Funeral benefit – who is entitled to it
The current law indicates that the funeral allowance is a benefit that is due primarily to family members, but also to other entities that are able to document the costs associated with the burial of the deceased. We are talking about an employer, a social welfare home, a municipality, a county, a legal entity of a church or a religious association, or a complete stranger.
In the case of a family member, the funeral allowance is PLN 4000. This is a fixed amount, regardless of what the actual funeral costs were. However, for a stranger, institution, employer, etc., the funeral benefit is due up to the amount of the incurred costs and may not exceed PLN 4,000. If the funeral costs fell on more than one person or entity, the funeral allowance is divided between these persons or entities in proportion to the funeral costs incurred.
In order to receive a funeral allowance, strangers must document in detail the expenses incurred up to the amount of the allowance. What costs should be considered as funeral expenses is not specified in any law. Thus, it is assumed that the funeral itself is an activity that lasts from the moment of death to burying the body of the deceased.
The issue of documenting expenses raises many doubts. Questions often arise about whether the purchase of a coffin alone is enough to prove the funeral expenses? Will the expenses for the funeral ceremony be included in the amount of the benefit paid by ZUS? Can expenses related to placing a gravestone be included in funeral expenses? So what are the costs included in the payment of funeral benefit by the Social Insurance Institution, and what is not reimbursed under the benefit?
Presenting a bill for the coffin itself does not constitute proof of payment of funeral expenses. This is because it is presumed that the remaining costs were paid by someone else, who will also apply for a funeral benefit. In such a case, it is paid proportionally.
A church ceremony and expenses related to it confirmed by a church institution may be financed under the Social Security benefit. However, expenses incurred on placing a gravestone, which are not directly related to the burial of the deceased, are not taken into account when determining the amount of the funeral benefit.