Funeral and Burial Resources for low-income and uninsured families

Funeral resources for low-income or uninsured

If you are in immediate need of the lowest cost funeral available, you need to consider arranging a simple direct cremation service.

Call your local DFS Memorials provider by selecting your state and then city from the state list, which is either to the right or below. 

DFS Memorials does NOT offer any financial assistance, but we can help you connect with a local, low-cost cremation or funeral provider, offering packages starting from $596.

With very limited financial resources and support offered by a state or county, you may find yourself faced with the stress of arranging a funeral with very little money.  If this is the case then you may need to consider arranging a simple, low-cost direct cremation service.

The DFS Memorials network offers direct cremation service packages at a very low cost.  Prices vary by state and city, but direct cremation prices start at $596.  Use the state links on this page to find your nearest provider and their direct cremation service price.

If you are faced with the task and responsibility of arranging a funeral for a family member who has just died, and you are concerned about how you can afford the cost of the funeral, this guide can hopefully support you.

Today 76% of Americans coping paycheck to paycheck (CNN) and 25% below the poverty line, so there are many families who find themselves in the unfortunate position of having either no funds, or very limited means, by which to pay for a funeral. Especially if the death of a family member was unexpected and sudden.

What low cost funeral alternatives are there?

If you find yourself responsible for making funeral arrangements with no life insurance or burial insurance policy to help cover the costs, and you have little means to pay for a funeral, then you need to seek out the lowest cost funeral option.

There are significant ways that you can save on the expected cost for a full funeral service.  And there are also various resources that may help you reduce your funeral costs, or help contribute towards the overall funeral expenses.

What is the cheapest funeral alternative?

Cremation is certainly a lot cheaper than a burial, and direct cremation (otherwise referred to as an immediate cremation or basic cremation) is the least expensive disposition method.

This is where the cremation is conducted with no viewing, services or ceremony and the cremated remains are immediately returned to the family.  A simple cardboard cremation container is used, and the ashes are returned in a temporary container, unless a cremation urn is selected.

You can arrange a direct cremation service in many areas of the United States for under $1,000, in fact in many metro areas the price can be as low as $500 – $700.  Check out your nearest DFS Memorials provider to find out the lowest direct cremation cost near you.

Is there Public Aid for a Funeral?

Whilst some states do provide some financial support with funeral expenses for families on low income, disability or SSI, this is NOT consistent across all states.  Budgets for public aid funerals have also unfortunately been cut back by municipalities where budget spend requiring constraining.

To find out if there is any financial support in your area, you would need to inquire with your local county human services or social services department.  I have noted below the states that DO offer some financial support and the links to further information.

What is Indigent Burial Assistance?

The state is, of course, obligated to attend to indigent dispositions.  That is generally for those unfortunates who become the responsibility of the state and/or institutionalized.  Traditionally the state would arrange simple pauper burials in a designated area of a municipal cemetery.  Today these indigent burial assistance programs tend to offer direct cremation as a low-cost solution to dispose of these unclaimed dead.

Are there any Social Security Death Benefits to help cover the cost of a funeral?

There is a $255 lump sum Social Security death benefit that those who qualify can claim.  A funeral director can generally assist you make a claim.  This one-off payment of $255 is made to a surviving spouse or child. Monthly benefits may be available if one meets eligibility requirements.  You can contact Social Security on 1-800-772-1213   www.socialsecurity.gov

Do Veteran’s receive benefits to assist with funeral costs?

A veteran is entitled to free burial in a national cemetery. This includes gravesite, opening and closing of the grave and perpetual care for an honorably discharged veteran, spouse, or dependent child and a free headstone or grave marker.

Contact the Veteran’s Affairs Office on 1-800-827-1000 for more information.

Is there help for victims of crime to cover funeral expenses?

In each state, there is a fund set up to financially assist the victims of crime to cover funeral expenses.

Contact your local Crime Victim Compensation Program to find out what help you can get.

What about Funeral financing?

Whilst we do not advocate that anyone should have to incur a debt to pay for a funeral, this is sadly an option that is being peddled to many families today.  Of course, as with any other financing, you must pass the credit check requirements.

There are generally two ways funeral finance is offered – firstly a funeral home may work with a funeral loan company and offer your finance terms, or there are a few finance companies that will work directly with a family to finance a funeral.

Finance for a funeral is NOT easy to come by, largely as it is not an appealing product/service for a finance house to offer credit on.  Once a funeral is complete, there is quite a high chance of families defaulting on their loan and it is not that easy to repossess a corpse!

Help from Charity Organizations to pay for a funeral

There are some charitable trusts that make offer a grant or some financial help with funeral expenses.  You can check this resource for searching a charity grants database.

Help from Trade Union Organizations to cover funeral expenses

Some Trade Union organizations will offer a financial contribution to assist a former member, or the spouse of a member, some assistance with meeting funeral expenses.  If you, or you spouse, was a member of a union, it would be well worth investigating if you can claim any assistance.

cremation-helpHow Fund-raising can help pay for funeral expenses

Fund-raising events to help a family pay for a funeral have long been a community way to rally together and help an unfortunate family pay to bury their lost loved one.  However, as more families have suffered hardship in recent years, there has not been as much disposable money to go around, even when families want to help out.

There are now a few online fund-raiser web sites that will allow you to start a fund-raising campaign for a funeral.

Hopefully the advice we have briefly outlined in this article will provide useful resources to help you find some help paying for a funeral.

State Assistance:  Contact departments

CT – Dept of Social Services

DC – Dept of Human Services

MA – The Commonwealth of MA

MD – Dept of Human Resources

ME – ME General Assistance Program

NH – NH Welfare Dept

NJ – Dept of Human Services

NY – Human Resources Dept

PA – Dept of Public Welfare

RI – RI General Public Assistance

VA – Health & Human Services

VT – Agency of Human Services

WV – Dept of Health & Human Resources