Funeral Expense Assistance

We are taking action to reduce funeral poverty and help people manage funeral costs.

These are set out in our funeral costs plan which includes the launch of a new Funeral Expense Assistance benefit by summer 2019.

Replacing the UK Government's Funeral Payment for applicants living in Scotland, the new Funeral Expense Assistance benefit will provide critical financial support to people at a difficult time.

Funeral Expense Assistance makes a number of improvements compared to the current payment, including:

  • helping more people due to its wider eligibility
  • increasing the flat rate of the payment each year to take account of the impact of inflation
  • a streamlined application process to make it easier to apply

How we are improving funeral payments

A 2016 consultation on social security in Scotland highlighted that the current process and timescale for receiving the Funeral Payment is stressful for applicants. We aim to simplify and speed up the process, making it easier for people to understand if they are eligible.

When Funeral Expense Assistance launches in Scotland in summer 2019, we aim to process applications within 10 working days of receipt of a completed application and make payments as soon as practicable thereafter.

In March 2016 we set up the Funeral Payment and Funeral Poverty Reference Group to support Scottish Ministers in developing policy for a new funeral payment.

From May to August 2018 we ran a Funeral Expense Assistance Regulations consultation to gather views and identify any gaps, issues or unintended consequences with the legislation that will allow us to deliver Funeral Expense Assistance.

In November 2018 we published an independent analysis of consultation responses.

Funeral Expense Assistance regulations were laid in Parliament on 18 January 2019. At that time we also published our response to the consultation and the impact assessments for regulations.

The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People attended the Scottish Parliament's Social Security Committee in February 2019 to give evidence on Funeral Expense Assistance.

Tackling funeral poverty and helping people with funeral costs

As well as the Funeral Expense Assistance benefit we are taking a number of other actions to make more affordable funeral options available. These include:

Policy position papers

We have published a series of social security policy papers setting out our position on the development of the devolved benefits in Scotland.