We'll list a few options available to get help with burial expenses. The assistance probably won't pay for service rites and won't be very ornamental.
But the help available will allow the recently departed to get a proper burial or cremation. Let's look at a few programs if there's no money for funeral costs.
Government help for funeral costs
In the U.S., the federal government offers a "special death benefit" of $255 for spouse or dependent child of a recently departed worker. There are a few restrictions to get this lump sum payment, according to the Social Security Administration.
The SSA notes that "the surviving spouse who was living in the same household with the worker when he or she died can receive the lump sum payment."
Without an eligible spouse, it's possible for the benefit to be paid to the worker's children if they were getting benefits from the departed worker's earnings in the month the worker passed away or if they are eligible to receive benefits.
Local help with paying for a funeral
Many county and state governments have a low income funeral assistance program that helps families in need take care of the burial or cremation costs.
Although you won't get a choice in which funeral home does the work and won't get a visitation or service rites, your loved one will get a marked grave with the deceased's name and birth date and death date. Cremated remains may also be able to be claimed.
This program is often called an indigent burial program.
County burial cost assistance: Your county may have an indigent program, which will need to be applied for. The first step would be to visit the county courthouse and ask if they have an indigent burial plan. Remember, these programs are not retroactive; they need to be applied to before the funeral arrangements have been made.
State help with funeral costs: Many states have public assistance for those at the poverty line. Like the county, an application would need to be filled out, and the aid is usually not retroactive. Checking with your state's department of human services would be the first place to start.
As mentioned, both county and state programs need to be applied for and it's not a guarantee you will qualify.
Although Medicaid won't pay for a funeral, it does allow a little money to be put aside for end-of-life expenses. Each state is a little different how it works, so it's best to check your state's Medicaid website for details.
Financial assistance for veterans: VA burial allowances
The Veterans Administration is one of the U.S. organizations that help with funeral expenses if a veteran passes away.
The National Funeral Directors Association noted a sample service cost $7,755 in 2009, which is the most recent statistic available.
The allowance is for a service-related death or non-service-related death, and the amount of money alloted ranges from a couple hundred dollars to thousands depending on how the death occurred. The reimbursements are allowances for service and burial costs, along with an allowance for a plot or interment.
Eligibility depends on many factors, which are too exhaustive for this article. The requirements but can be found online, along with VA Form 21-530, which is the application for burial benefits that would need to be filled out.
How do you pay for funeral with no money? Raise money!
There's a couple ways to raise funds for funeral costs.
The easy way: Ask for donations in an obituary. Many newspapers allow you to publish an obituary with minimal information about the death and a sentence that asks for donations.
The wording for donations for a funeral doesn't have to sound needy or complex. A simple line at the end of the the obituary that's tactful will help provide a little extra help. For example: "In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the family"
The hard way: Schedule a fundraiser for funeral expenses, such as a car wash, bake sale, memorial dinner at a church. This can provide additional money, but does require a fair amount of work, time, and community involvement. If you are creative, you could try selling artwork or play a free-will music performance.
You also may able to crowdfund to raise enough cash.
Other options for burial assistance
There are other ways to get help with burial expenses. The recently deceased may have an estate that can be sold, which could provide enough money to buy a casket and arrange funeral rites. Burial insurance for seniors is another option.
If you have any other ideas for finding financial help with funeral costs, consider leaving a comment below. Whether a small or large contribution, any assistance with burial expenses is helpful when a loved one passes away unexpectedly.
I hope this provides a ideas how to pay for a funeral with no money.