Where can I receive help from my county for cremation services?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 16, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother passed away and left me with nothing. I am a mother of 4 children and only one working. I am not financially set for this. I live paycheck to paycheck and am wondering how the heck I can come up with the money when I cant come up with my rent in two weeks. I dont know what to do, and shes not in the county we live in, at the moment. I have to get her transfered to here and I dont have the money to do that either. I really need help and cant get anyone to help me. Palm Beach Co. keeps telling me they cant help me because she isnt a residence, and Okeechobee Co. keeps telling me that since she didnt die in the county she resided in that they cant help me. Im stuck in a bind and dont know what to do. The crematory has threatened to throw me in jail because I havent took care of her arrangements yet. I dont have the money and I cant do anything. Not only that, I have a funeral home that will help me in Okeechobee Co where we reside, but I cant come up with the transfer fees. Im just confused and alone in this situation. No one in her family will help me because they dont even acknowledge that she exists, and my family wont help because she isnt part of theirs. Please I need help. I am the only one providing for my children and I cant afford to be put in jail. My children need me. Please someone help.


Expert Answers

Rebekah Peoples, CFSP, CPC, Is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is passionate about serving others and believes that giving clients honest, accurate information empowers them to create tributes and services that are meaningful and appropriate. Her tips about funerals and life can be found at www.funeral411.com.

You were right about the policies of Palm Beach and Okeechobee Counties regarding any assistance. Okeechobee does make one exception that you may qualify for if your mother was transferred to a Palm Beach hospital from an Okeechobee hospital.

You mentioned that a crematory is upset that you haven't made arrangements yet. Is this crematory part of a funeral home in Palm Beach County? You also mentioned transfer costs to be paid to use an Okeechobee funeral home. If your mother's body is cremated in Palm Beach, there would be no transfer costs because you would have her ashes.

To avoid transfer costs and additional costs, call a funeral home near where she died, explain your circumstances and ask if they can help you for minimal costs and help you with some type of payment plan. They will offer you inexpensive options which will probably be for her to be cremated and without any formal services or visiting hours. They will also offer you payment options, but rest assured that you CANNOT go to jail for this situation. A company may turn an unpaid account over to a collection agency, but this is not jail time. If you are being threatened with jail time, you should call the Florida Division of Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services at 1-800-323-2627 to report it.

Call more than one funeral home to compare prices, services, and helpfulness. A reputable funeral home will work with you and offer you payment options to resolve this in a kind way.

Remember that you can still have a service for your mother at a local place of worship without a funeral home's assistance and charges. You might want to have pictures of your mother at the service for others to see and to share stories and offer comfort. May you find peace in sweet memories of your mom,


Community Answers

Anna b answered...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for posting your question on Caring.com. I'm sorry to hear about the situation you describe.

You may find this Expert response helpful: https://www.caring.com/questions/help-with-cremation-costs

Several members of the community offered help and advice there as well.

Caring.com has several articles about grief that may help with the process:

https://www.caring.com/grief

We also have an End of Life support group that can be a source of community and comfort:

https://www.caring.com/support-groups/end-of-life

Warmest regards,

Anna, Online Community Manager at Caring.com