Helping ease the pain of bereavement
It is a sad fact of life that as we grow older, death draws closer. Therefore, we provide our readers with all the latest news, together with in-depth comment and analysis, on end of life concerns such as grant of probate, bereavement, bereavement counselling, funeral costs and pre paid funeral plans.
The passing of a loved one can leave some family members in shock and numb with grief, even if the death was expected. And with the cost of a basic funeral averaging £3,757, according to Royal London’s National Funeral Cost Index, an unexpected death could throw a family’s finances into disarray. So we also keep everyone informed of all the assistance available to help them manage their funeral costs.
This includes news on funeral grants, the funeral expenses payment, the bereavement allowance, the bereavement support payment and other bereavement benefits. To help ease some of the pain associated with a sudden or expected loss, we’ve put together a brief list of help.
Easing the cost of a funeral
If you have recently lost a loved one and are in receipt of a means-tested benefit, you could be entitled to a Funeral Expenses Payment (FEP). The amount allocated to meet the “necessary costs” of arranging a funeral is uncapped, but the average amount awarded is £1,375. A further £700 is awarded to cover any other expenses associated with arranging a funeral, such as the funeral flowers or the coffin.
You can download a claim form by visiting www.gov.uk/funeral-payments. The 24-paged claim form has been criticised by some funeral poverty campaigners as being difficult to complete when you are grieving, but you can get help by calling the Bereavement Service helpline on 0800 731 0469 or 0800 731 0464 (Textphone).
If you decide to apply for an FEP, it is crucial that you shop around for an affordable funeral package. The easiest way to do this is by using funeral price comparison website Funeral Choice which allows consumers to compare funeral directors’ like-for-like costs and services within a given postal area.
Prices include the collection and care of the deceased, a simple coffin, funeral directors fees and hearse, but exclude cremation or burial fees and the fee for conducting the ceremony.
However, by using this website, you could slash around 45% off your funeral bill. For more details, visit www.yourfuneralchoice.com or call 01983 754387, Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm.
Direct cremation specialists Pure Cremation could also be of help. The firm charges £1,195 for a direct cremation, a fraction of the cost of a traditional burial. The price covers the cost of a solid pine eco-coffin and the hand delivery or scattering of the ashes. The firm will also collect and care for the deceased, who is cremated without a service or mourners present. For more information, visit www.purecremation.co.uk. For help and advice call 0800 182 2164.
AFFORDABLE and MEANINGFUL CEREMONIES
If you are not in receipt of a means-tested benefit but are on a tight budget and you would like to arrange a dignified, affordable funeral, contact Down to Earth run by the charity Quaker Social Action. Down to Earth says its specialist advice helped people shave approximately £2,237 off their funeral bills between 2014 and 2015.
The organisation provides free practical advice and an advocacy service. So if you’ve applied for an FEP and were turned down, Down to Earth can appeal on your behalf. Advisers can also help people access FEPs and funds from other charities. For more information, advice and support, visit www.quakersocialaction.org.uk or call 020 8983 5055.