To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the adequacy of the level of the cap on Social Fund Funeral Payments to cover the basic cost of a funeral.
21 March 2018
The Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payments continue to meet the necessary costs of a cremation or burial for eligible claimants. Average payments have increased year-on-year to meet these necessary costs. We have had to make difficult choices about welfare spending and it has not been possible to increase the £700 maximum for other costs. However we have made interest-free Social Fund Budgeting Loans available for funeral costs in addition to Funeral Expenses Payments.
In 2016/17, approximately 27,000 Funeral Expenses Payments were paid worth around £38.6 million. The average payment made has increased in value in the past ten years by about 28 per cent – from £1,117 in 2006/07 to £1,427 in 2016/17 – as the necessary costs have increased.
The Funeral Expenses Payments scheme continues to make a significant contribution towards the cost of a simple funeral for claimants on certain income based benefits or tax credits.