In February, we were delighted to write an article about the Fair Funerals pledge 2021 for the British Institute of Funeral Directors newsletter. Readers may have been surprised to learn that, according to Royal London's latest report, funeral poverty for 2020 stood at £82.7million.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a heightened awareness of death, dying and funerals. It has encouraged many people to discuss their funeral wishes, and make plans for paying for their funerals in the future. Unfortunately, many people have suffered significant changes in their financial circumstances due to the pandemic. Businesses have restructured or closed, leading to job losses; individuals have reduced incomes on the government's furlough scheme, and household bills are higher due to people staying at home. Add the cost of funeral arrangements to this, and you can see why our dedicated funeral costs helpline saw an 89% increase in demand from December 2020 – February 2021, compared to the same period the previous year.
Many people calling our helpline are surprised by the cost of even the simplest funeral. Some are also shocked to learn that the Funeral Expenses Payment from the Department for Work and Pensions doesn't cover the full cost. Clients are encouraged to shop around different funeral directors to find out the prices for the services they want and the payment arrangements. Having the information readily available on the company website makes this comparison easier for the client, enabling them to make informed decisions. This knowledge also helps our advisors to find the best help for them, considering the amount of money required, and how quickly it is needed.
Training from Down to Earth
Down to Earth offers various training sessions, including Mastering the Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment. This session covers some of the DWP's Funeral Expenses Payment intricacies, who can apply, how the DWP make their decisions, and how much to expect them to pay.
As the last session proved so popular, we have added a further training date at the end of April.