What is a public assistance funeral?

The poor economy has taken its toll on many American families, and as many struggle just to put food on the table, a death can be but an additional financial strain.  Less and less people are investing in funeral plans or burial insurance, simply because savings and insurance policies are some of the first things to go when there is a financial crisis.

help-with-funeral-costsMore often today at DFS Memorials we are encountering distraught families who have found that a sudden bereavement has tipped them over the edge!  We are witnessing an increase in the number of folks seeking out financial help with funeral expenses, and answering questions about what help there is to pay funeral costs.

What kind of financial help there is varies considerably depending on where you live, what your personal circumstances are, and the circumstances of the deceased.  Some states/counties do still offer some public assistance with funeral costs, however, this is very limited these days.  A ‘public assistance’ funeral is where the state will contribute a fixed sum towards the cost of a funeral.  It is sometimes called a ‘welfare funeral’.

The state will pay a fixed amount, generally direct to the funeral director, that will enable a basic burial or cremation to be conducted.  In some cases the family can supplement the contribution.

If you are concerned about how you are going to pay for a funeral, you need to seek some guidance.  You may wish to consult your local county Human Services or Social Services department.  Sometimes they will have a list of funeral homes who will handle public assistance funerals.   The funeral director will complete the necessary forms with you and submit his fees to the county for payment.

public-assistance-funeral

Do be aware, that if for any reason the application for support is declined, you would be liable for the funeral costs your funeral home has incurred concerning the funeral contract you have signed.  You MUST ensure that you can raise the sufficient funds to cover the expenses you are arranging.

Due to the rise in bad debt for funeral expenses, and the reduction in county support, some funeral homes are less willing to accept deceased family members where it is apparent the family may lack funds.  However, there are still funeral homes who do their utmost to help families care for their lost loved ones, no matter the unfortunate circumstances.  It IS important to ensure you are dealing with reputable, funeral professionals who care about helping your family.

There are various financial support funds for deceased veterans and certain dependents, as well as victims of crime.

— Remember: If you have concerns about affording a funeral, try and keep your funeral costs to a minimum.  You can arrange a simple, dignified cremation and conduct your own family memorial, which can reduce your outlay to under $1,000 in many areas of the United States.

Sara Marsden [Google+]