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Financing a Funeral

Your funeral payment resources may be larger than you realize

Funerals can be one of the most expensive things you'll pay for in your life. Be sure to shop around to get the prices that you want. If you're in a position to pre-plan your funeral, you may find you can save your loved ones a lot of grief and money. The pre-planning process includes considering funeral insurance, savings and life insurance, as well as pre-need trust agreements and funeral pre-payment.

If you do have to pay for a funeral for a loved one, there are a number of resources you need to consider- you don't have to spend a lot of money to hold a respectful funeral that honors the deceased, and you also don't have to try and finance any arrangements all on your own. Here are some resources that you may not have considered:

  1. The deceased's own resources. You may be able to consult the will of the deceased to find out about provisions for funeral expenses (such as insurance, savings, POD accounts, pre-need or prepayment).

  2. Social Security benefits include a one-time lump sum death benefit of $255 to the surviving spouse. You may also qualify for other surviving spouses' benefits or surviving children's benefits. You can find out about these options through the Toll Free Information Number, 1-800-234-5USA.

  3. Any service veterans (and their spouses) qualify for a number of benefits. These include free grave markers (headstone), a $300 burial expense allowance if qualified (and the figure is $2,000 for service related death,) and a $300 burial plot allowance. Any veteran can be buried in a VA national cemetery. There's a two year time limit for claiming reimbursement of burial expenses. Inurnment in Columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery , Arlington , VA is free for the veteran (spouse is usually included, too). In addition, you can receive a burial flag and a Presidential Memorial Certificate.

  4. City Taxpayers in many cities qualify for reduced inurnment costs in cemeteries or for the scattering of cremated remains (in designated areas).

  5. Church members and members of civic and other organizations may qualify for funeral assistance or for reduced costs. Contacting organizations to which the deceased belonged will help you find information about death benefits.

  6. Credit card holders may be able to have their credit reduced or even discharged if they have a death benefits policy.

  7. Death benefits from employers. Check the deceased's company policy for these.
The Crime Victims' Compensation Fund provides funeral benefits in some instances of death by a criminal act. This fund is administered by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
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