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What is the purpose of the contribution?
The Welsh Government, together with the Welsh Local Government Association and One Voice Wales, agreed in 2017 to end burial and cremation fees for children under 18.
We have reviewed that commitment and agreed to extend the support available to families.
As a result families in Wales that have registered the loss of a child under the age of 18 will be entitled to receive £500 as a contribution towards the funeral and other related costs.
Is there any eligibility criteria?
Yes. The child was under the age of 18 at the time of their passing (including children who are stillborn after 24th week of pregnancy); the loss has been registered (death certificate); and the family home is in Wales.
This is a universal offer regardless of the family’s income or savings.
Who can access it?
It will be offered to the person (usually the parent, carer or guardian) registering the loss of a child on or after the 1 April 2021.
What can it be used for?
It is intended as a financial contribution towards the cost of a funeral and other associated costs and it will be up to the family to decide how they spend it.
The type of costs are not restricted but could include:
- casket or other covering
- container for storing ashes
- costs charged by a funeral provider (including funeral director fees)
- funeral vehicles
- floral tributes
- death notifications
- removal of medical devices
- medical certificates
- death registration certificates
- masonry (headstones)
What if the person registering the loss is not the person responsible for the funeral?
There may be some circumstances where the person registering the loss of a child is not the parent, carer or guardian responsible for the funeral. In this instance the Registrar can organise for the payment to be made directly to the person that is responsible for the funeral.
Is it available for every child loss registered?
Yes. Where there has been the loss of twins (or multiples), the payment will be made for each individual passing.
Where a family has suffered the loss of more than one child over a period of time, they would be eligible on each occasion.
How will the payment be accessed?
The Registrar will provide information on the financial contribution available, and the type or range of costs it is intended to help towards, while families are registering the death.
If the person wishes to receive the payment they will be asked to provide bank account details, which the Registrar will then use to arrange payment.
In most cases, this will be done at the same time the loss is being registered.
How will the payment be made?
The payment will be paid via bank transfer (usually within 14 working days).
What if the person doesn’t have a bank account?
In the event the person receiving the payment does not have a bank account, the payment can be made by cheque.
What if the payment is not wanted?
There will be no obligation to accept the contribution should the parent, carer or guardian, for any reason, not want it.
However, they will have 12 months from the registration of death to access it should they change their mind. The Registrar would need to see a copy of the death certificate if a claim is made at a later date.
What happens if the child is from Wales but the loss occurs and is registered outside of Wales?
The payment can still be accessed via the Registrar in the local authority where the parent, carer or guardian resides. The Registrar would need to see a copy of the death certificate.
What happens if the child is from outside of Wales?
If the death of a child is registered in Wales, but the family home is outside Wales, then they wouldn’t be eligible for the payment. However similar schemes may be available in other areas of the UK, for example the Children’s Funeral Fund England.
In addition, a family may also be eligible for a Funeral Expenses Payment (FEP) from the Department for Works and Pensions if they get certain benefits.
Will the total cost of the funeral be covered?
No. Funeral costs will vary depending on the location and specific funerals arrangements. It is unlikely that this contribution will cover the total cost of the funeral.
Families may benefit from speaking with a number of funeral providers about the services they offer so they can arrange a funeral that is meaningful and affordable to them.
Can this be used to pay for burial and cremation fees?
Local authority and community council burial and cremation fees for children under the age of 18 are waived under an existing agreement. Other providers may also waive these fees, but if they do not then the money could be used for this purpose.
Can an interim death certificate be used to access the payment?
Are there any implications for income-related benefits or tax?
There will be no impact on legacy income-related benefits (income-related ESA, Income-based JSA, Income Support, Housing Benefit and Pension Credit). We would encourage families to make the benefit provider aware of the payment so that it can be disregarded.
In relation to Universal Credit, the payment will be treated as Capital but would not have any impact unless it meant a person’s savings increased above the threshold for this entitlement. This is unlikely to happen if the payment is spent rather than saved. We would encourage families to make the benefit provider aware of the payment who will know how to treat it.
The payment will not be taxable.