The cost of funerals can vary considerably depending on the funeral home that is being used, the type of burial that will take place, and the services which are offered. Depending on where you live, you might save hundreds, if not thousands on funeral costs.
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However, what happens when a family can’t afford a funeral? The good news is that there are several ways that a funeral can be paid for even if the family is well short of the funds that are necessary.
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Assistance Programs & Charities
Because funeral costs average about $9,000, there are several welfares and social assistance programs that may be available to families that cannot afford the price. If the family member who passed away was on some type of government assistance, then there is a good chance they qualify for what is known as an “indigent burial”.
This means that the state will pay part or all the costs and family members may be eligible for cash assistance. In addition, if the deceased was a victim of a crime, there are victim aid and compensation programs that may be of help.
You may check around for charities that help with funeral costs. The usual qualifiers start with the income of the deceased or their family being insufficient to cover funeral costs. Several charities help those who cannot on their own pay for funeral expenses.
Memorial Funds and Crowdfunding
You may be able to gather the money by establishing a memorial fund which is a traditional way for families to raise the money necessary to pay off funeral expenses. You may also try crowdfunding effort which is similar, but thanks to the internet allow you to raise funds from around the world. Many platforms can be set up in just a few minutes, add a link to the obituary, and share information over email or social media.
Auto Insurance & Veteran Benefits
If the victim died in a vehicular accident, there is the possibility that the auto insurance will cover part, if not all the cost of the funeral. You should check the no-fault coverage and accidental death part of the insurance to see they will pay for at least some of the funeral expense.
If the deceased is a veteran, they are most likely eligible for benefits which may include a free burial plot in a national cemetery, opening and closing costs, or a burial allowance which may pay for part or all the funeral.
Donating the Body
If you have run out of options for paying for funeral expenses, donating the body offers at least one way to ensure that the remains of the deceased will be handled properly. Many medical organizations and universities accept donating the body for its scientific value. Usually, within a few years, the body will be cremated with the organization taking up the expense.
Paying funeral expenses without money is not easy, but in addition to the methods above, you should also talk with your local funeral consumer alliance. They can provide you with the guidance necessary to help you obtain a proper funeral for your loved one.