Funerals are expensive. Burial and undertaker expenses routinely cost grieving families thousands of dollars. When the family cannot afford to have a funeral, there may be a grant that can help cover some of the costs. Determining eligibility is simple, and requirements vary depending upon the location and type of service.
Veterans who wish to be buried in a national cemetery are entitled to a free burial and grave marker. If the veteran is buried elsewhere, then the Department of Veterans Affairs will contribute $300 toward the burial. An exception may apply if the veteran died as a result of a service-related injury or disability, according to the website BurialInsurance.com; in these cases, the grant may total $2,000. In addition, if the veteran died in a VA hospital, the family may receive a grant that covers the cost of transporting the remains.
Social Security Benefits
The Social Security Administration will make a one-time lump sum payment of $255 to eligible family members upon the recipient's death. To qualify, the family must provide the deceased's Social Security number to the funeral home. In addition, the benefit is only paid if there is a surviving spouse or surviving children under the age of 18. The deceased must have worked long enough to be eligible for Social Security.
Family members who require financial assistance should contact their state's department of social services. For example, Connecticut will fund up to $1,800 of a resident's burial or cremation costs. Keep in mind that social services will closely examine the financial situation of the family before approving such a payment; the family's assets will offset any potential benefit the state may be willing to provide.
Other Funding Ideas
Government-funded grants aren't the only option for those who need help with burial costs. Another possibility is to reach out to a local church or religious institution. There may be privately funded grants available, or they may be willing to donate some services. In addition, if the deceased was employed, it's worth the time to call the employer's human resources department. The company may offer a death benefit as part of total compensation. Alternatively, if the deceased was in a union or other professional organization, there may be a death benefit available.
Lisa Bigelow is an independent writer with prior professional experience in the finance and fitness industries. She also writes a well-regarded political commentary column published in Fairfield, New Haven and Westchester counties in the New York City metro area.