Funeral Expense Assistance regulations: consultation

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

Section 6 - Request for a Re-determination

Re-determination provides the right for an individual to ask for a determination to be taken again, should they wish. The focus of the re-determinations approach is on getting the decision right, to have clearly published procedures and timescales for challenging decisions, with meaningful redress, and to have processes in place for Social Security Scotland to put things right quickly where there has been an error.

Unlike the DWP's Mandatory Reconsideration process that only examines whether the original decision was right or not, Social Security Scotland will put aside the original determination and a different, independent officer will undertake the full process of making a new determination, which will replace the earlier determination completely. The individual will be able to ask for a re-determination without having to supply further evidence, but Social Security Scotland will take into consideration any new evidence provided. If the individual is dissatisfied with the re-determination outcome, or if it has not been completed within the prescribed timescales, then the individual can exercise their right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal.

We are designing a re-determinations and appeals process which is informed by individuals' experiences, including their previous experience of the current, DWP process. The Scottish Government is working closely with Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services in co-designing the appeals process to ensure the individual is at the centre of the process. As a result of the amendments made to the Bill at Stage 3, the Scottish Government will report annually on how the appeals process is working.

Timescales for the re-determination process

Our proposal is that a re-determination request relating to FEA should be made within 31 calendar days of an individual being notified of the determination.

If a request is not made within the 31 days allowed, a request for a re-determination can still be considered at any point up to a year after being notified of the original determination if there is a good reason for the request being made late. Where Scottish Ministers refuse a late request for a re-determination, the individual will be able to appeal that to the First-tier Tribunal.

We propose that, on receipt of a request for a re-determination of entitlement to FEA, Scottish Ministers should have 15 working days to make the fresh determination. This period is to be counted from the next working day after Social Security Scotland receives a re-determination request in the format required by the Agency. If there is a failure to make the re-determination within the 15 day period, the individual will be informed that they have a right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against the original determination.

11. We have proposed that requests for an FEA re-determination should be made within 31 calendar days of receipt of notification of the original determination.

Do you think that is an acceptable time period?
Yes / No
If no, please explain:

12. We have proposed that an FEA re-determination should be processed within 15 working days of receipt of a request.

Do you think that is an acceptable time period?
Yes / No
If no, please explain


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