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Funeral fund improvements ‘fall short’

Changes make payments quicker but don’t address the value of the award

Changes that aim to speed up funeral payments for bereaved families do not go far enough, Royal London has argued.

Previously, a Funeral Expense Payment claim could not be processed without a confirmed date for the funeral to take place, which could lead to long waiting times.

The Department for Work and Pensions has announced that families will now be able to make a claim with an estimated funeral date, as long as other key information is supplied. It said this will significantly speed up the process and payment.  

However, Louise Eaton-Terry, Royal London’s funeral cost expert, said that although the change is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t address the value of the award.

“The Funeral Expenses Payment is supposed to act as a safety net for low-income families, yet many grieving families are still being forced into debt,” she argued. “We want the government to commit to increasing the value of the funeral payment, which currently falls well short of meeting the cost of a basic funeral.”