Ritchie Concerned About Funeral Expenses Shortfall For People On Limited Incomes

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has made representations to the Minister for Communities regarding the shortfall in funeral payments for people on limited incomes.

dn_screenMs Ritchie said: “I have raised this matter with the Minister as I am concerned that relatives are unable to meet rising funeral costs due to the limited help available from the Social Fund.

“The maximum award for essential funeral costs under the means-tested social fund funeral payment system has been frozen despite funeral costs rising every year, and these payments now no longer covers the cost of a funeral.

“I am concerned about the distressing circumstances and debt this is leading people into, at a time when they are grieving. The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee has produced a report on this issue, and I have written to the Minister for Communities here to request the recommendations be implemented:

* Negotiate with funeral directors to make simple “fair funerals” a reasonable cost
* Set the maximum social fund funeral payment accordingly

“I will continue to pursue this matter so that people should not have to experience a debt at this most difficult time”.