National assistance burials

What is a National assistance burial?

Sometimes, when a person dies, there is no-one available to take responsibility for arranging their funeral. Under the provisions of the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984, we have a duty to ensure that anyone who has died, or been found dead in their area, is buried or cremated in any case where it appears to the Council that no suitable arrangements for the disposal of the body have been or are being made. People who typically require this type of action are those who die intestate and with no next of kin. We are then entitled to recover the funeral costs from the estate of the deceased.

In cases where there are assets that exceed the cost of the funeral, and where there are no other bills outstanding, any money left will go to the Estates Group within the Bona Vacantia (small receipts) Division of the Treasury Solicitor, in accordance with the rules set down by the Secretary of State. For more information and to view the Treasury Solicitor’s Estates register, please see the page on claiming or referring an unclaimed estate.

The Council will not become involved if any funeral arrangements have already been made or the funeral has already taken place. North Kesteven District Council will not part-fund a funeral or contribute to the cost of a funeral which has already been organised by someone else.

The Council would not undertake funeral arrangements if the deceased died in hospital or in an ambulance on the way to hospital. Under these circumstances the hospital authorities would take responsibility

Getting help to pay for a funeral

If you are the person responsible for arranging a funeral and are on a low income, a funeral payment can be claimed from the DWP Social Fund if either you or your partner are in receipt of certain benefits. You can apply for this at any time from the date of death up to three months after the date of the funeral.

For more information call the DWP Bereavement Service on 0845 606 0265.

For further information about Funeral Payments, Bereavement Payments and Bereavement Allowances, please go to

Freedom of information

Many Freedom of Information requests are received concerning how many national assistance burials have been passed to the Treasury Solicitor. Details of all residents administered by North Kesteven District Council since July 2004 are given. Please refer to this list, which is updated regularly.