Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Fourth Report


APPENDIX XIII

Memorandum by the Department of Social Security

SOCIAL SECURITY (SOCIAL FUND AND CLAIMS AND PAYMENTS) (MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS) REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/792)

  1. The Joint Committee has requested the Department to submit a memorandum on the following point:

    "New regulation 7A(3) of the 1987 Regulations, inserted by regulation 5, provides that all references in regulation 7A(2)(d) and (e) (costs of transportation) `to a distance of 50 miles shall be construed as applying to the total distance of the journey referred to in those sub-paragraphs.'.

    Explain the purpose and effect of this provision, and give an example of how it applies in relation to a typical journey from the deceased's place of death to the funeral director's premises (or the deceased's place of rest) and from there to the funeral".

  2. The new regulation 7A(3) was intended to clarify that the references to transportation in excess of 50 miles in regulation 7A(2)(d) and (e) are to the whole (i.e. both the outward and return) of the journeys referred to in those sub-paragraphs.

  3. In order to demonstrate the application of regulation 7A(3), the Department sets out the following examples (examples (a) and (b) below are both illustrative of regulation 7A(2)(d) and example (c) below is illustrative of regulation 7A(2)(e)): -

(a) Deceased dies at home

  The deceased dies at home and the nearest funeral director is 30 miles away. In respect of the costs of transportation of up to 50 miles, funeral payments may include those costs within the £600 allowed for "other funeral expenses" (regulation 7A(2)(g)). In this case, the total distance travelled by the funeral director would be 60 miles (30 miles each to and from the deceased's home). The reasonable costs of transporting the deceased the excess distance of 10 miles would be allowed under regulation 7A(2)(d) as the journey from the deceased's home to the funeral director's premises/place of rest was necessarily over 50 miles.

(b) Deceased dies away from home

  The deceased normally lived in Chester but died whilst on holiday in Dorset. The return journey from Chester to Dorset to Chester is, say, 400 miles. In respect of the costs of transportation of up to 50 miles, funeral payments may include those costs within the £600 allowed for "other funeral expenses" (regulation 7A(2)(g)). The reasonable costs of transporting the deceased 350 miles would be allowed under regulation 7A(2)(d) as the journey from the place of death to the funeral director's premises/place of rest was necessarily over 50 miles.

(c) Transporting the deceased from the funeral director's premises/place of rest to the burial/cremation

  Any of the following three cases could arise: -

    (i) The burial cannot take place in the local cemetery because there is no available plot for the burial to take place in that cemetery. The total distance travelled by the funeral director from his premises/place of rest to the cemetery where the burial does take place and back to the funeral director's premises is 75 miles. The reasonable costs of transportation over 50 miles (i.e. 25 miles) would be allowed under regulation 7A(2)(e)(i) as the transportation necessarily exceeds 50 miles.

    (i)   The deceased is to be cremated and the nearest crematorium is 40 miles away. The total journey from the funeral director's premises/place of rest to the crematorium and back to the funeral director's premises is 80 miles. The reasonable cost of transportation in excess of 50 miles (i.e. 30 miles) would be allowed under regulation 7A(2)(e)(i) as the transportation necessarily exceeds 50 miles.

    (iii)   The claimant for a funeral payment chooses to bury the deceased in a family plot which is situated outside the deceased's home area. The reasonable cost of transportation in excess of 50 miles would only be allowed under regulation 7A(2)(e)(ii) if the costs of transportation, together with the cost of burial in that chosen plot, were lower than the combined, necessary costs of a burial in a new plot and of transportation in excess of 50 miles.

  4. The Department accepts that regulation 7A(3) as currently drafted may not achieve beyond doubt the policy intention as set out in paragraph 3 above. The Department therefore undertakes to amend the regulation at the earliest opportunity.

18th June 1997


 
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