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Upper Bann MLA Jonathan Buckley said:

‘‘ One of the harrowing realities of this pandemic are the tragic and untimely deaths, with 63 recorded so far and a surge expected within the next 20 days. As a result, families are experiencing the agonising task of organising funerals in these extraordinary circumstances. Amidst all of the financial pressures and the unforeseen nature of this pandemic, funeral poverty has become a sudden reality for many families that have lost loved one’s to COVID-19.

I am pleased that the Minister has confirmed that Funeral Support Payments have been increased from £700 up to £1000 to offer additional support to families on low incomes. In addition to this, the Minister has confirmed that her Department is actively exploring options to make the application process more seamless and straight-forward.

It is crucial that we offer as much support as we can to families suffering trauma and pain throughout these trying times. ’’