Funeral Financial Assistance for low income families – A memorial service or a funeral is a meaningful way of honoring and saying goodbye to a loved one. While grieving a loss of a family member or loved one it can be overwhelming for you to plan and manage finances and bear the funeral cost out of your pocket.
During times of unexpected loss of a loved one or financial hardship, it is important to remember you are not alone and assistance programs and resources are available for low-income families that can assist you to bear the funeral expenses. This guide will throw light on different government organizations and nonprofits that help people cover their funeral expenses.
Highlights of this Post
How Much Does A Funeral Cost?
A lot of people are not prepared for paying the funeral expenses unless they land in an unfortunate situation where they have to say goodbye to a loved one. As per reports of the National Funeral Directors Association, the cost of a funeral or burial in 2021 was $7848. This cost does not include other items like hospital bills, flowers, obituary pamphlets and refreshments.
If increased funeral costs are becoming too large for you to manage then you can seek assistance from charities and nonprofit organizations that help people with funeral expenses. From nonprofits to churches, these organizations help people with discounts on burial costs and even waive certain expenses.
How to Get Funeral Financial Assistance?
To receive financial assistance, you must apply with the appropriate state or local government office. The application will require information such as your income level, family size, and assets.
You may also be required to provide documentation such as proof of insurance, tax returns, affidavits from family members, or court documents. In some cases, the government may offer lower rates if you have a low credit score or if you have had difficulty meeting repayment deadlines in the past.
Funeral financial assistance is designed to help low-income families afford funeral expenses. The program can provide a variety of benefits, including:
- Relief from the cost of funerals
- Savings on burial fees and other funeral costs
- A one-time payment for funeral expenses
- Assistance with planning and coordination of funerals
- Assistance with storage or shipment of funerals’ belongings etc.
Eligibility Criteria and Documents Required To Get Funeral Assistance For Low-Income Families
Following are the eligibility criteria for getting funeral assistance for low-income families.
- Must give certified copies of the death certificate and cremation
- Be a citizen of the United States or a legal/ permanent resident
- Proof of financial hardship that you’re going through such as loss of income, death of a bread earner of the family, eviction or foreclosure,
- Must belong to a low-income category and have income below a specific percentage of the federal poverty level
In order to be eligible for funeral aid, you must give relevant documents such as the following:
- A certificate of death
- Death or injury that causes death may be traced back to a proclaimed emergency or significant catastrophe with documentation from a recognized authorized state or local authority (attending physician office, medical examiner’s office, or coroner’s office, as applicable)
- Proof showing the applicant is financially liable for the costs of the deceased’s funeral.
- Proof that the costs of the deceased’s funeral have not been covered by other sources (Social Security and VA benefits, for example)
- Showing that burial expenses were not fulfilled (a receipt from a service provider, for example)
- Must have government-issued photo IDs, passport, Social Security cards etc.
- Valid documents from veteran or medical service records of the deceased person
What Are The Government Programs That Help People With Funeral Expenses?
The state and federal governments provide a few ways for low-income families to seek financial assistance after the death of a loved one. Following are the common programs and grants that can help you with funeral expenses.
Medicare and Medicaid funeral assistance
We spend money on numerous things and become careless when it approaches insurance. Medicare or Medicaid would not help to avail money for funeral purposes, but you can obtain $1500 for an individual in the form of an MSA (medical savings account).
An expert from a private insurance company may assist you in acquiring the same. Once a person obtains the same, they can put their family member as a nominee, and in terms of exempting taxes, your account must be registered for a funeral with a qualified funeral trust.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will assist immediate family members in paying for funeral expenses that are not covered by insurance in the case of a natural catastrophe. The fatality must have been caused by a proclaimed catastrophe or emergency.
Products and services covered by the policy may evolve:
- Cremation urn or casket
- Mortuary service
- If necessary by state or municipal authorities, the transportation of the dead and/or up to two members of the deceased’s family into the region to identify the deceased
- A maximum of five death certificates may be obtained
- Cremation niche or burial site
- Headstone or marker in a public cemetery or private burial ground
- The cost of reinternment, if disinterment happens owing to the proclaimed catastrophe and takes place in a family cemetery on private land.
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A one-time death settlement is received by the spouse or children of a family member who has died through the Social Security Administration. The maximum assistance received is $255. Even though this amount isn’t enough to cover the funeral expenses it can help you to offset some costs.
Candidates are required to meet the eligibility criteria set by the Social Security Administration to receive the debt settlement. If the deceased person has reached retirement age then the surviving spouse or dependents are eligible to collect the survivor’s benefits. These benefits will help to offset the funeral cost.
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The Department Of Veterans Administration assists family members of veterans and fallen service members with funeral payments. The department offers funeral financial assistance to spouses or minor children of fallen service members and veterans.
The eligible surviving family members can get a tax-free funeral grant in the range of $300 to $2000 so that they can bury their loved family members at a state or national military cemetery. The spouse of veterans can get an additional payout if the veteran has been killed while on active duty.
This also covers veterans who die out at a later date from illness or injuries sustained during active services. The burial costs are up to $786 and funeral assistance up to $2000 if the death was service-related.
Other State And Local Programs
A lot of states provide burial assistance to families who are experiencing financial hardship and need assistance to cover the burial cost. For instance, Alaska residents can get help from the General Relief Assistance Fund.
Funeral assistance is provided to eligible tribal members in states with a large population of indigenous people. To learn about the tribal burial assistance program you can visit the National Council of Urban Indian Health burial resource guide.
Created by Congress, the Office of Victims of Christ is a federal agency and a part of the Department of Justice to administer crime victim funds. A major part of these funds are given to states to address the needs and distribute the funding in form of sub-grants to the direct service providers.
A lot of states provide burial and funeral compensation to low-income families whose family members have been killed due to a crime. The criteria to get help through the Office for Victims of Crime may differ depending on your state so you need to contact your state’s Office for Victims of Crime agency to get help with funeral expenses.
A good resource to get financial support to cover the funeral expenses of your family member or a loved one is to contact the Department of Human Services.
For instance, the Illinois Department of Human Services helps families to pay for burial and funeral expenses depending on the DHS standard payment rates and if the deceased person meets all the eligibility criteria.
The maximum assistance that can be paid with the assistance of the Illinois Department of Human Services is $1103 for funeral expenses and $552 for burial or cremation expenses.
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What Are The Non Profit Organizations That Help Low-Income Families With Funeral Expenses?
The cost of the funeral home or symmetry is paid directly to eligible families who have lost a loved one through the Tears Foundation. Financial support from this foundation is available to candidates only when there is an outstanding balance due for burial or funeral expenses. The foundation assists parents or guardians who have lost a child in age between 20 weeks to 12 years.
- The foundation helps parents with an additional funding of $500 for burial and $250 for cremation of deceased children in ages between 20 weeks to one year. An additional help of $250 is provided to families for remembrance items, cremation urn etc.
- The Tears Foundation offers funeral expense assistance to eligible families for their deceased children for up to $500 provided the deceased children are in age between 1 to 12 years. The assistance is provided to the parents of the deceased child who has suffered an unexpected death for instance homicide, accident, suicide etc.
A nonprofit organization known as Funeral Consumer Alliance works to protect the rights of consumers for funerals. The organization is formed with many affiliate groups in the United States and assists more than 50 funeral planning societies.
Funeral Consumer Alliance works with various local mortuaries and funeral-associated businesses to provide discounted service deals for its membership.
For instance, the San Diego Memorial Society provides a one-time standard non-refundable lifetime membership fee of $55 for single persons, $100 for two-person households and $45 each for additional members.
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The Funeral Service Foundation was established in 1945 as a nonprofit dedicated to improving the death care services and funeral business reflective management.
The National Funeral Directors Association donors have recognized the Funeral Service Foundation as its charitable arm. The foundation uplifts the grieving families and empowers them with their professional development and scholarship opportunities.
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The Hebrew Free Burial Association offers financial assistance to low-income families who are unable to make final arrangements for a deceased person.
This is the only nonprofit organization operating in the New York metropolitan area that makes sure Jews irrespective of their financial background and religious affiliation can get traditional and dignified funerals as well as burials.
Founded in 1880 the association has provided funeral assistance to more than 65,000 destitute Jews over the course of years.
The Family Of God Ministry is a nonprofit organization that offers the much-needed financial aid to underprivileged families and homeless children living in Arizona.
The ministry was created by Christiana Aguilar in 2014 when she noticed needy children and families could not meet their fundamental needs.
A lot of family members had to opt for a car wash on the road to cover the funeral services of the deceased family members. Some of the services that they provide are funeral and burial assistance and benevolence programs.
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Low-income families who are struggling to hold funerals for their children below 18 years of age can seek assistance from a popular nonprofit organization known as Final Farewell.
This nonprofit offers emergency federal funding as well as guidance to grieving individuals and families so that they can say a final goodbye to their child.
The amount of assistance is determined on a sliding scale basis. Guardians or parents have to meet the charity policy of the organization to receive help with full funeral service including the cost of burial.
The Children’s Burial Assistance is an organization that assists low-income families during times of financial hardship.
The organization serves children between 1 to 17 years old and does not provide monetary assistance directly to the guardians or parents, instead they provide help with donated burial sports, resource databases and cremation urns.
The database of Children’s Burial Assistance includes important information on crematories, funeral homes, florists, symmetries and companies that offer grave markers, headstones and caskets.
The Red Cross is helping military and veteran families with medical and financial assistance. This organization doesn’t provide any funeral help, but can help you to get a funeral through Fema, as Fema is offering financial assistance for funeral and burial for the covid 19 pandemic.
Religious Places That Help With Funeral Expenses
Depending on your religious faith you can find funeral assistance for low-income families from your church, mosque, synagogue or other religious organization. The members of this organization have their specialized program dedicated to assisting the members and other low-income families in defraying the funeral costs.
Jewish Federation is an organization operating in North America that offers burial plots with Jewish internment for needy families needing financial assistance.
Families who are unable to cover the funeral expenses of their family members or loved ones can contact the Jewish Federation of North America in their local area.
Situated in New Jersey the Masjid AI Wali provides help with funeral expenses and conforms with the Quran and the Sunnah.
The organization offers guidance and information for the deceased family members. The group helps to buy a grave site for the deceased family members and makes necessary funeral arrangements for the deceased.
A good place to search for assistance with funeral expenses is contacting the USA Catholic Church Charities. For this, you need to enter your state and city name and find the closest Catholic Charity near you.
It is important to remember that the type of assistance may vary depending on the church and the specific guidelines of the program they provide.
The Salvation Army is a nonprofit organization that believes that only the body dies, the soul exists even after the body and meets to God.
The Salvation Army offers various funeral assistance at various locations. They also offer burial service. You can reach out to your local Salvation Army to learn more details.
Low-Cost Alternatives to Funerals & Burials
There are a variety of choices to consider if you want to make your funeral expenses as low as possible. If you want to keep your out-of-pocket expenses to a bare minimum while still honoring your loved one, consider one or more of these alternatives.
Basic or simple cremation, known as direct cremation, may be the most cost-effective option to conventional burials or typical cremations. The cremated remains of the dead are returned to the family as soon as possible.
DIY Funeral Service or Memorial
To commemorate the life of a loved one, a DIY memorial service might be held at a person’s home, church, or community center. Consider hosting a potluck-style dinner where everyone brings a dish to share if you wish to offer food. As a result, the huge cost of a funeral home may be avoided.
A university or private institution may take your loved one’s body for medical research and education reasons if donor acceptance conditions are satisfied. This choice is considered as “giving back” to society and so having a beneficial influence on the world even after death, as well as being free or minimal cost. The American Association of Tissue Banks must certify the program. (AATB).
Help From Local Funeral Homes
Many funeral homes across the nation offer free or discounted services to low-income communities. Depending on your situation the funeral homes can provide you service free of cost and or can design a flexible payment plan for you.
If you are unable to seek assistance from the aforementioned nonprofits and government assistance programs then contact your local funeral homes and let them know you are struggling to pay for the high funeral cost.
Funeral and burial expenses can become overwhelming for low-income families. The National Funeral Home Association states that the funeral cost has subsequently increased by more than 200% over the last 20 years. These costs can result in additional stress when you are going through emotional turmoil. Fortunately, there are organizations, churches and charities that help people cover their funeral expenses. If you are unable to afford the funeral arrangements of a loved one you can turn to the above foundations to cover the end-of-life services and funeral costs.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Am I allowed to run a fundraising campaign to help me with funeral costs?
Yes, families that need assistance paying for funeral services for a loved one have the option of fundraising. Bake sales, vehicle washes, and church or social club fundraisers are all excellent places to begin. You may also utilize online crowd financing services to broaden your reach.
Can I perform burial on family property?
Private funerals on family property are permitted in most states. In order to comply with zoning and health standards, check with your local government.
Does anyone help with funeral expenses?
Yes, organizations like FEMA help people or families who have lost someone due to major disaster, pandemic, or emergency. Moreover, you can connect with some local organizations such as Salvation Army, Redcross, Consumer Advocate organizations, and other charities and churches for more help.
Is there any assistance from trade or labor organizations for funeral expenses?
In certain cases, trade unions provide death payments to ex-members, their wives, or other family members who have passed away. Unions may be found via the AFL-CIO, the Change to Win Organizing Center, or the independent labor unions directly to enquire about these advantages.