Funeral poverty in the UK: issues for policy

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Abstract

Researchers at the University of Bath have examined state support available for those who cannot afford a funeral at the point of need. They evaluated the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Social Fund Funeral Payment (FP) through interviews with claimants and key stakeholders. The research concluded that the current system lacks coherence in terms of both the process of applications, and how it deals with diverse family realtionships. Furthermore, for the 55% of claimants who are successful in their application, there can be a sustainable shortfall between the contribution awarded and the amount required to meet the cost of a funeral.

These findings have important implications for exisiting (and potential future) demand for Public Health Funerals. These are basic funerals which local authorities have a statutory obligation to provide, in circumstances where an individual dies without anyone able or willing to organise and pay for their funeral. In light of on-going issues with the FP, there is concern that local authorities will be required to provide more Public Health Funerals as the number of deaths per year begins to increase. The viability of these two distinct systems of state provision for funerals requires urgent attention to ensure that public resources are approporately targeted to those most in need.
Original languageEnglish
TypePolicy Brief
PublisherInstitute for Policy Research, University of Bath
Number of pages4
Place of PublicationBath
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • funeral
  • poverty
  • policy
  • dying
  • death

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