MEDIA COMMENT: Co-op Funeralcare responds to changes to the Funeral Fund
Changes claim to simplify getting help with funeral costs
Following on from a public consultation last summer, ministers have announced changes to the Social Fund Funeral Expenses payment for those on benefits. Under the changes claimants will be able to:
- Get additional contributions towards funeral costs from charities, relatives, friends without them being deducted from the overall sum payable in support of funeral costs.
- Have additional time to make an application for support with funeral costs – extended from 3 to 6 months from the funeral date.
- Submit evidence in support of their claim electronically.
The changes will come into force in April.
David Collingwood, Director of Funerals, has responded to this.
"Changes to the social fund are a start, but we believe there is more that could be done by Government on this to provide better support to the bereaved.
The value of the payment itself, still falls far short of the overall funeral charge, meeting only 30-40% of the average cost. Whilst these changes will make it easier to submit evidence, in reality families will still face a difficult process in applying for support, and this can be overwhelming for them during a time of loss.
We also believe there needs to be upfront transparency, so that families have additional reassurance and find out before the funeral whether they will receive support from the fund."