The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) will appear before the Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into Bereavement Benefits this week (Wednesday 6 January 2016) and will highlight five simple steps it believes are necessary to ensure the current system becomes fairer, more effective and easier to access.In its role as the leading trade association for the funeral profession the NAFD has campaigned consistently for a review of the Social Fund funeral payment to ensure it works properly for both bereaved families and funeral directors.Only 62% of the 52,000 people who applied in 2014 were successful. Under the current process applicants can wait up to 21 days to find they receive nothing or very little, leaving them with a large, often unexpected debt that they must settle.
The funeral industry is changing rapidly each year. The last five years has seen a massive increase in pre-paid funeral plans and planning ahead is something that funeral homes try to promote along with charities such as “Dying Matters”.
Furthermore in Scotland, from May 2015, there was no longer a payment made to Doctors for cremation papers (a saving to the family of £170 per cremation) and we expect this system to be launched in the rest of the UK in the coming years – but certainly not in 2016! This change brings an improved level of accuracy as the certification is done by doctors electronically.