New benefit will increase eligibility by around 40%.
A new benefit providing help for people on low-incomes to meet the costs of a funeral is on course to be delivered by the Scottish Government through Social Security Scotland by summer 2019.
The move has been welcomed by Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay.
Funeral Expense Assistance (FEA) will replace the current DWP Funeral Payment in Scotland and improvements mean around 40% more people will be eligible to apply. FEA will provide financial support directly to those who need it most at the point of bereavement. Regulations enabling delivery of this new system have been laid in Parliament today.
As with all Scottish Government benefits, Funeral Expense Assistance has been developed with input from those with experience of the present system – helping identify and address the parts of the DWP application process that people currently find difficult or distressing and improving the process and removing barriers to apply.
Mr Mackay said:
“Coping with the death of a loved one is a very difficult time for anyone, and it’s even harder when there’s extra stress finding the money to pay for a funeral.
“The new assistance, being backed by around £2 million of additional funding, being introduced by the Scottish Government will increase eligibility for help by around 40%.
“Help will be provided towards burial or cremation costs, certain transport costs, plus £700 for other costs such as funeral directors fees or flowers. We have committed to annually uprating the £700 to take account of the impact of inflation – something the UK Government has not done since 2003.
“I am pleased that this benefit will be available later this year and will deliver an improved scheme to help those on lower incomes pay for the cost of a funeral. This fits well with our wider work to tackle funeral poverty and the cost of funerals.”
View the Funeral Expense Assistance regulations.