You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

Government to introduce changes to funeral payments in April

0
Written by:
22/01/2018
The government has announced plans to simplify the process for making claims under the Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payments scheme.

The scheme makes a contribution to the costs of funerals being arranged by people on qualifying benefits. It allows them to receive up to £700 for funeral expenses, such as funeral director’s fees, the coffin, flowers and travel.

However, critics have argued that these payments have failed to keep up with the increasing cost of funerals and concerns have been raised over a lack of clarity on eligibility criteria. The government launched a consultation on Funeral Payments this summer and revealed the results in November.

A number of changes will come into effect on 2 April, including enabling claimants to receive contributions from charities, relatives or friends without them being deducted from the overall sum payable toward funeral costs. Also, claimants will have six months from the funeral date in which to make an application for help with funeral costs instead of the current three months. They will also have the option of submitting any evidence needed in support of their claim electronically.

Louise Eaton-Terry, funeral cost expert at Royal London, said: “It’s good to see small changes being made to the Funeral Payment process, but the government has ignored the biggest issue.  Funeral costs continue to increase above inflation year-on-year, with our research showing that bereaved families who qualify for the fund face a shortfall of more than £2,000 to cover the cost of a funeral. While these reforms are a step in the right direction, they fail to address the value of the award and we want the government to go further and commit to increasing the Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment.”

According to the latest SunLife Cost of Dying report, the average funeral now costs £4,078. Funeral costs are up 4.7% in just a year, having risen more than 70% in the past decade, more than three and a half times the increase in house prices.

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Autumn Statement: Everything you need to know at a glance

Yesterday Chancellor Jeremy Hunt made his first fiscal statement in the role, outlining a range of tax measure...

End of Help to Buy: 10 alternatives for first-time buyers

The deadline for Help to Buy Equity Loan applications passed on 31 October. If you’re a first-time buyer who...

Moving to an energy prepayment meter: Everything you need to know

As households struggle with the soaring cost of energy, tens of thousands of billpayers are expected to move o...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

DIY investors: 10 common mistakes to avoid

For those without the help and experience of an adviser, here are 10 common DIY investor mistakes to avoid.

Mortgage down-valuations: Tips to avoid pulling out of a house sale

Down-valuations are on the rise. So, what does it mean for home buyers, and what can you do?

Five tips for surviving a bear market mauling

The S&P 500 has slipped into bear market territory and for UK investors, the FTSE 250 is also on the edge. Her...

Money Tips of the Week