Social Protection | Return of the funeral/bereavement plan
To ask the Minister for Social Protection when the return of the funeral/bereavement grant might be envisaged other than by way of exceptional needs payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
The Bereavement Grant, which was a once-off payment for funeral costs, was discontinued in January 2014. The number of bereavement grant claims in 2013 was 23,716 at a cost of €20.3 million. It is estimated that the cost of reintroducing the grant would be close to €31 million per annum and would increase annually. Any decision to reinstate the grant would have to be considered in an overall policy and budgetary context.
It is worth noting that there are a range of supports available for people following bereavement which provide more significant support than the former grant.
These include weekly-paid Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory and Non-Contributory) pensions, which are based on contributions or a means test, and a once-off Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner grant of €8,000 where there is a dependent child. A number of social welfare payments, including State Pension, continue in payment for six weeks following a death, extending to 12 weeks in respect of Carer’s Allowance. Guardian payments are available where someone cares for an orphaned child. A special funeral grant of €850 is paid where a person dies because of an accident at work or occupational disease.
Under the Supplementary Allowance scheme, the Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet from their weekly income, which may include help with funeral and burial expenses. This is a more targeted and efficient manner of assisting people with bereavement expenses in addition to the range of supports already set out.
Taking the above into consideration, there are no plans to reinstate the bereavement grant at this time.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.
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