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DWP Funeral Payment - Advice wanted


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I am hoping someone with some knowledge of help with funeral costs can help me out.

 

My Mother and I have a joint bank current account, she has no savings and neither do I. Depending on the time of the month there can be up to £1000 or more in the account. I know already that when the time comes I qualify for a funeral payment as I get DLA as well as working tax credits, so that is not the issue.

 

My Mother is 83 and not in good health so wants to have everything in order as most people do. We have been told that when the time comes the DWP will want to see a final bank statement as part of the process of qualifying for help, which is understandable. However as we have a joint account there will not be a final statement as it will just continue in my name only. So I am assuming they will accept just a current statement?

 

The biggest worry is will they take whatever is in the account at that time to use towards the funeral costs? As it is a joint account not all the money in it belongs to her or me, so what happens? The bank said that any money in the account will become mine as that is how it works when one person dies and they have a joint account. So would they take that money and say it has to used to pay for the funeral?

 

The money that is in the account is money for living costs, bills etc and not savings but if they use it, then how do I pay to live until the next time I get paid?

 

It is all quite confusing as to what happens as I guess this is not a normal set up.

 

Any advice greatly appreciated

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My mum had to claim one last year for my dad.

 

She was asked if she had savings etc, of which she didn't. They did not ask for bank statements at all, I just filled the form in for my mum, sent it off, and quite a few weeks later they made a payment of

around £1300. Luckily I have quite a few brothers and sisters so as a family, with the help of the funeral payment, we were able to cover all costs quite easily.

 

Something to bear in mind, this payment does take a while, and it is only around the £1300 mark. We had to pay around £1800 to the funeral directors immediately when we arranged the funeral, and the rest within a month of the funeral. So the amount from the funeral fund isn't enough for much and may only just cover the very basics.

 

My Dads funeral cost us £5000. We had a solid oak casket which was around £800-£900 but apart from that, the rest of the bill was the costs of essentials and nothing more.

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savings don't affect funeral payments, you just have to be on the qualifying benefit and the closest relative. If there is money in your mother's estate, then the payment may have to be repaid at a later date, otherwise it doesn't. The bank account set up won't be an issue.

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Hi

It's a good idea to be prepared and from what I remember when my father in law died the joint account was no issue. Are you an only child, I ask because the DWP will want the incomes of any of your siblings.

 

As for the funeral costs, please try to remember that many Funeral Directors now are part of big concerns who have one goal, profit. They will try to sell you everything such as a better coffin, embalming , flowers , cars etc. Depending on what type of funeral your mother wants i.e burial or cremation frankly could make a significant impact on these details. I would never use them for anything other than the essentials.

Sorry if that sounds blunt but after a bereavement you are very vulnerable and some companies take advantage

Any opinion I give is from personal experience .

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Fletch is correct, if there are brothers/sisters who are working then the DWP will expect them to pay, and they will want to know these details so if you were to not tell them, they would consider it fraud. Not saying you would do this obviously, but just advising.

 

We had 2 funeral cars as there were that many of us, and none of us wanted to drive, each car was £180. We used a florist for the flowers, the funeral home can arrange this but it would cost a lot more.

 

We also went to see my dad as we needed to, his death was very sudden, but I cant remember the costs of that.

 

The lady we who sorted us out wasnt actually pushy at all, she was a nice one, but also as Fletch says, they all seem to be owned by larger companies now. Our place has its own name and was a little place, but we later found it was owned by the Co-op.

 

Any funeral grants also go to the funeral home and not directly to you.

 

When you go to them to arrange a funeral (here in Wales anyway) the costs that are outside of there contol, there own personal costs say, ie paying for the plot at the cemetery (if using burial) instructing a vicar, using the church, has to be paid for straight away, as I mentioned previously so when we first went to the funeral home to start the arrangements, we had to hand over that £1800 - they may give you a few days on this if you do not have it to hand, but nothing will proceed until initial costs are paid for.

 

My Mum has since arranged life insurance so we are sorted for the future and will not have to rely on any help, but as we are a large family we are thankfully able to sort things ourselves anyway.

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http://www.naturaldeath.org.uk/index.php?page=keeping-funeral-costs-down

 

Follow the links on the site above, there are many ways to save on the cost of funerals quite comfortably.

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http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/jun/28/funeral-die-low-cost-options

 

 

Some hard-pressed families are driven to the budget option by constrained finances, while others see it as a chance to plan a simple affair in advance, one which doesn't burden their family with a huge bill.

 

 

"The way funerals have been done in this country is crap," says Charles Cowling, who runs the Good Funeral Guide blog. "It's no wonder more people are taking permission to do things differently. You can have a loved one cremated for less than £1,000. Then, later, have a very low-cost memorial with the ashes and make it a creative, DIY event. In many ways it's more satisfying than the big, black-tie traditional funeral."

 

Catherine Joy started BB Funerals in North London back in 2010. She offers a "direct" cremation funeral, one without any formal service, for a total cost of £969. It involves transport of the body, a private committal at the crematorium without a minister and the return of the ashes in an urn. The stripped-back approach means she makes very little: somewhere between £100 and £200.

 

 

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Thanks everyone for the advice it is appreciated. Just to answer some of the questions posed, I am the only surviving relative now so the buck stops with me. I know I will qualify unless there was a massive turnaround in my finances which is unlikely. It is really just the worry of the DWP taking what is in the current account into account towards the cost as that is obviously money that is used for living expenses.

 

We decided to go with a joint account to make things easier in the long term and because there is no property or anything else involved it made sense, also if my Mother became not able to make decisions etc, I would automatically be in a position to administer her bills etc without a lot of hassle getting power of attourney. Also we calculated that with both our incomes going into the account we qualified for the 5% interest every month. It doesn't amount to much but as Mr Tesco says "every little helps"

 

It will only be a very basic thing whenever it comes and we have a half decent funeral director in the town that is renowned for not ripping people off with flowers etc andd there won't be any cars or extras just a basic cremation, that is all she wants and as there is no other family I suppose it is all that is necessary.

 

Like I said it is just about the joint account, if there was around £1200 in it if it was the right time of the month, I can't afford for the DWP to suddenly say well you have to use that towards it and have nothing left to live on until next month.

 

If the funeral director wanted payment up front I would be able to put it on a credit card, or at least part of it, so hopefully that wouldn't be a problem but I am pretty sure our FD is happy to help if they know you qualify for the funeral payment with just a small deposit.

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SKY TV and the penalty charge - how far will it go?

 

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  • 1 month later...

Simon, I understand your position clearly but please do not assume your 'local FD' would be prepared to accept a small deposit when the time comes to book the funeral. I am in that exact position now following the Easter holidays and my FD will not take anything less than all third party payments. In my case, it's a burial and a 'first time' plot so I am looking at having to find £3K in 7 days otherwise I cannot go ahead with the arrangements.

Are you able to afford putting a little something to one side (under the mattress) towards the deposit or even taking out one of these life insurance policies for over 50's with no medical. Assuming your mother survives 12 months, you will get the amount you have insured her for. You set the level of premiums up to what you can afford. Just a thought.

 

Personally, I would be inclined to pop into your local FD and ask him/them to quote you for cremation based on your requirements and ask them to clarify what 'third party' payments would be expected to be paid upfront. That way it will give you some idea at least.

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simplest way to protect your own income - open a second account in your name only

 

have both your mother and your income initially paid into the joint account so that you can get the interest on the account

 

then have your income transferred from joint account into your sole account - this will reduce any risk of confusion as to who any money belongs to

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