According to Scottish Government statistics, almost 6,000 people received a Funeral Support Payment in the first year of the initiative.
Since it started making payments last September, Social Security Scotland has paid out £8.7 million to people who have lost a loved one.
Eligible applicants currently receive an average of £1,761 to help with the costs of a burial or cremation and expenses such as travel and flowers.
Funeral Support Payment replaced the UK Government’s Funeral Expense Payment in Scotland.
SNP MSP for Cunninhgame South, Ruth Maguire said: “The loss of a loved one is already a heart-rending experience for people which is only compounded with additional anxiety when they are faced with the costs of a funeral.
“It’s crucial that support is offered to people in need of support in these times and I would encourage anybody who thinks that they may qualify for this benefit to find out more and apply.”
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “It’s important that we support people at key times like this. We want to do what we can to stop those who are dealing with grief having to get into debt too.
“The economic impact of COVID-19 means many more people are receiving Universal Credit or other qualifying benefits than previously, which means they could also be eligible for the Funeral Support Payment.
“People can apply for the payment up to 6 months after a funeral has taken place, although if you could not apply within this timescale because of COVID-19, we’ll accept your application as on time.
“Making sure that everyone gets the financial support they are entitled to is a basic step in putting dignity and respect at the heart of social security in Scotland.”
- Funeral Support Payment can help cover burial or cremation costs (these costs vary throughout the country, therefore reasonable local costs are published on mygov.scot/burial-cremation-costs-scotland)
- The payment includes a flat rate for any other expenses – £1,000 for the majority of applications and £122.05 if the person who died had made provision for their funeral through a funeral plan. It can also cover some travel, document, and medical costs
- Clients can find pre-application advice which includes eligibility and award amounts and apply at mygov.scot/funeral-support-payment
- Clients can choose to apply online, via a paper application form or by calling our specially trained Funeral Support Payment team on 0800 182 2222.