Dodgy moneysaving tip #1: Get the State to pay for a loved one's funeral

21 January 2014

graveTime was, if you couldn’t afford a funeral for your nearest and dearest, you were ashamed. Being buried by the State was the ultimate damning condemnation that you really were down and out. However, nowadays it seems that pauper’s funerals are just another legitimate way  to save money for some unscrupulous sorts.

With the average cost of a funeral now at £3,500, in these cash-strapped times, it’s no wonder people’s eyes are watering. While traditionally paid for by the residuary legatee- the person who gets all the deceased’s money- if there is nothing to leave, coughing up for a funeral is a hefty burden to lay on your next of kin. Of course, some people buy funeral plans, paying a small amount every week or month to cover the inevitable eventuality, but these don’t always cover all costs. So what are grieving families to do?

Well there are two options. If you are on a low-income and qualify for certain benefits, you can get a Funeral Payment to help you with the costs of a send-off, although it doesn’t cover all of the average cost. However, if you don’t qualify, or you want a top-up, there is still the option of a ‘pauper’s funeral’.

The pauper’s funeral rules were meant to look after those with no relatives, and make sure they were properly buried or cremated (not least to stop the spread of icky diseases from abandoned bodies), but the rules also apply where family are unable, or increasingly unwilling, to pay.

A new study by researchers at the University of Bath has found that the number of these funerals is increasing with people “declining” to pay for a funeral and instead turning to the State as a “legitimate option.” The report also describes council workers' dismay and frustration at seeing relatives turn up to a State-funded funeral with expensive flower arrangements and memorials to embellish the send-off.

The report concludes that there needs to be a change in the law to ensure truly needy bereaved families are protected, while the State is protected from those exploiting the system.



  • Les D.
    Or, in other words, force people pay thousands for something so the Government can get its mitts on the tax. Even if somebody isn't on benefits or a 'pauper' doesn't mean they can afford a funeral. An 'expensive flower arrangement' is mor affordable than a whole fucking funeral. Body baggin' bastards.
  • Grammar N.
    As Les says, unless it's a £3,500 flower arrangement it's probably not the best way to evaluate whether or not a person can afford to pay for a funeral.
  • Jeff N.
    Over a grand for a chipboard casket. Bloody rip-off. Funerals, weddings, its all an excuse to rip you off.
  • Noddy
    Alternatively, would a dead body go into the green recycling bin because its compostable, or in the black bin because its food waste?
  • jokester4
    Just shove them straight in a cremation oven and be done with it. I'm sure you could get this down to around £25 (excluding whatever ridiculous charges the government wants to stamp a certificate).
  • Noghar
    'Council workers' dismay and frustration'. WTF have they got to get dismayed and frustrated about? It's not their funeral. More like 'Daily Mail readers' indignation.' Most Council gravediggers couldn't give a toss unless it cut into their tea break.
  • Noghar
    Meant to add - this is classic government disinformation designed to soften up the public before grants for funerals are cut. Hence the reference to 'council workers dismay' = totally invented bollocks. Hey Osborne - if there's a $25bn shortfall in revenues, how about asking Amazon and Vodaphone to pay their f**king tax?
  • evilnoodle
    I'm all for Soylent Green!
  • Marky M.
    Wasn't there a story once about behind-the-scenes workers at crematoria taking the bodies out of the coffins and flogging them (the coffins I mean) back to the funeral directors, for them to sell again? Urban myth?
  • noshit
    "The report concludes that there needs to be a change in the law to ensure truly needy are protected, while the State is protected from those exploiting the system." Sounds like the NHS. Thousands of very elderly in medical beds on hundreds of Hospital wards. Medically fit but 'family' don't want to 'find' their relative a home or idd look after them their fucking selves. The fucking rich are the worst too. Privatise the fucking lot and pay in to your own scheme for fucks sake then you can complain about the shocking care and someone might give a flying fuck.
  • Les D.
    Oy Les Dennis.....I'm Les Dennis!!! Get your own name!!

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