Written Question on Funeral Payments

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.


See more on: "Funeral Payments"
Date Title Questioner
28 Nov 2017, 4:52 p.m. Funeral Payments Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what representations he has received on concern about the adequacy of the funeral fund to cover basic funeral costs; and whether he plans change to that fund.

Answer (Caroline Dinenage)

DWP have advertised 1,053 External Vacancies since January 2015 containing 21,432 posts. The breakdown provided by Government Recruitment Services is provided as requested overleaf. It is worth considering these vacancies are not guaranteed to have been filled.

These are the vacancies we advertised. Not all roles advertised were filled and therefore this data will include repeat adverts.

Month

Number of Vacancies

Number of Posts Advertised

Jan-15

8

214

Feb-15

15

353

Mar-15

9

60

Apr-15

8

62

May-15

13

54

Jun-15

20

311

Jul-15

15

326

Aug-15

26

1698

Sep-15

15

1479

Oct-15

13

469

Nov-15

28

397

Dec-15

14

239

Jan-16

14

290

Feb-16

47

1274

Mar-16

50

2107

Apr-16

74

1309

May-16

31

500

Jun-16

58

1081

Jul-16

26

214

Aug-16

34

804

Sep-16

61

1251

Oct-16

50

542

Nov-16

34

567

Dec-16

5

48

Jan-17

101

1540

Feb-17

35

483

Mar-17

17

131

Apr-17

4

22

May-17

42

891

Jun-17

64

1238

Jul-17

24

433

Aug-17

21

243

Sep-17

18

66

Oct-17

30

605

Nov-17

29

131

Total

1053

21432

The Department has had a number of discussions with representatives from the funeral industry and groups supporting bereaved people about Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payments and in particular the maximum amount of £700 available for other costs. We have made clear that we will ensure that Funeral Expenses Payments continue to meet the necessary costs of a cremation or burial for eligible claimants. Average payments have increased year-on-year to meet these necessary costs. We have had to make difficult choices about welfare spending and it has not been possible to increase the £700 maximum for other costs. However, we have made interest-free Social Fund Budgeting Loans available for funeral costs in addition to Funeral Expenses Payments.

We have also been carrying out reforms to the Funeral Expenses Payments Regulations which are coming into force in April 2018. The reforms focused primarily on clarifying a number of issues around eligibility and to simplify the process for claiming a Funeral Expenses Payment. The formal response to the consultation on the Reform of the Funeral Expenses Payment Regulations was published on 3 July 2017 and can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/656887/consultation-response-reforms-to-funeral-expenses-payments.pdf.


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