The issue of personal debts from funeral costs is to be debated in parliament as an MP has warned that support for low earners funding loved one's funerals requires a 'complete overhaul.'
The "Ten Minute Rule Bill" will be aired in parliament on 9th December. Emma Lewell-Buck, ,MP for South Shields will share evidence gathered from Royal London's National Funeral Cost Index.
Research from Royal London previously revealed funeral poverty now affects almost 110,000 people in the UK, with the total value of funeral debt amounting to £142m.
Lewell-Buck warned that the government's current method of implementing funeral payments to those on low incomes needed a "complete overhaul."
Funeral poverty is when people cannot afford to fund a funeral and have to turn to a "Social Fund Funeral Payment."
However, the beneficiary of this benefit will usually have to repay money they receive from the government using the deceased person's estate (if they have one).
The bill will recommend a review for the Social Fund Funeral Payment and making it easier for people to find out if they are eligible to claim for support.
The research from Royal London also found that many struggle to meet funeral costs and few choose a cheaper funeral after realising it is going to cost more than they expected.
Alan Slater MBE, CEO of the Association of Funeral Directors, added:"The Social Fund Funeral Payment cap of £700, for ‘other costs', has not changed since 2003 and we would like to see this increase.
"This figure has to cover all other costs in connection with the funeral, including a minister to conduct the service, which leaves funeral directors with little over £500 to cover their professional fees for arranging the funeral, provision of a hearse and other transport, a coffin, bearers and much more. In reality funeral directors' costs average at around £1,500 now.
He continued: "That's why there is this shortfall. The ‘other costs' payment covers less than half the cost of even the most basic funeral. This shortfall gets bigger every year. The cap should be index-linked. It would not solve the problem, but it would be a step towards fairness in the system."
Emma Lewell-Buck, MP said: "The Social Fund Funeral Payment needs a complete overhaul. The amount is inadequate, leaving a shortfall, but just as important is the administration of the system.
"People don't know if they'll qualify for support until after they've signed up for the cost of the funeral. So the funeral will have happened and people may find out later they are not eligible for any help. This issue is not going away; it is only going to get worse. I do not want to see anyone going through the pain of not being able to afford to bury a loved one."
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