Last year, almost 280 families and individuals in Cork received Government help to cover the cost of loved one’s funerals they couldn’t afford.
Figures released by the Department of Social Protection show 276 exceptional needs payments were granted for funeral and burial expenses in Cork during 2016, a 35% increase on the previous year.
In 2014, 233 payments were granted; A further 204 were granted during 2015.
In the last three years, the department paid out € 1,538,311 for funeral costs, the figures show.
By the end of April €197,264 was issued to 95 families and individuals in the Cork region.
Funerals are a huge expense for some people, according to St Vincent de Paul (SVP) regional vice-president Brendan Dempsey.
“Just last week we had an enquiry from a group of people, for a neighbour who had nothing.” “We certainly get a lot of requests but we’re not able to help unfortunately,” Mr Dempsey added.
“We don’t have access to that excess cash. It is an issue. A lot of people are never prepared. Either they don’t think about it and die prematurely or can’t afford to save for one.” SVP has clinics across Cork city and County, Mr Dempsey added.
“Over the year, I imagine each clinic will get at least one request. Over the whole county maybe 40 or 50.”
Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, the Department can make a single payment to help with a one-off, unforeseen expense that a person could not reasonably be expected to pay for with their weekly pay.
Cheaper for people to be cremated than to be buried in a grave.
A funeral costs €3804 on average in Cork, according to a study by Post Insurance.
A coffin costs €1,399, a burial plot costs €1,575 and a cremation costs €770, the study also found.
The Government provided €31.5 million for exceptional needs payments (ENPs) and urgent needs payments (UNPs) in 2017.