Local SNP MSP Tom Arthur has hailed the announcement of a new benefit which will provide improved financial support to help people on low incomes meet the costs of a funeral.
Funeral Support Payment, set to launch on 16 September 2019, will be delivered by Social Security Scotland and will replace the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Funeral Expense Payment for people living in Scotland.
The changes mean around 40% more people will be eligible for financial support at the point of bereavement. People will be able to apply over the phone, by post or online for the first time and, once Social Security Scotland is fully operational, face-to-face pre-application support will also be available.
As with all Scottish Government benefits, Funeral Support Payment has been developed with input from those with experience of the present DWP system. This has helped identify parts of the DWP application process that people currently find difficult or distressing, helping improve the new process and remove barriers to apply.
Commenting on the announcement, Renfrewshire South’s MSP said:
“Coping with the death of a loved one is one of the most tragic events any of us can face. At that difficult time, it’s even harder when there’s extra stress finding the money to pay for a funeral.
“The new Funeral Support Payment, designed and tested with members of the public and stakeholders including funeral directors and welfare advisors, will help ease that stress by providing improved financial support to help cover funeral costs.
“I would like to encourage my constituents who find themselves struggling with bereavement costs to find out if they are eligible and apply to receive this financial support.”
This is a demand-led benefit and it is forecast that more than £6 million in support will be invested in the first full year of operation. The flat rate element of the Funeral Support Payment will be £700 for the majority of applications, and the Scottish Government has committed to annually uprating this in line with inflation – something the UK Government have not done since 2003.
From the 16 September launch date, people can find out more information on eligibility and apply at www.mygov.scot/benefits.