A new funeral benefit has come into effect in Scotland, providing support for more than 5,600 less well-off people each year.
The Funeral Support Payment, which comes into effect from 16 September, is the first change to the UK funeral benefit system since 2003.
Golden Charter, a funeral plan provider, said it welcomed the launch but stressed that bereaved families to compare like-for-like costs at funeral providers.
Funeral costs vary widely in Scotland but average around £3,500 with cremations costing just over £3,000 and burials nearly £4,000. For the UK, average costs are around £3,800 but can be as high as £4,900 in London.
The Funeral Support Payment replaces the current Funeral Expense Payment for people living in Scotland. The Scottish Government estimates 40% more families will be helped each year as a result.
Gordon Swan, Golden Charter’s director of communications, said the Funeral Support Payment will ensure that more Scots who qualify can receive financial help at a time when money should not be their biggest concern.
“Just as importantly, the new system has been designed to make the application process simpler and clearer. Independent funeral directors have supported the launch and are committed to keeping costs down while delivering the personal service that families value,” he added.
The flat rate element of the Funeral Support Payment will be £700 for most applications.