Following on from the report of the Work and Pensions Committee which concluded that bereavement support was “opaque and outdated” the DWP have launched a consultation on reforms to the social fund funeral expenses payments scheme with the aim of making it clearer who is eligible for a payment and easier for people to claim.
‘We understand what a distressing and difficult time it can be losing a loved one and we want to make the process of claiming a Funeral Payment as simple as possible..’
The proposals include –
allowing recipients of payments to receive additional contributions towards the cost of a funeral from charities, friends and relatives without deducting these from the value of the funeral payment award;
introducing an exception for people living in care who receive income-assessed financial support from their local authority towards all or part of their care fees (and therefore not receiving a qualifying benefit), and not assigning them the responsible person status;
extending the application period from 3 to 6 months;
a shorter application form for claims for children’s funerals;
amending regulations to clarify that funeral payments will pay for the necessary costs of a burial with or without exclusive rights of burial;
allowing applicants and funeral directors to be able to submit evidence electronically to support a claim for funeral payments; and
including medical examiner fees under a proposed unified system of scrutiny of all deaths, if adopted in the future, as a necessary cost as currently covered for cremation medical fees.
The consultation period runs until the 21st of August 2017. You know what to do.
The Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into halving the disability employment gap – the difference in employment rates between disabled and non-disabled people.
The inquiry invites submissions addressing the following:
steps required to halve the disability employment gap – are the current measures likely to achieve the government’s target and are interim targets required;
support for employers – how effective is the Disability Confident campaign and what more could be done;
effective employment support for disabled people – what should support in the proposed Work and Health programme look like and how should providers be incentivised; and
likely effects of proposed ESA reform – what are the likely impacts of the abolition of the work-related activity component, what evidence is there that it will promote positive behavioural change and what could be the unintended consequences.