Funeral Expense Assistance regulations: consultation

Consultation on the draft regulations to implement Funeral Expense Assistance (FEA) in Scotland by summer 2019.

Section 1 – Introduction

The Scotland Act 2016 devolved new social security powers to Scotland. This included competence for the Funeral Expenses Payment (more commonly known as the Funeral Payment). Scottish Ministers will use powers in the Social Security (Scotland) Bill 2018 to create a new benefit (to replace the DWP Funeral Payment in Scotland) called Funeral Expense Assistance ( FEA), which will be delivered by Summer 2019.

How has the Scottish Government developed the FEA benefit?

The Scottish Government believes that understanding and learning from the experiences of individuals and organisations that come into contact with the current benefits system is vital to help us develop FEA. Particularly to help us think about issues which have an impact on dignity, respect and fairness.

So far, we have gathered views in a number of ways including:

  • From the FEA Reference Group [iii] which was established in March 2016. The group has met nine times to help gather evidence, bring a variety of informed perspectives and provide feedback on proposals;
  • Through the Social Security in Scotland Consultation [iv] which ran from July to October 2016. The section on FEA received 156 responses from both organisations and individuals;
  • During three roundtable meetings and the National Conference on Funeral Poverty in 2016;
  • From Experience Panel members; and
  • By meeting individual organisations to discuss specific areas and interests.

Building on what we have heard through this engagement work, we then set out how we intend to use our powers to deliver FEA in illustrative regulations [v] that were issued to the Social Security Committee, and the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee, of the Scottish Parliament in December 2017. These were also shared, with a request for feedback, with the FEA Reference Group and through the Social Security Newsletter.

Given the extent of the engagement throughout the development of the FEA policy and regulations so far we do not anticipate that this consultation will result in major changes to the value of payments or eligibility. However, any proposed changes that have a significent impact on financial planning would need careful consideration.

How does FEA fit into the wider Scottish social security system?

As we have been developing the law that will underpin how social security will be delivered in Scotland, we have provided a series of position papers to the Scottish Parliament's Social Security Committee setting out current policy thinking on key matters, including the Security Charter and independent scrutiny, Social Security Principles and a rights based approach, Social Security Fraud and Offence Provisions, Social Security ICT implementation, Social Security Agency implementation, Re-determinations and Appeals, Disability Assistance and Employment-Injury Assistance, and Support for Carers. You can find information on the Scottish Parliament website [vi] .


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