Fair Funerals’ Campaign Manager, Heather Kennedy, talking funeral poverty on the BBC Breakfast sofa.
The start of December brought renewed interest in funeral poverty from local and central government. Last week’s Freedom of Information request by the BBC revealed how funeral poverty is forcing people to rely on public health funerals in local authorities and hospitals.
Hot on the heels of this revelation was the announcement of a major new inquiry by the Work and Pensions Select Committee into the Social Fund Funeral Payment - a payment that has been failing to support people facing funeral poverty. For example, in 2012-13 there were 66,000 applications for Funeral Payments in the UK but only 35,000 awards. Making a claim can be a complex process and can leave people confused and frustrated at a very stressful and disorientating time. The Department of Work and Pensions’ target for making a decision and awarding a Funeral Payment is 16 days. In reality our sister project Down to Earth finds it normally takes around 30 days.
Heather Kennedy, Fair Funerals Campaigns Manager said:
"Fair Funerals is delighted that this inquiry is now happening and the opportunity this represents to reform the payment so it works better for bereaved people on low incomes."
Also included on BBC Breakfast were the incredibly brave Fair Funeral spokespeople Lauren and Jacqui – part of the week long series on the cost of funerals - who have suffered the misery of funeral poverty first hand and have eloquently told their stories to help campaign for others who find themselves in a similar situation.