Social Security Directorate Social Security Policy Division
Funeral Support Payment - Key Facts
1. Funeral Support Payment will provide a one off payment to help people on low income benefits with a contribution towards the cost of a funeral from summer 2019, replacing the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Funeral Expenses Payment in Scotland.
2. The Scottish Government laid the regulations for this payment in the Scottish Parliament on 18 January 20191, and at the same time published the consultation response2 and impact assessment.
3. Changes to this support compared to the current DWP Funeral Payment include: using a new nearest relative test and more sensitive assessment process to determine who is responsible for the funeral costs; and introducing a 10 working day processing time for completed applications.
4. We have widened eligibility for the payment compared to the current DWP Funeral Expenses Payment by around 40% to reach around 4,400 people in total each year, and will help people who would receive nothing at present. This will see an investment of around £2 million of additional funding each year above the budget that will transfer from the UK Government, to take spending to over £6 million each year.
5. FUNERAL SUPPORT PAYMENT HAS THREE ELEMENTS: 1) Uncapped element: includes costs for the following – burial or cremation; certain medical documents that will allow the burial and cremation to take place (only funerals outside Scotland need this); certain documents to access money of the deceased to help pay for the funeral; and removal of medical devices if the funeral is a cremation. 2) Certain travel cost. 3) Flat rate set at £700 for any other costs incurred (or £120 if a funeral plan is in place to help pay for items not covered by the plan).
6. Deductions may be made from the payment award level, for example if there is money available from the person who has died or from insurance policies to pay for the funeral etc. Any payment made can also be recovered afterwards from the estate of the person who has died.
7. ELIGIBILITY - will be determined based on the following: Application timeframe – after the date of death up to 6 months after the funeral has occurred. Residence – o applicant must be ordinarily resident in Scotland, and o the person who has died must have been ordinarily resident within the UK. Funeral location – the payment will only support funerals that take place in the United Kingdom; and in some cases in a member state of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Relationship to the person who has died, and financial responsibility for the funeral - applicant must have had the nearest relationship to the person who has died, and must be responsible for paying for the funeral. Qualifying benefit – the applicant or their partner must be in receipt of a qualifying benefit or tax credit, these are: o Income Support (IS) o Income Based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) o Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) o Pension Credit (PC)
8. THE NEW NEAREST RELATIONSHIP TEST To make this process less intrusive and clearer in advance who is entitled the Scottish Government will use the family hierarchy lists from the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 as part of the process to determine eligibility for the Funeral Support Payment, this is set out below.
9. We will accept the applicant is the appropriate person to take financial responsibility for the funeral if there is either: a. nobody at a higher level of the hierarchy; or b. multiple family members at the same level of the list as the applicant, such as other siblings; or c. a nearer relative of the person who has died who is 16 or 17 years old, unless the 16 or 17 year old explicitly requests to take responsibility for the funeral.
Adult death (s65): Child death (s66): Stillbirth (s74): the adult’s spouse or civil partner the child’s parent or a person who had parental rights and parental responsibilities in relation to the child (but who is not a local authority) the still-born child’s parent neither married to nor in a civil partnership with the adult but was living with the adult as if they were married to each other and had been so living for a period of at least 6 months (or if the adult was in hospital immediately before death had been so living for such period when the adult was admitted to hospital) the child’s brother or sister the still-born child’s brother or sister the adult’s child the child’s grandparent the still-born child’s grandparent the adult’s parent the child’s uncle or aunt the still-born child’s uncle or aunt the adult’s brother or sister the child’s cousin the still-born child’s cousin the adult’s grandparent the child’s niece or nephew the still-born child’s niece or nephew the adult’s grandchild a friend of long standing of the child
the adult’s uncle or aunt the adult’s cousin the adult’s niece or nephew a friend of long standing of the adult
10. As set out at s65(4) of the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016 an adult’s spouse, civil partner, or partner they had been living with as if they were married to each other are to be omitted from the list if they were permanently separated.
11. In exceptional circumstances, if the applicant does not have the nearest relationship as set out in the table but they still wish to apply then they can raises any relevant information within their application, such as if there has been estrangement. Social Security Scotland will then consider whether it is reasonable for the applicant to be the person making funeral arrangements.
12. Funeral Support Payment will be made to clients, unless the client provides consent to pay the funeral director directly. This is because the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 set into primary legislation that if a client will not be paid directly then the client will need to confirm they agree that another person or organisation can receive the award.