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.
Graham Jones, commercial director at SunLife, said:
“It is good news that the government is taking steps to simplify the process of making a claim for Funeral Expenses Payments.
“However, the fact that £700 is the maximum amount available and most people will not even qualify for that highlights the importance of putting something aside to pay for your own funeral.”
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