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.


Unfortunately, DFS Memorials is unable to offer any financial assistance, but we can help you connect with a local, low-cost cremation or funeral provider.  In most areas, a low-cost direct cremation can be arranged for between $600 to $900.

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 a simple, direct cremation service is your most economical option.

Visit the DFS Memorials service location map now to find a provider near you.

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.  Visit this Guide to What to do if You cannot Afford a Funeral.

There are significant ways that you can save on the expected cost of 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 or State Assistance for a Funeral?

Whilst some states do provide some financial support with funeral expenses for families on a 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.

Visit our page on State Assistance to find out more.

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 to 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

What benefits do Veterans receive to assist with funeral costs?

A veteran is entitled to free burial in a national cemetery. This includes the 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 may 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 your spouse, were 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 websites 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

How has the recession affected funeral planning?

Much as the media may try and tell us that the recession is over and we are now in “recovery”, the reality is that many Americans are far from recovery.  In fact the recent economic downtown has left hundreds of thousands struggling now more than ever.

As a nation we are carrying debt of a gargantuan size, as of September 2012, the public debt stands at $11.27 trillion. Yes, folks, TRILLION and if you want to have some idea of just how gargantuan $11.27 trillion is – view this slideshow demonstration.

What does a trillion dollars look like?

This U.S. debt equates to $44,900 per person, or $91,500 per working person in the U.S.    The debt that the Government, and every ordinary American,  is carrying is still crippling.    And I think many of us understand the expression these days of to “rob Peter to pay Paul”, and the art of credit card juggling.

The U.K recently reported that people are turning to credit cards and bank loans in an effort to meet funeral expenses, with funeral costs that have escalated 71% since 2004.  The truth, whether we want to accept it nor not, is that financial hardship and changing attitudes mean that we are changing our death care choices.   Although we have always had reservations about preneed funeral plans, especially as there are horror stories (even this week in the press) of trust funds being poorly invested and falling short on their returns.  Today, we can see some apparent value in securing funds in a ‘safe’ funeral policy.   The problem with our still unstable economy – is what really IS safe? Our senior population is booming, but twilight years can now be spent in investing life-savings in senior and health care, leaving little left for a dignified send-off.

Those families that can afford to walk into a funeral home with a blank check are few and far between.  Those funeral homes that earn a reputation for adhering to up-selling will come unstuck.   What people want today is clear and visible pricing for funerals – simplicity and affordability.  And this is what DFS Memorials represents.

We deplore funeral home websites that spew content about their centuries of legacy and extended staff profiles of third and fourth generation funeral directors.  Do they really think that this is what people today want to read?  Do we really read extensively these days?  People want to know they are dealing with real people and are going to get a realistic price quote. We admire the websites that are simple, to-the-point, and display prices in an easy-to-find and concise way. Transparency – clearly say who they are, what they offer and how much.   Many funeral and cremation providers that understand the change in process, now clearly offer a range of simple packages.

DFS Memorials selects local, family-owned and operated funeral businesses for the network, funeral business that deliver a quality service at a low price to their immediate community.  Helping to address the need for transparency.  Signposting people who desire affordable funeral options to their nearest local provider – clearly displaying what is the basic price they can expect to pay for a direct cremation.

There are NO corporate funeral businesses in the DFS Memorials network – only Mom & Pop funeral homes.  All members who join the network must have a physical location central to the area they serve, and be licensed.  No “man-in-a-van” operations jumping on the direct cremation bandwagon.

              Put simply we believe in the local and sustainability.                                                We aim to help you find the best value cremation services working within your community.

Alabama – Alaska – Arizona – Arkansas – California – Colorado – Connecticut – Delaware – Florida – Georgia – Hawaii – Idaho – Illinois – Indiana – Iowa – Kansas – Kentucky – Louisiana – Maine – Maryland – Massachusetts – Michigan – Minnesota – Mississippi – Missouri – Montana – Nebraska – Nevada – New Hampshire – New Jersey – New Mexico – New York – North Carolina – North Dakota – Ohio – Oklahoma – Oregon – Pennsylvania – Rhode Island – South Carolina – South Dakota – Tennessee – Texas – Utah – Vermont – Virginia – Washington – Washington DC – West Virginia – Wisconsin – Wyoming