Royal London: Government response on funeral payment fund falls short
Protection news for Financial Advisers and Paraplanners
22 Jan 2018
In a written statement on Funeral Expenses Payments today, the Government has announced the following changes:
- Money raised to help with funeral costs from other sources such as, crowdfunding or charities, will no longer be taken into account when working out how much grant to award the claimant;
- The time period to apply for the funeral fund has been extended from three months to six months from the funeral date;
- Evidence to support the application for the fund can be submitted electronically.
Commenting on the changes, 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.”
The Royal London National Funeral Cost Index 2017 found that:
- Funeral poverty has reached an all-time high of £160 million with those struggling to pay funeral costs taking on an average debt of £1,680.
- The average cost of a funeral in the UK rose to £3,784, an increase of 3% from 2016.
- The gap between the amount of the average social fund award and the average funeral cost continues to widen, with those who are bereaved facing a shortfall of £2,355.