Bereaved people in Scotland may be able to receive a contribution towards the costs of a funeral to help ease the financial pressure during COVID-19.
Funeral Support Payment is available to people who are on certain low-income benefits or tax credits and are the nearest relation to the person who has died.
The payment can help towards burial or cremation fees, some travel costs, and other expenses such as funeral director fees, a coffin, or flowers.
Introduced in September last year, the Funeral Support Payment replaced the UK Government’s Funeral Expense Payment in Scotland.
The Scottish Government Funeral Support Payment widened eligibility so that around 40% more people can access this benefit.
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“We know that during these unprecedented times, many people on low incomes will require financial support and I want to encourage people to access the benefits they are entitled to.
“I understand that coping with the death of a loved one is one of the most difficult events any of us can face. It’s even harder when there’s extra stress trying to find the money to pay for a funeral.
“We worked with stakeholders who have supported bereaved clients in accessing funeral support so our service is as straightforward to access as possible. One way that we’ve made it easier is by creating clear pre-application advice and an interactive online application process.
“To ensure organisations managing funerals can cope with the increased demand during the current pandemic. The Scottish Government is also asking families not to delay organising funerals for their loved ones.”
Social Security Scotland Chief Executive David Wallace said:
“We want to get the message out there that if you think you qualify for a DWP benefit, you may also be eligible for a payment from Social Security Scotland. There’s no need to wait for a decision from the DWP before applying, we can check with them later.
“Don’t delay in getting in touch. We know that dealing with bereavement is already stressful and that it can be hard to talk about. That is why we have specially trained team who can help you through the application process and we can go at the pace that is best for you.”
- Funeral Support Payment can help cover: burial or cremation costs (these costs vary throughout the country, therefore reasonable local costs are published on mygov.scot/burial-cremation-costs-scotland)
- the payment includes a flat rate for any other expenses – £1,000 for the majority of applications and £122.05 if the person who died had made provision for their funeral through a funeral plan. It can also cover some travel, document, and medical costs
- The average amount of the payment is around £1,500.
- those eligible for the Funeral Support Payment must be living in Scotland, have had the nearest relationship to the person who has died, be financially responsible for the funeral and be on a qualifying benefit or tax credit (e.g. Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Disability or severe disability element of Working Tax Credit)
- over 1,500 payments were made from mid-September to late January to help people in Scotland pay for funerals according to latest Funeral Support Payment statistics published in March
- clients can find pre-application advice which includes eligibility and award amounts, and apply at mygov.scot/funeral-support-payment
- clients can choose to apply online, via a paper application form or by requesting a call back from specially trained advisors working within the dedicated Funeral Support Payment team by calling 0800 182 2222.