Funeral costs are rising at four times the rate of inflation and by more than 112% over the last thirteen years. Funeral poverty has increased by 50% in just three years and one in six of us will struggle to pay for a funeral, the average cost of which now stands at £3,596 for a cremation and £4,561 for a burial*. It is not just the elderly affected. Sadly, illness can strike unexpectedly at any age, and those working in a traditionally low paid industry such as horticulture may not have savings to cover unexpected funeral costs. The financial pressure this can put on grieving family and friends is an extra burden they are often unable to manage.
*Source: Fair Funerals campaign
Gary, a 48 year old greenkeeper at Wetherby Golf Club in West Yorkshire, was referred to Perennial by his local hospice in March 2017. He had terminal cancer. He was single, with no adult family, savings or life insurance and was receiving Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from his employer. A Perennial caseworker visited him urgently to assist with benefits, housing and financial advice.
Sadly, Gary passed away three months later and his close friends organised his funeral. They hadn’t realised that by the funeral bill being in their name, they were then liable for the sum. Gary was given a basic funeral at his request, the full cost of which was £3,519. Luckily, the friend named on the bill was in receipt of in-work benefits which allowed a claim for a Department of Work and Pensions Funeral Payment. The award received was the highest available, of £2,024. The amount outstanding for the funeral invoice was £1,495, some of which Perennial was able to cover with a funeral grant.
Perennial attempted to fundraise for the outstanding amount with both local and national charities, but was unsuccessful due to there being no next of kin and the general high demand for funeral grants. The Perennial caseworker contacted Gary’s ex-employer directly as his last payment of SSP was not paid due to his death. Wetherby Golf Club confirmed they would make the payment direct to the funeral director and Perennial awarded a further grant to clear the outstanding invoice.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling to pay the funeral costs of a loved one who worked in horticulture, please contact Perennial to find out if we can help.