MP hails new benefit for funeral costs

Lesley Laird
Lesley Laird

Lesley Laird MP has welcomed the launch of a new benefit for low-income families struggling to cover funeral costs.

The new Funeral Support Payment – which replaces the Department for Work and Pensions’ funeral expense payment – was launched by Scotland’s social security department today.

It will help families with burial or cremation costs, some travel costs and can include a £700 flat rate payment.

According to a YouGov poll, only 22% of Scots would be able to pay for burial or cremation following a sudden death.

A further 19% said they would have to go into debt – using a credit card, loan or borrowing to cover the cost of a service.

Lesley Laird MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath said: “Across my constituency, where poverty levels are reaching record-levels in some areas, the cost of a funeral – expected or unexpected – is an acute worry.

“Many families, already struggling to meet the costs of basic living, are having to resort to desperate measures, such as taking on excessive debt or launching a crowd-funding appeal, in order to bury or cremate their loved one with dignity.

“There’s also been a rise in public health funerals carried out by Fife Council in cases where no-one can be found who is willing or able to fund the funeral, for example where an elderly person has died in a care home.

“This Funeral Support Payment fund is welcome and the application process – which can be done online for the first time - has been made simpler and less intrusive.

“To be laden with financial worries at a time of grief is awful and I would urge people who find themselves in this difficulty to apply for this fund.”

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