News In Focus
Scottish funeral benefit to come into force next week
A new Social Security Scotland benefit providing help for people on low incomes to meet the costs of a funeral will be available from next Monday, 16 September 2019.
Funeral support payment will replace the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) funeral expense payment for people living in Scotland.
The Scottish Government expects around 40% more people to be eligible for the new support, which has been developed with input from those with experience of the DWP system. Improvements have been made to aspects of the application process that people find difficult or distressing, and barriers to applying have been removed.
Under draft regulations laid before the Scottish Parliament earlier this year, the final version of which is awaited, the benefit will pay reasonable burial or cremation costs, a lump sum of £700 (reduced where the deceased made certain types of provision), and reasonable transport costs.
People will be able to apply over the phone, by post or online for the first time. Face-to-face pre-application support will be available once Social Security Scotland is fully operational.
Announcing the launch date, Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Our new funeral support payment has been designed and tested with members of the public and stakeholders including funeral directors and welfare advisors to ensure the end product is one we can be proud of.
“The new support will reach far more people struggling with funeral costs and is backed by around £2 million additional funding. The flat rate element of the funeral support payment will be £700 for the majority of applications, and we have committed to annually uprating this in line with inflation – something the UK Government have not done since 2003.
“This is a demand-led benefit and forecasts are that we will invest more than £6 million in support in the first full year of operation. And as with the best start grant, we will encourage people to apply and get this financial support.”
Once launched, people can find out more information on eligibility and apply at mygov.scot/benefits