A lack of bereavement support for those who need it most


Mar 31, 2016
A lack of bereavement support for those who need it most

If you are one of the lucky ones and either have savings or sufficient income to pay monthly for a funeral plan then you will have not experienced the emotional pain and anguish some families who are less fortunate experience. 

 

For those families on state benefits and even then means tested to see if they qualify for a payment from the governments "social funeral fund", not only is life a struggle but death of a loved one can be even worse, often resulting in borrowing money to pay for the funeral. 

With the average cost of a funeral in the UK of around £3,700 and even the most basic funerals, where you are taken from the mortuary to the crematorium in an unmarked car, with no service or mourners costing between £1,500 to £2,000, it's not difficult to see why the maximum payout of £700 from the Social Funeral Fund is demisery. 

This social funeral fund payment has been £700 since 2003 and at last is now being reviewed by a group of MPs in parliament with a view to modernising the bereavement system for those most needy in our society. 

Labour MP Frank Field, chair of the committee, said the "opaque and outdated" system was hitting vulnerable people on low incomes. 

"Funeral payments for those who can prove they are entitled - and that is a very uncertain and onerous process - now fall far short of covering even a basic funeral," he said. 

"We do not want a return to the spectre of miserable 'pauper's funerals'."

The average cost of a funeral has risen by over 6%, according the Royal London Funeral Cost Report, taking the cost of a funeral from £1,980 in 2004 to £3,702 today. The largest contributing factors to these rising costs has been the costs of cremations and burial plots. 

At Over50choices we hope that the government takes this opportunity to put right a system that has been out dated for many years and delivers a bereavement policy that is not only modern but fit for the future.


Ashley Shepherd is an Over 50s Personal Finance Expert

ashley shepherd

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