Following on from the report of the Work and Pensions Committee which concluded that bereavement support was “opaque and outdated” the DWP have launched a consultation on reforms to the social fund funeral expenses payments scheme with the aim of making it clearer who is eligible for a payment and easier for people to claim.
‘We understand what a distressing and difficult time it can be losing a loved one and we want to make the process of claiming a Funeral Payment as simple as possible..’
The proposals include –
- allowing recipients of payments to receive additional contributions towards the cost of a funeral from charities, friends and relatives without deducting these from the value of the funeral payment award;
- introducing an exception for people living in care who receive income-assessed financial support from their local authority towards all or part of their care fees (and therefore not receiving a qualifying benefit), and not assigning them the responsible person status;
- extending the application period from 3 to 6 months;
- a shorter application form for claims for children’s funerals;
- amending regulations to clarify that funeral payments will pay for the necessary costs of a burial with or without exclusive rights of burial;
- allowing applicants and funeral directors to be able to submit evidence electronically to support a claim for funeral payments; and
- including medical examiner fees under a proposed unified system of scrutiny of all deaths, if adopted in the future, as a necessary cost as currently covered for cremation medical fees.
The consultation period runs until the 21st of August 2017. You know what to do.
For more information see Reforms to the Social Fund’s Funeral Expenses Payments