I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to lay regulations in the House later today that will make some enhancements to a number of the eligibility conditions relating to the social fund funeral expenses payments scheme, and simplify the process for making a claim. The scheme makes a contribution to paying the costs of funerals being arranged by people on qualifying benefits.
The changes, which we plan to bring into force on 2 April, were the subject of a public consultation exercise in summer 2017 which generated an overwhelmingly positive response for our proposals. This package of proposals will, among other things, enable claimants to receive contributions from charities, relatives or friends without them being deducted from the overall sum payable toward funeral costs. In future, claimants will have six months from the funeral date in which to make an application for help with funeral costs instead of the current three months. They will also have the option of submitting any evidence needed in support of their claim electronically.