A new fund has been launched with the aim of providing financial support to Scots who live on low incomes and struggle to cover the costs of funerals for their loved ones.
It’s well understood that for a lot of people who struggle to get by financially the additional costs associated with funerals can be a burden that is difficult to bear.
Indeed, for lots of people, having to find money to cover funeral costs is a huge financial headache that leads them into debt or potentially makes an already bad debt situation significantly worse.
The Scottish government has now said it intends to help people who might find themselves in these situations by opening up applications for what it calls ‘funeral support payments’.
The benefit fund is designed to contribute towards cremation costs and to cover the travel expenses of people organising funerals on behalf of their loved ones.
Successful applicants to the fund will be eligible to receive a flat rate payment of £700, with that figure to be uprated in line with inflation as time goes by, the government has said.
The creation of the funeral support payment mechanism follows research carried out by YouGov on behalf of Social Security Scotland, which found that around a quarter of Scots would be unable to cover the funeral costs of a loved one if they needed to.
Meanwhile, a further 19 per cent of respondents to the poll said that they would need to rely on some form of debt in order to cover those costs on an urgent basis.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, social security secretary, said she’s delighted to be introducing a new fund that helps to ensure the “dignity of our people” and “benefits not only individuals and families but our nation as a whole”.
“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,” she said.
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Unusually high rates of inflation are threatening to sweep many more Scots into problem debt situations and serious financial difficulties.
People with debt problems in Scotland are being urged not to struggle with their issues alone and to reach out for help and support if they need it.
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