The death of a loved one is a harrowing time. It becomes far worse when there is pressure to pay for a funeral you simply cannot afford. Pauper’s funerals were seen as the ultimate in indignity in Dickens’s England. They were reserved for those who really were destitute. Times have changed however. Now they are making a comeback for all the wrong reasons. So, here is a look at paupers funeral costs and who pays to bury the poor.
In a country where the taxpayer and the state seem to foot the bill for everything, sadly it is the same for pauper’s funerals. This on the surface does not seem so bad. But the truth is that people are happily abusing a loophole in the law to cut back on the cost of funerals. Nowadays there is less stigma attached to pauper’s funerals. In the same way that many thousands are not ashamed to live on benefits.
These people are happy to let the taxpayer meet the cost of burying or cremating their loved ones. Studies have provoked outrage. Lavish bouquets are laid down by family members at pauper’s funerals. Surely, if these people have the money for flowers and other adornments, they should have the money to pay for a simple funeral service? So similar to the benefits system in the UK, the law needs to change to ensure people do not take advantage of the current rules.
Compassionate grants known as funeral payments are handed out to around 40,000 families each year who are reliant on benefits. These grants are supposed to help with funeral costs. Originally they were only available if there were no close relatives of the deceased who could pay the costs. In the case that someone has no living relatives at all, local councils have a duty to dispose of the body of the deceased.
Pauper’s funerals are widely known as welfare funerals, and many hundreds of families on benefits in the UK make use of the service each year . A simple service is provided that includes a burial or cremation. Communal graves often being used for the purpose. Instead of a hearse, a van may be used, and the service will take place early in the morning or whenever there is a vacant slot.
What is sadly apparent here is that people are turning to the taxpayer to fund a funeral as an easy option as opposed to out of necessity. When there are family member with the necessary funds to pay for the funeral, the cost of the service should be covered by them, and not by the state. Sadly, the UK is seeing a rise in funerals funded by the state for families who have the financial resources to pay.