The government is going ahead with its proposed changes to the Funeral Expenses Payment scheme, following a consultation in 2017.
The scheme offers a contribution towards funeral costs for individuals in receipt of qualifying benefits.
In a written statement posted on 22 January 2018, the government confirmed that it will be changing the eligibility conditions, to make the scheme easier to access and more widely available.
From 2 April 2018, when the changes come into force, claimants will be able to:
- receive contributions from charities, relatives or friends without them being deducted from the overall sum payable toward funeral costs
- make an application for help with funeral costs up to 6 months from the funeral date, instead of the current 3 months
- submit evidence in support of their claim electronically.
However, the maximum payment individuals can receive will stay the same – at £700.
A survey by SunLife of 1,524 people put the average cost of a basic funeral in 2017 at £4,078 – a rise of 41% from £2,390 in 2007.
Quote from Nigel Holland:
“It is good that the government have made the claim process easier to pay for funeral costs. The last you want during a time full of grievance is added stress due to trying to find the capital to pay for the funeral.
The cost of funerals over the years have increased substantially making it harder for people to find the funds to afford them. Even with the help from the Funeral Expense Payment scheme, people still struggle to pay for funerals. The change in the scheme involves the process of claiming the payment easier, whilst the actual amount will stay the same – £700. In my opinion, the payment should increase accordingly to match the cost of funerals which have increased significantly over the years.
Not everyone will qualify for the payment however, therefore I would suggest that people put money aside for their own funeral in order to take stress off loved ones in the future.”