Funeral Assistance For Low-Income Families

It is never easy to lose someone you love. In addition to emotional stress, other variables like finances and family disputes can further complicate the situation. Funerals with a viewing and burial cost approximately $7,848 in 2021, whereas a cremation cost approximately $6,971. Unfortunately, not many Americans can afford these costs.

Due to these extenuating circumstances, many people rush into decisions, resulting in unnecessary costs and stress levels. You can avoid many of these hardships by using a little bit of knowledge and due diligence. 

Preparing For A Funeral

You may feel overwhelmed and drained when planning a funeral if you have not talked to your loved one about their end-of-life wishes. Planning for funerals does not have to be overwhelming if you have a strategy. Here are the main tips you must follow to avoid becoming financially or emotionally burdened during your grief.

Affordability

Assess your financial situation. Before you proceed further, you should take the time to look at your budget with your family. Whether you love and respect the deceased has nothing to do with the funeral cost. 

Set A Solid Budget

A funeral home will not limit how much money you can comfortably spend if you don’t. Budget planning means determining how much you can afford to spend without skipping out on your rent, depleting your savings, or accruing high-interest credit card debt.

Make Sure You Shop Around

There are price differences of thousands of dollars for the same service, even within the same town. Compare the funeral homes you’ve used in the past to the ones you’re considering.

Other resources may be available if you need help paying for a funeral. You may be short on cash and need to pay for a funeral. Here are some options to consider if you are in this situation.

Charities And Non-Profits That Help With Funeral Costs 

Numerous charities and non-profit organizations have stepped in to fill funding gaps in the funeral industry. Directly contacting them can be helpful if you need assistance with the cost of a funeral. Below are some organizations you might find helpful.

Children’s Burial Assistance

Adults often plan for their end-of-life needs using funeral funds. You might fail to anticipate funeral expenses for young children when you don’t want to think your children will die. Children’s Burial Assistance assists families in dealing with the unimaginable loss of a child. The company donates burial plots and vaults and covers burial and cremation fees.

To help families with the cost of burying their child, Children’s Burial Assistance provides donated burial plots across the country (where plots are available) and urns. A comprehensive resource database is available for information and referrals. In their inventory, they offer donation burial plots to families so that they can offset the costs of burying loved ones. Depending on availability, urns for cremated children are provided to families.

As part of the CBA’s resource database, you’ll find funeral homes, crematories, cemeteries, grave marker and headstone manufacturers, casket companies, florists, etc. Many funeral homes offer their services at a low cost or sometimes no cost to CBA families. These resources are available to assist families with limited funds. Many times, resources are combined to save families more money.

Final Farewell

Last Farewell is a charity that aids parents with the expenses associated with burying their children. Providing financial assistance, advice, and guidance to grieving families of all faiths and backgrounds to provide their beloved child with an affordable and dignified burial is the mission of Final Farewell.

They assist needy families throughout the Greater Philadelphia area, which makes up 90% of their activities. They have also helped families across the country and in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Funeral services, including burial, can be provided free to families that meet their Charity Policy.

Funding comes primarily from private foundations, government grants and donations, and fundraising events. Funeral homes, cemeteries, and other service providers contribute “in-kind” to expand the impact of direct funding. Several regional funeral homes are negotiated to provide funeral and burial services “at cost.”

Farewell is a non-profit organization with no paid staff or independent contractors. A broad range of local community members makes up their Board of Directors, overseeing their mission. An individual who wishes to be compensated naturally will resign from the Board of Directors. The amount of compensation payable will be determined according to their Fair Market Value Policy.

The TEARS Foundation

Funeral homes are directly paid up to $500 for funeral costs by the TEARS Foundation. Their purpose is to assist in paying for the funerals of babies under a year old. Funeral expenses for fetuses after 20 weeks of gestation are also covered.

By providing funds to assist with the cost of burial or cremation services, TEARS Foundation is helping to relieve the financial burden of families who have lost a child. Grief support groups and peer companionship are also offered as comprehensive bereavement care to parents.

TEARS provides financial and emotional support services to thousands of families in need. If you need financial assistance or would like to speak with someone, you can complete their online application form, and someone will contact you within 48 hours.

See their Funeral Application Guidelines for their financial assistance programs and eligibility requirements. If you have not heard from them within 48 hours, don’t hesitate to contact them so they can verify that they have received your application.

Funeral Consumers Alliance

Funeral Consumers Alliance does not provide funeral services outright, but it does provide information about low-cost burial options. The organization partners with churches and funeral homes nationwide to offset the costs of funerals for low-income families. Funeral Consumers Alliance ensures consumers are adequately prepared and protected when planning funerals for themselves or their families.

Social Security Death Benefits

The Social Security Administration will make a one-time payment of $255 to the surviving spouse or children of the deceased. Funeral expenses will be covered only to a small extent. The fee varies depending on the publication, amount of content, and posting a photograph, so it can still be useful for things like an obituary.

Benefits for surviving family members are another option. Some of the people who might qualify for survivor benefits include:

  • Widows or widowers 60 years of age or older (50 if disabled)
  • Children under the age of 18 of the deceased who are not married
  • 62-year-old parents of dependent children
  • Spouses who have divorced if their marriage lasted at least ten years

If your deceased loved one was eligible for social security retirement benefits, you could receive survivor benefits. People who have worked for at least ten years are generally eligible for retirement benefits, while their spouse or children may be eligible for survivor benefits. Survivor benefits may still be available even if the deceased did not work for ten years. If you were younger when you died, your family would have had less to work for to receive benefits.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

As soon as the President declares a disaster area, FEMA provides burial assistance to victims. A victim who has died due to a disaster, whether direct or indirect, is eligible for benefits. A person must prove that other forms of assistance have failed to meet their needs to receive assistance. The following list outlines what FEMA may cover as burial assistance:

  • The cost of a casket or an urn
  • The Funeral Service
  • The death certificates of up to five people
  • Burial plots and cremation niches
  • Public or private cemetery marker or headstone

Military Burial Benefits for Veterans

Veterans Affairs (VA) offers different amounts of funeral assistance based on whether the death was service-related or not. Veterans receive burial assistance of up to $2,000 due to service-related death and $780 in case of non-service-related death. Military spouses may also be eligible to receive benefits under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). In a service-related death, a spouse could receive a death gratuity.

The term “service-related death” refers to a death that occurs due to a disability acquired during military service. Veterans buried in national cemeteries are entitled to more VA benefits. An average grave opening costs $1,240, and they’ll also pay for the closing.

A gravestone, burial flag, and a burial container will also be provided. A basic upright headstone can cost around $1,000, though you can get a more elaborate upright headstone for more than $10,000. The VA offers $780 for interment plots if you opt for a private funeral as an additional benefit.

It is, however, important to keep a few stipulations in mind. The veteran would not be eligible for the benefit if they were paid for the funeral by another source, such as the veteran’s employer. Additionally, any veteran who received a dishonorable discharge is not eligible to receive funeral benefits.

Are you interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation? Check out the rest of Gov Relations’ blog section today!