Information

Funeral Expense Assistance regulations: consultation

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


Section 2 – About the Consultation

What are we consulting about?

This consultation asks questions about whether the draft FEA regulations, at Annex A, will have the desired effect and also asks questions on some specific points about the effects of these regulations. We would like to gather views from a range of organisations and individuals to ensure we have identified the best solution.

Who do we want to hear from?

We are keen to gather the views of people with a working knowledge of social security and experience of working with regulations, for example welfare rights officers and local authorities. As the Scottish Commission on Social Security, which will be set up to scrutinise future regulations, will not be in place in time to participate in the consultation process, we plan to engage experts in social security legislation to provide effective scrutiny of the draft regulations.

In addition, we are keen to hear from individuals and stakeholder groups with an interest or experience in this area. This includes previous applicants, funeral directors and people who provide support to those who have been bereaved.

How can you respond?

In order to make this consultation as accessible as possible for people who might be affected by the changes, we are offering alternative ways of engaging for past, current and potential applicants. We think that questions 4 to 9 (in Annex B ) will be particularly relevant to the people who will apply for FEA. To respond to the consultation, people will be able to choose between interviews (for example, face-to-face or over the phone), group sessions, and the opportunity to provide written feedback in the form of a questionnaire. This will provide people with the opportunity to speak directly to researchers about their experiences and views on topics covered in the wider consultation.

We have already proactively invited Social Security Experience Panel members to participate in research on this topic, as well as working with a range of stakeholders, and other relevant agencies, to hear about their experience and views on key issues covered in this consultation. If you would like to tell us about your experiences and views, please contact socialsecurityexperience@gov.scot or:

Freephone: 0800 029 4974 (includes language line translation)
Text: Prefix 18001
SMS: 07467 447375
British Sign Language ( BSL) users can contact us via http://contactscotland-bsl.org.

Please let us know about any additional support needs that you have in order to enable you to take part.

When do you have until to respond?

All responses should be submitted to us by 23 August 2018. More information, on how to respond can be found at Annex B .

Who might be affected by the regulations?

Under proposed eligibility, FEA will reach around 2,000 additional people each year compared to the current DWP Funeral Payment. This will take the total number of payments to approximately 5,600 each year, once a steady state is reached, and annual expenditure to around £8 million.

We want to target FEA at those who are in poverty and those who may be tipped into poverty by having to pay for a funeral. To do this, eligibility will be dependent on the applicant (or their partner) being in receipt of specified UK Government benefits or tax credits.

Further details of who may be affected by the regulations can be found in the summary of draft Impact Assessments at section 7 . We are also consulting on these and welcome your views.

How will the regulations be taken forward?

The responses to the consultation will be analysed and considered before final policy decisions are made. The regulations will then be revised as needed and laid in draft for approval by the Scottish Parliament. They will then need to complete the parliamentary process before FEA payments can begin to be made.

Whilst the regulations are being developed, work is also underway on the design of the new Social Security Scotland. This will be headquartered in Dundee, will have a further site of similar size in Glasgow and a strong local presence with a human face to improve accessibility and support. The Agency's local presence will also ensure that at least 400 jobs are spread across Scotland. The aim is to recruit a diverse workforce that represents our society and the people who will use our service.

Later this year we will start to design the business processes which will allow citizens to access and receive the FEA. This includes the application process. We want to test and evolve designs with stakeholders and members of the public who have experience of the current DWP system to ensure it is as user-friendly as possible.

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