Province increases funeral benefits

The provincial government has relaxed some of its funding cuts for low-income funeral services.

In the March budget, funeral benefits under SAP and SAID were lowered from $3,850 to $2,100. Several advocates, including the funeral industry, were unhappy with the change.

While the government will be leaving the base rate flat fee of $2,100, they have introduced three allowances for services some found they could no longer afford.

An allowance of up to $700 will be put in place for funeral srvices or rituals whne requested by next of kin, an allowance of as much as $700 will be put in place for embalming when the funeral home determines that is required, and a cremation allowance of up to $925 will be put into place.

Those allowances are on top of the $2,100 flat fee.

While the original cuts were estimated to save about $1 million, the revised plan will only save $400,000.

The difference will be found elsewhere within the Ministry of Social Services budget, Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor told reporters Monday.

The government also harmonized mileage rates for travel beyond 20km. Previously, mileage rates for the funeral industry were 2.5 times that of the public service commission rate.

For more on this story, please see the June 27 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.

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