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Funeral Expense Assistance regulations: consultation

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


Section 3 – Policy Objectives

The Scottish Government recognises the impact of rising funeral costs on families on low incomes; the long term effect this can have on their finances; and on how they experience grief.

We have already set out a range of actions that we will take to tackle funeral poverty during this parliamentary term in the Funeral Costs Plan [vii] which was published in August 2017. As well as improving the availability of affordable funeral options, the Scottish Government wants to provide support directly to those who need it most at the point of bereavement. A key way we will do this is by delivering FEA by summer 2019.

FEA will provide a one-off payment to support people on certain benefits or tax credits by providing a contribution towards the cost of a funeral. FEA is intended to help improve the outcomes for bereaved families or friends by reducing the burden of debt they may face when paying for a funeral.

The Scottish Government wants to ensure that the process to determine eligibility and provide support is handled as sensitively as possible. We also want to reach more people with the benefit, improve the application process and make eligibility clearer to people in advance of application. We have already committed to processing completed FEA applications within ten working days, responding to feedback that the current DWP process takes too long to reach a decision.

Prior to launch, we will develop clear communications to ensure that applicants and the services that they come in to contact with and might seek support from, are aware of the new benefit; the eligibility criteria; and how to apply for it.

General Questions on the Regulations

It would be helpful if you could bear these general questions in mind when reading the consultation paper.

1. Do you think that the draft regulations ( Annex A) are likely to meet the policy intent set out in this document?
Yes / No
If no, please explain:

2. Can you identify any potential unintended consequences of the regulations?
Yes/No
If yes, please explain:

3. Can you identify any gaps in the regulations?
Yes/No
If yes, please explain:

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