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Is there financial assistance for funeral expenses?

26 answers | Last updated: Sep 15, 2015
tmack asked...

Is there any financial help with paying for a funeral for my mom whois dying with cancer? I have no way to pay for her funeral. I am a single mom and parttime student in college and am looking for any kind of funeral cost assistance.


Caring.com User - Barbara Kate Repa
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63% helpful
Barbara Kate Repa answered...

First of all, consider less expensive options such as a graveside service only or cremation, which generally costs between $1,000 and $2,000. While that's a fraction of the cost of See also:
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See all 176 questions about Financial Assistance for Seniors
most traditional funerals, it's still quite a chunk of change.

There are, however, some places to which you can turn for help in paying for funerals. But you may have to do a bit of footwork and wading through bureaucratic red tape to get the help you need.

  • Most counties have rules on the books that provide that when a person does not have money or means necessary to defray funeral expenses, and his or her relatives or friends are unable or unwilling to pay, the county will provide for the burial. You will usually have to meet some fairly strict low income levels to qualify. Check with your county treasurer's office for details.
  • You or some other surviving family member may be able to get a payment of $255 from the Social Security Administration if your mom or the survivor meets eligibility requirements. That amount won't go very far, but it may help a little.
  • Contact the local funeral or memorial society -- a nonprofit group devoted to protecting consumers' rights and keeping down inflated funeral costs. You can find a local affiliate through the Funeral Consumers Alliance.
  • And finally, if your mom is a veteran, she may qualify for some burial and memorial benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

More Answers
21% helpful
redhatprincess answered...

In the state of Virginia, one can purchase a pre-need funeral insurance policy. With some conditions, there is a limited payout during the first two years after purchase. One gets back what has been paid in. If the insured survives two years and then death occurs, there are no more premiums due on the policy and it pays for the funeral as pre-arranged. It is my understanding that this is not the situation in every state. This site has some helpful information on this subject: http://www.aarp.org/research/endoflife/funeral/aresearch-import-195-FS76.html.


20% helpful
Marcus answered...

There are also city agencies that can help with the cost of the funeral if your mother meets the requirements. When the event does occur you can go to your city's Department of Human Resources Burial Claims Office. All of the cities I believe does have this agency. In New York City for example, they can pay a max of $900 to a funeral that is not over $1700 (not including the cemetery). You will also need to find a funeral home that will except HRA burial claims as payment. There are not many out there so looking now may be a good idea.


33% helpful
jemilyrosej answered...

You might also, consider cremation it is usually somewhere around $900 or so for the cremation and a death certificate. You can call the Neptune Society in your state for the details.


theobold,marie answered...

I took out a policy [cost:$850] about 10-15 yrs ago while living in "Stuart, Fla."-with losing mobile home [yr.2004] lvg. in travel trl.4 mos. it got totaled in accident, husband diagnosed with cancer meanwhile- he "passed " yr.2005 [all in 1 year. Thru all this-somehow I "misplaced name of co, we were ins. by which I had in 2005 & gave to funeral dir. at time of husband's arrangements. This arrangement was made whil lvg. in Stuart Fla.for cremation.When husband passed we lived in Cary N,C.Just don't know where to go ftom here. Am concerned because I am 85 yrs. & have no other resources. What to do ???


25% helpful
billy-joe-bob answered...

look up on the net hit up cremation services and ask questions .. call monday - friday say 10 - 4pm ..take notes and see who provides answers to your situation. if you were of the jewish faith many major areas have "JEWISH Free Burial Society".providing free burials of those of the jewish faith.Otherwise if no religion maybe a medical school would accept or assist you for donation. Then have a memorial service .OR inquire @ your school help the student office... Guidence office.Ask hospice for help?..Ask your place of worship?


20% helpful
mgg34 answered...

These are all helpful answers, but what state does the person live in, what county, etc. Most states have programs in place, BUT, in order to take advantage of some of these "benefits" the family must first refuse to accept possesion of the remains, meaning, basically not contacting a funeral home, and the the agency will dispose of the remains as they see fit. I.E. cremation, then scattering cremated remains, burial, burial at sea, etc. the family has no say in the disposition of the remains, because they have "abandoned" the case, and the state or county decides what is best and most economical for them.


20% helpful
Funerals London answered...

There is available from the government "DWP" but you will have to qualify. This would mean you will have to be claiming some sort of benefit like social, or housing benefit. Sometimes hospitals are able to pay for a funeral if the person dies in hospital. If you get a grant for a funeral then you will have to look around for the best deal. Play one funeral director of against another. You may have to choose a funeral director that is not local to you. As all the funeral directors local to you are price matched at a high price for a simple funeral. I hope this helps. Funerals London[funeraldirectorslondon.org]


DelfinaManotas answered...

Yes, the deceased member's beneficiaries are entitled to a 13th month pension payable every December and the funeral benefit, which is paid to whoever, shouldered the funeral expenses of the deceased member. The primary or secondary beneficiaries of a deceased employee-member, who had no contribution payment at all and who was reported for coverage shall be entitled to funeral benefit only.

Burial Insurance Quote[goo.gl]


75% helpful
US Funerals Online answered...

DFS Memorials[dfsmemorials.com] is a network of family-owned funeral homes that offer their local community a transparent 'low-cost' option for a funeral or disposition. All their providers offer a basic cremation from between $495 and $1395 (depending on where you live).

Donating the body to science is another option that may facilitate a "free" cremation. There are several organizations that arrange anatomical gifting to science, and in almost all cases this means that the family benefit from a 'free' disposition. The cremated remains are returned to the family, usually with a few weeks, so that a personal memorial service can be conducted if desired. To find out more visit: FREE CREMATION WITH BODY DONATION[us-funerals.com]

I hope this information is helpful. US FUNERALS ONLINE[us-funerals.com]


25% helpful
US Funerals Online answered...

Ladywood, social security can pay out $255 towards the cost of a funeral, but you need to qualify and may have to 'jump through hoops' to get it. As already mentioned here - body donation may be an option if you have no money, but not all bodies are accepted. Try contacting Biogift about a body donation[us-funerals.com] in Texas.


33% helpful
Scottwd answered...

There are also some websites that can help you out free of service. Services with calculator, planning tools, work sheets and etc. One website that I recommend is http://www.sharedsorrows.com/ . Also helps inform family and friends so they can help out where needed. I hope this helps.


40% helpful
harvest answered...

You might try goggling on and asking Does HRA assist with funeral cost? I found it very helpful for a deceased friend who is in need of burial. Whatever city/state you live in, there is an HRA agency. I found that question on google very helpful in leading to organizations that may help.


75% helpful
Nathaniel answered...

The Casket is the single most costly item you pay for when arranging a traditional funeral. You can skip the middleman and buy a casket at the wholesale price and have it delivered to any funeral home in Washington State. Save 30% to 60% below funeral home prices.


67% helpful
T-Man answered...

Yes, I found this information to be very useful. My family was able to purchase the same Casket that the Funeral Home offered, at less than half the price.


100% helpful
Todd Evans answered...

I called several funeral homes before finding help. Call City of Oaks Cremation funeral home in Raleigh, NC. They helped our family when no one else could or would.

Cremated my brother for under $1200.00

That included the death certificates, urn and sales tax


US Funerals Online answered...

Seems that the competition for the lower end cremation market is having a positive effect for consumers, in helping to bring the price of direct cremation down in North Carolina (and across the U.S.).

The DFS Memorials provider for NC actually offers a complete direct cremation for $895 - so there are certainly some more affordable options available now to enable folks to arrange a funeral without overspending!


SilverS answered...

@Todd Evans....."That included the death certificates, urn and sales tax". Sales tax......isn't that ridiculous? A person can't even be buried or cremated without the government getting their share.


100% helpful
F-D answered...

I am a licened funeral director and have delt with this issue many times. Unfortuantly this is the hardest part of the job. The suggestions that everyone has give are correct and helpfull. The ss office will give a burial benifit but it is not given untill a month or so later, and is only a couple hundred dollars. If you donate her body you will not recieve her ashes until a year or so later. If you use the assitance program for low/ no income and turn her over for the county to give her a burial. The reality of this is that she will be cremated and her ashes will be dumped in the back of a cemetery with others, DO NOT GO this way. If she or your father are in the military you can go this route, but you will still be paying around 5,000 for the service and burial.

My suggestion would be if you wish to go down the cremation route, find a funeral home that does their own onsite cremations and do a direct cremation, then goto your church if you belong to one or a local church and see if they will allow you to have a service. You should not be paying any more than 700 for the cremation, if you are they are ripping you off, find somewhere else. The church is not going to charge anything, and you can find a cheap book to use as a register book at walmart or target. Go to your local copy center and see if they will make you some basic service folders, these should be fairly cheap as well. If you want to go the burial route, with no visitation, tell them that you don't want embalming and that you just want a graveside service. This will cost you anywhere from 3000 up depending on the casket.

Basic things to keep in mind: You can order the same casket or urn that they have at the funeral home for a third of the cost if you order it online. If you bring your own register book, and service folders you will saver anywhere from $150 upwards Most funeral homes will charge an upcharge if you order the Obit and flowers through them, so order directly through the paper and the flower shops. Be careful some papers will only take obits through a funeral home so look into this.

Make sure you shop around, and go with someone who will work with you and who you feel comfortable with. Most funeral homes are able to give a large discount to assist with the cost, but don't exspect to get a $20,000 funeral for $1,000. Try to look at all your options. You can easily have a visitation and service with a basic casket for $6,000 its all on the casket cost.

My other suggestion would be to have a fundraiser to help with these exspenses. I hope this helps in some way.


sadgirlinFL answered...

I just lost my father to cancer on December 27, and me and my hubby are on our own with 4 small children. We had to pay upfront for his cremation but I started a GoFundMe account and have been asking for donations to help get the money back. We had to use our bill money for the month. Give that a try. Also, I will be sending prayers that God leads you in the right direction :)


Bunsy answered...

As regards the church, we paid the organist $100 and the same to use the hall, to the priest and janitor so that was $400. Then with flowers and food I would say just that part was $1000. My parents had prepaid their funerals but we still had to pay for opening the grave and a few other things I don't remember.


Victim Help answered...

Cities and states will provide varying levels of assistance for funerals of an individual dying from a medical condition, depending on your level of income. However, if an individual dies as a result of being of victim of a crime, then most states will also pay funeral costs. For example, New York State will provide families of a murder victim help with funeral expenses by paying up to $6,000.00.