1. Funeral Expense Assistance (FEA) will replace the UK Government’s Funeral Expenses Payment (FEP) in Scotland by summer 2019. This new benefit will deliver a one off payment to support people on certain low income benefits or tax credits who may be struggling with funeral costs. It will provide a contribution towards these costs, reducing the burden of debt they may be facing. Administration of FEA will be delivered by Social Security Scotland.
2. Delivery of FEA is one of 10 actions the Scottish Government will take during this Parliamentary term to tackle funeral poverty, as set out in our Funeral Costs Plan. FEA will allow the Scottish Government to provide better support directly to bereaved people at a very difficult time.
3. The FEA payment provides support towards:
- Burial or Cremation costs. This may also include the cost of any documents that are required to allow the burial and cremation to take place.
- Certain travel costs; and
- A flat rate payment for other expenses. This may be used towards any other funeral expenses such as funeral director fees, a coffin, and flowers. The amount of other expenses will either be –
- £700 for the majority of eligible applicants where the deceased had no funeral provision in place (this payment amount will apply for all FEA payments for child funerals); or
- £120 to eligible applicants where the deceased had made provision for their funeral through a funeral plan.
4. FEA has been developed based on extensive engagement with a wide range of organisations and individuals with experience of the current system from the outset of the policy development process in March 2016. Further details on this engagement are set out in the analysis report for our consultation on draft FEA regulations and on our FEA Reference Group page.
5. Drawing on this work, illustrative regulations for FEA were issued to the Social Security Committee and the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee of the Scottish Parliament on 30 November 2017, during the passage of the Social Security (Scotland) Bill.
6. Throughout this period we have received, and are continuing to take, views from social security Experience Panel members and members of our reference group on the design of the service to deliver FEA.
7. Building on this engagement, a 14 week consultation on the FEA draft regulations ran between 17 May and 23 August 2018 to gather further feedback on our proposals so final policy decision could be made. There were 41 separate responses from a range of organisations and individuals.
8. Also published along with this response to the consultation for FEA is: