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Sources of Financial Assistance
Sources of Financial Assistance
Funerals can be quite expensive. However, several types of financial benefits can
help survivors offset part, but generally not all, of a person’s final expenses. Although
not an exhaustive search, some of the most common types of benefits include:
Although Social Security is best known as a retirement program, it also includes
survivor insurance. If a deceased person worked and paid Social Security taxes,
family members may be eligible to receive survivor benefits, including a lump-sum
death benefit. Generally, a person must have worked for at least ten years to be
eligible for benefits, depending on his or her age at the time of death. Eligible
beneficiaries include the surviving spouse, dependent children, and dependent
parents of the
deceased. At the time of death, the surviving spouse can receive a lump-sum death
payment of $255. If there is no surviving spouse, the payment will be made to a
The Veterans Administration (VA) offers a range of benefits and services to honor
deceased veterans. Typically, the VA pays a burial allowance of around $2,000 for
veterans who die from service-related causes. For other veterans who were
honorably discharged and completed the required period of service, the VA will pay
about $300 for funeral expenses and $150 to cover interment expenses in
cemeteries other than national cemeteries. The VA will also provide a monument to
mark the grave. Veterans may also be entitled to be buried in any of the national
cemeteries. If the veteran is so entitled, the VA will provide a gravesite, opening and
closing of the grave, perpetual care of the cemetery, a government headstone or
marker, and a burial flag, at no cost to the family.
If death occurs while working, the workers’ compensation commission in most
states will pay a death benefit to the deceased’s estate for funeral expenses. Note
that the maximum benefits available vary significantly from state to state, generally
ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. Some states may also pay for a headstone or
transportation. However, some states—notably, Rhode Island, New Mexico, and
Louisiana—do not pay a benefit for work-related deaths.
Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund
Some states have established crime victims’ compensation programs, which
provide financial assistance to individuals who have died as a result of criminal
activities. Depending on the state, an amount of up to $5,000 may be payable for
funeral expenses to surviving family members.
Social Assistance Programs
If a person dies without the financial resources to pay for a burial, the decedent’s
town or county may provide minimal funeral and burial arrangements through its
department of social services. The purpose of such programs is to provide a decent
burial for indigent persons who do not have the resources to pay for interment costs.
Although eligibility requirements vary among counties, a deceased must generally
meet certain criteria to qualify for indigent burial:
• They have no estate from which to pay the cost of a funeral.
• They have no family who can afford to pay for a service.
• They are ineligible for burial assistance from the Social Security Administration
or the Veterans Administration.
While the type of funeral services offered by counties will differ, municipalities will
typically pay for a basic funeral only, without any provision for services or viewing.
The county will generally take care of any legal filings that must be made. They will
also transport the remains and provide a casket, clothing, and grave or cremation
Are you trying to make funeral arrangements
and just don't know how you are going to pay
for them. Allow one of our experienced funeral
directors to help you find agencies that will
help offset the cost. We are dedicated to
making sure that every individual is able to
afford a decent and dignified funeral service.
If you have more questions, remember we are
here to answer them 24 hours a day.
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