To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department's policy is on supporting benefit claimants who must pay for the funeral of a family member; and if her Department will introduce an allowance for benefit claimants who must pay for the funeral of a family member to ensure that their benefit claims are not adversely affected.
The Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment scheme makes a contribution towards the cost of a funeral for people in receipt of certain income related benefits and tax credits. To qualify, the applicant must be accepted as responsible for arranging the funeral, they (or their partner) must receive one of the qualifying benefits and they must be the partner or a close relative or close friend of the deceased.
The amount payable depends on whether there is any other money available, for example from the deceased’s estate. As the Payment is linked to the deceased’s assets, it does not adversely affect the applicant’s savings.
The scheme offers support by meeting the ‘necessary costs’ of a cremation or burial, including acquiring a burial plot. An allowance of up to £700 is also available to meet other funeral costs such as a coffin, religious venue and funeral director fees.