Families grieving the loss of a loved one will find it easier to get help to meet up-front funeral costs due to a change to speed up expenses payment claims, the Government has said.
Previously, a funeral expense payment claim could not be processed without a confirmed date for the funeral taking place, which could lead to longer waiting times for payments to be processed.
But families will now be able to make a claim with an estimated funeral date, providing that other key information is supplied, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said.
The ability to use an estimated date in a claim should speed up the process and payment.
People can receive a funeral expenses payment if they are on certain benefits or tax credits and they also meet the rules on their relationship with the person who has died. For example, if they are a partner or a close friend or relative of the deceased, they may qualify.
DWP minister Will Quince said: “These important changes will make the very difficult time of planning a funeral or cremation that bit easier for bereaved families.
“Helping families access funeral expenses payments sooner and more quickly means they can focus on the much more important task of arranging a proper send-off for their loved one.”
Around 800 claims are received each week by the DWP’s bereavement support team.
The move is in addition to a recent change in the evidence required to process a claim.
Instead of a final invoice, which is usually received after the funeral, families can instead supply a funeral director contract as an indication of the cost, so that it can be submitted to the bereavement support team in advance of a funeral.