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: Fairer Scotland Duty Assessment
- Funeral Expense Assistance: Equality Impact Assessment
- Funeral Expense Assistance: Islands Impact Assessment
- Funeral Expense Assistance: Business Regulatory Impact Assessment
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:
- producing a leaflet to help people plan their own funeral
- publishing guidance on funeral costs aimed at funeral directors, cemeteries and crematoriums, to improve the transparency and availability of information on these charges
- providing more options to help people save for their funeral by piloting a Scottish funeral bond
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.