“Funeral poverty” is becoming a big issue in Britain with 1 in 5 families unable to afford a funeral. In an article in the Guardian, Zoe Williams explores the findings of a Government white paper published in January 2014.
Whilst the DWP Funeral Payment is available, it is only accessible to families on benefits and there is little help for people not in this category. A major stumbling block is that families need to pay for the funeral before they are notified regarding their eligibility and receive the payment. This can result in many having to borrow the money – unfortunately often from a doorstep or payday lender, and, consequently, finding themselves left in significant debt. Those unable to access the Funeral Payment or any type of loan are left with the bleak prospect of a pauper’s funeral funded by the local council which can be incredibly distressing, disempowering and hinder the grief process.