In this section you will find some of our frequently asked questions. If there is any question not answered here please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

If someone dies at home contact the doctor, whether the death was sudden or expected. If the death was expected the doctor will sign the death notification form (which you will need in order to register the death). If the death occurs suddenly, you also need to contact a member of the Garda Síochána local police. They will decide if a coroner needs to be called. (A coroner is an independent official with legal responsibility for the investigation of sudden and unexplained deaths).  The coroner may contact a funeral director who is contracted to the coroner’s serviceto remove the body to the hospital for post mortem. It should be noted in this situation the family may contact their own funeral director to complete the funeral arrangements. In the case of sudden or unusual death, do not move anything until an official pronouncement of death has been made by the doctor. (If the deceased held an organ donor card, inform the doctor of this immediately.)
  • If someone dies in hospital or a nursing home the doctor on duty will confirm the death, they will decide if a post mortem examination is necessary.
  • Contact the funeral director, 042 9664498, 24hr service.
  • Contact the next of kin, especially those abroad who may have to book flights.
  • Locate the person's burial instructions and last wishes, if these exist.
Others to notify in the days following the death include:
  • State authorities e.g. if the deceased was in receipt of a pension or other form of social security payment or health service.
  • Insurance agencies and financial institutions.
  • The deceased’s solicitor.
A post mortem (sometimes called an autopsy) is an examination carried out by a pathologist after a death where is necessary to establish the medical cause of death. The majority of deaths do not require any post mortem because the medical cause of death can be certified by a doctor who has been treating the deceased in the months prior to the death, i.e. a GP or hospital doctor.
Embalming is the preservation of the deceased using special techniques and fluids which sanitise and preserve the body which ultimately enables an optimal natural presentation of the deceased for their family.
The cost of a funeral is composed of the disbursements paid by a funeral director on the family's behalf as well as the direct costs involved.  The direct costs involved will depend on the wishes of the family as to where the funeral service is held and what type of coffin or urn is required.

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After a bereavement you may need financial support. The Department of Social Protection provides certain once-off payments to help out families during this difficult time. Your local Department of Social Protection's representative (formerly known as the Community Welfare Officer) deals with some of these payments.

You must have made a certain number of PRSI contributions to be eligible for some social welfare payments. You may be eligible for other payments, if you pass a means test or if you are in urgent need. Time limits apply for many payments, so apply as early as is possible.

You cannot be expected to do everything right away, but if the deceased was getting a social welfare payment or you were claiming for them as a dependant or you were getting a Carer's Allowance to look after them, it's important that you notify the Department of Social Protection within the first few days of the death.

Notifying the Department does not mean the payment will be taken back immediately. In many cases, the spouse, civil partner, cohabitant, parent or carer may continue to receive a payment for six weeks following the death.

Help with funeral costs, you can get help with the cost of the funeral:
  • The Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner Grant is a once-off payment to widows/widowers/surviving civil partners with dependent children. This payment was formerly called the Widowed Parent Grant.
  • If someone dies from an accident at work, a Funeral Grant is available.
  • The Bereavement Grant was discontinued in 2014.

Whether you qualify or not for one of the above grants you may be eligible for an Exceptional Needs Payment to help with funeral costs if you are on a low income. Each case is decided on its merits. The Community Welfare Service prefers if you apply before the funeral takes place, but in practice, most people apply afterwards.

In many cases a payment or a grant cannot be paid until all the necessary documentation is received. If you are claiming the grant, you are responsible for the production of certificates, documents and any information required, for example:
  • Death certificate
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage or Civil Partnership certificate (to prove your relationship to the deceased)
  • Funeral receipts
  • The deceased person's Personal Public Service number (PPS number)
  • Your PPS number may also be required.

See the citizens information website – ‘benefits & entitlements following a death’ for more information.


Useful Links:

Citizen Information (Bereavment& Death)
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Anam Cara (Supporting beareaved parents, regardless of the age of their child)
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Deparment of Social Protection
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Aware (Support through Depression)
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Irish Hospice Foundation
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Bereavement Counselling Services
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Sosad. Address 6, Parnell St., Carrickmacross.
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Email: sosadcarrick@gmail.com