In the case of terminal illness, this money may be released early, allowing you to organise and fund the funeral while your loved one is still there to oversee the preparations.

While there’s no requirement to use life insurance money to pay for a funeral, it may be the best option when you wouldn’t otherwise have the funds to do so.

The Deceased Estate

Upon notifying the bank of an account holder’s passing, all bank accounts held solely by the deceased will be frozen. If you’re on a low income or facing financial hardships, you can apply to the bank to release some of the funds to help cover the funeral costs.

Typically, you’ll be asked to present an invoice or receipt for the funeral service, and the bank will then release the funds directly to the funeral provider.

Funeral Assistance in Queensland

For Queensland residents who have confirmed that no next of kin is willing or able to pay for the funeral, you may be able to apply to the Coroners Court of Queensland or a local magistrates court for funeral assistance.

Please be aware that you will be disqualified from this assistance if you’ve already made a payment to a funeral director. You may be able to ask your funeral director to release you from your contract so that you can reapply after you’ve requested financial aid.

Funeral Help After the Loss of a Child

Losing a child is one of the hardest experiences a parent can ever face, particularly for families who don’t have the funds to pay for the funeral. To help during this difficult time, additional payments are available for grieving parents. You may choose to use these payments to help with funeral costs.

Family Tax Benefit: if your child was eligible for the Family Tax Benefit, you may continue to receive this fortnightly payment for up to 14 weeks, or receive it as a lump sum.

Parenting Payment: if you were receiving the Parenting Payment at the time of your child’s death, you may be eligible to continue receiving this payment for a further 14 weeks.

Additional Funeral Support for Pensioners

The stress of funding a funeral while on a pension can make the loss of a loved one even harder to bear. To help support you through this challenging time, there are additional funeral support options for pensioners struggling to pay the bills.

If necessary, some of this money can be directed towards funeral arrangements to give your loved one the dignified send-off they deserve.

Single Pensioners:

Upon the death of a single pensioner, they will continue to receive their regular payments throughout the fortnight in which they died. If you are the executor of the deceased estate, you will be able to access this money, which you may wish to use to help fund the funeral.

Pension Bonus Bereavement Payment

If your partner was registered for the Pension Bonus Scheme with Services Australia or the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs, but didn’t claim their Age Pension or Pension Bonus before they passed, you, as their partner, may be eligible to claim the Pension Bonus Bereavement Payment.

To receive this payment, you will need to submit a claim within 26 weeks of your partner’s death.

Partner Allowance

If you were receiving a Partner Allowance at the time of your partner’s death, you may be able to receive a further 14 weeks of their pension. The Partner Allowance will only be available until 1 January 2022, after which you’ll need to transfer to Age Pension.

Pre-paid Funerals

A funeral is a very personal affair, and many people choose to take out a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan or Bond to give their loved ones peace of mind that everything has already been arranged in the event of their death. This can protect those left behind from additional stress, allowing loved ones to focus on the grieving process.

Funeral Support for Veterans

If your loved one was an active member in the permanent forces (or the Reserves under certain circumstances), the Australian Defence Force (ADF) may offer up to $14,000 in funeral assistance.

Alternatively, partners of members, or former members of the ADF may be eligible for compensation in the event of the member’s death.

This compensation can be awarded if:

  • Liability for the deceased or former member’s death has been accepted under the MRCA; or
  • The deceased member received or was eligible for the Special Rate Disability Pension (SRDP); or
  • The deceased member was entitled to the maximum rate of permanent impairment compensation for accepted conditions immediately before death

TAC Funeral Assistance

The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) may offer funeral assistance in the event of a death involving a motor vehicle. If successful in your application, you could be eligible for up to $16,410 towards the funeral, including burial, cremation, and monument costs.

Funeral Assistance for Victims of Crime

Losing a loved one to a violent crime can be a shock. Recognising the pain of coming to terms with such a death, the Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT) can award funeral expenses for family members, as well as unrelated individuals who incurred costs as a direct result of the victim’s death.

Work-Related Death

According to WorkSafe Queensland, if you’re the family member of someone who has died in a workplace incident, you may be eligible to make a claim. Compensation may come in the form of a lump sum, quarterly payments, or even direct help with funeral costs.

To be able to make a claim after someone has died at work, you’ll need to prove your relationship to them as a family member or a dependent. This includes:

  • A wife or husband
  • A de facto spouse
  • A dependent child (this may include a grandchild)
  • A foster child

Other Methods of Finding Financial Support for Funeral Costs

If you’re unable to access any of the support schemes above, you may need to think outside the box to find alternative sources of funding. Here are some options that you may wish to consider:

Local Support

The death of a beloved member of society can affect more people than you may expect. If your loved one was active in their local community, you may be able to ask those whose lives they touched to contribute money to the funeral.

Local clubs, charities, sporting teams, and even your loved one’s favourite pub may all be happy to get involved, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a fast-growing trend that allows people to fund causes which they otherwise wouldn’t have had the money for. These platforms can be used to help cover the costs of a funeral.

Popular crowdfunding platform, GoFundMe, for example, has reportedly hosted 125,000 memorial campaigns, and raised over $400 million for these causes each year. GoFundMe also offers 0% platform fees for organisers, making it a virtually risk-free crowdfunding option.

Let Us Help You Organise a Respectful Farewell

Here at Logan Funerals, we understand that financial concerns can add a lot of extra stress to an already painful experience. But with so many financial support options available, we’re sure that you’ll be able to organise the meaningful celebration that your loved one deserves.

Our team are here for you 24 hours a day to help you make the right choices in this difficult time.

Please call us on (07) 3341 4111

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