Fairer Scotland

Social Fund Funeral Payment- a personal perspective

August 26, 2015 by No Comments | Category Welfare and Social Security

Anonymous Contributor (Male, Glasgow, 45-59, Scottish, Married, Children in Household, Housing Association Renter, Unable to work – long term illness, Disabled).

The Regulated Social Fund includes several types of payment. One of these is Funeral Payment, for individuals on low income and needing help to pay for a funeral they are arranging.

This post tells one person’s story of applying for a funeral payment.

“Last year I had to arrange the funeral of my older brother who passed away suddenly as I was his closing living relative. This was a really difficult time for me as my mother had only past away the year before and I was still struggling with the grief and losing my brother made this harder. The local funeral director helped me apply for a grant [Social Fund Funeral Payment] after I told him I received Employment and Support Allowance. It was a difficult form that I didn’t understand at the time because I was upset but the girl in the undertakers took her time to help me. She said she helped people like me all the time.

It looked like I would be successful in getting [social fund] money to help, but I still needed to find £700 for a deposit to give to the funeral company. The undertaker kept costs low so I wouldn’t be out of pocket and the [Social Fund] grant would cover it. The undertaker told me that the funeral couldn’t go ahead without the deposit but I didn’t have the money. I went home upset and worried what would happen about my brother’s funeral, I really didn’t want him to go into an unmarked grave.

After speaking to other family members I only managed to get together half what was needed (£350). I almost considered taking out a payday loan to get the rest of the money but my wife said that would only make things worse as she had read about what can happen when these go wrong.

I then went to my local CAB who helped me apply to a local charity for a grant to make up the rest of the deposit as I didn’t want to delay the funeral any longer. The funeral director promised to refund this if my [social fund] application was successful. The funeral went ahead and the undertakers and local priest provided a great service.

I was really stressed until the DWP [social fund] came back saying my application had been approved as I was worried that I would need to find all the other money to give to the funeral director which I couldn’t afford.

I think any new funeral cost support should stop people needing to find big deposits that people like me and my family don’t have, it’s really unfair and upsetting to not have the money when all you want is a bit of respect for your brother or whoever. It needs to be less stressful to apply and find out the result when it’s already a stressful time when you have lost someone. I hope I never have to do another application again for someone else’s funeral.”

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