New funeral benefit to help with bereavement costs

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Have you had to pay for a funeral that took place in the last six months but are struggling to pay due to being on a low income?

A new benefit launched last September provides help for people on low incomes to meet the costs of a funeral.

Funeral Support Payment 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 per cent 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.

You don’t happy to apply immediately, you can claim up until six months after the day of the funeral.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said at the date of the launch: ‘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.

‘Our new Funeral Support Payment has been designed and tested with members of the public and stakeholders, including funeral directors and welfare advisors, to ensure the end product is one we can be proud of.

‘The new support will reach far more people struggling with funeral costs and is backed by around £2 million additional funding. The flat rate element of the Funeral Support Payment will be £700 for the majority of applications, and we have committed to annually uprating this in line with inflation – something the UK Government have not done since 2003.

‘This is a demand-led benefit and forecasts are that we will invest more than £6 million in support in the first full year of operation. And as with the Best Start Grant, we will encourage people to apply and get this financial support.’

To find out more you can visit mygov.scot/funeral-support-payment/ or call 0800 182 2222 to speak to a trained advisor who can help you make your application.

Case study

Beth MacBeath is a director at Manson and MacBeath Funeral Directors in Fort William. She told us: ‘Any help from Government funding will always be welcome due to the financial strain a funeral can put on families.

‘We, at Manson and MacBeath, also offer an interest free monthly payment option for those who need a bit of extra help but the Funeral Support Payment can be a huge help in destressing the situation.’

Pete T. O’Neill,  a director of funeral directors John McLellan and Co Ltd, also in Fort William, commented: ‘John McLellan and Co Ltd is pleased that Social Security Scotland’s Funeral Support Payment continues to assist families on lower income budgets.

‘Our company goes the extra mile and offer families a full range of funeral choices, and we believe in fair funeral pricing for everyone.

‘Our funeral options start at £1,199 for direct cremation, and we also offer funeral plans to assist families make arrangements today and have peace of mind in place for the future.’