Reported by Third Force News – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.

A new benefit to help low income families meet the costs of a funeral has officially launched.

The payment – which is being delivered by Social Security Scotland – will help towards the cost of a funeral. It replaces the Funeral Expenses Payment previously operated by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for people living in Scotland.

The payment will help towards burial or cremation costs, some travel costs and a £700 flat rate payment for people who do not have funeral plans. The Scottish Government has committed to annually uprating the flat rate element in line with inflation.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville, said: “If people on low incomes find themselves in the awful position of having lost a loved one and they are struggling to pay for the funeral, I would urge them to find out if they are eligible and apply for Funeral Support Payment.

“As with all of the benefits that we are introducing, we have been working hard to make sure that we improve people’s experience of accessing this kind of support. We have simplified the application process to make it less intrusive and we have, for the first time, included the option for people to apply online.

“Tackling poverty, while respecting the dignity of our people, is at the heart of the Scottish Social Security System, and it benefits not only individuals and families but our nation as a whole.”

Derek Mitchell, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “The Citizens Advice network sees hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland every year, and the majority of them are struggling just to pay their regular bills, like rent, food or energy bills. To be hit by the cost of a funeral on top of that can be a financial shock people just cannot take.

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