Benefit claimants will receive up to £1,000 to help meet the costs of a funeral
Thu, 11/07/2019 – 10:03
Funeral Expenses Payments, which are paid to eligible benefit claimants, are being increased for the first time since 2003.
The government has announced that bereaved families claiming state benefits will get up to £1,000 to help meet the costs of a funeral.
From spring next year, the maximum amount families can claim to help meet costs for expenses such as a coffin, flowers and funeral directors’ fees will rise by 43%, from £700 to £1,000.
The Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince, says: “Everyone wants to give their loved ones a dignified send-off, and this money will help pay for the personal touches that enable a family to say goodbye properly.
“Planning a funeral can be incredibly distressing, and this payment will help lighten the financial burden on families during a difficult time.”
Funeral Expense Payments
For those who can’t afford a funeral, local councils will pay for a ‘pauper’s funeral’. These tend to be very basic and do not have flowers or a wake.
Alternatively, the government’s Funeral Expenses Payment helps certain individuals who are on a low income to pay for a funeral they are responsible for organising.
The fund currently covers the full cost of burial or cremation and up to £700 in funeral directors’ fees.
While Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife, welcomes the rise, he says it is still well below the average increase in funeral costs.
He says: “The Funeral Expenses Payment has been £700 for 16 years, so a 43% rise is really welcome and could make a big difference to many people. However, we should bear in mind that over the same period the cost of a funeral has risen 122.5%, from £1,920 in 2004 to £4,271 in 2018.”
“A direct cremation is the most affordable type of funeral – the fact that no one is present at the cremation makes it far cheaper, and then it is up to the family how much they then want to spend on the ‘send-off’.
“The Funeral Expenses Payment is to pay for the extras that make a funeral more personal, so this rise will certainly help many people be able to afford those personal touches for their loved ones.”
Who can claim?
People in receipt of the following benefits may be eligible for a Funeral Expenses Payment:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Housing Benefit
- The disability or severe disability element of Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit