Saturday, January 28, 2012

Where to Look for Burial Funding Assistance

Providing the poor with a decent, dignified burial is one of the oldest social services on earth.  If you need help with the expenses of burying a loved one, here are some places to look:

--If your locality has a 211 agency referral number, call ask the referal experts to see if there are any agencies that provide burial expenses.  If your area has a searchable website, search under "burial/creamation expense assistance."

The Funeral Consumers Alliance, a fine organization, has a page devoted to indigent funerals, including a state-by-state chart of public funeral funding.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs also provides some assistance to members of federally recognized tribes if they lack other resources.  See this site for details on how to file for assistance. 

--Your state's social service agency.  Some help with burial expenses for poor people.  In Michigan, this is the website for burial assistance.   

Another source for help in Michigan for the families of those who commit suicide is the nonprofit group Six Feet Over, which offers assistance with the cleanup, funeral and memorial for the victim. Their contact email is sixfeetover2013@gmail.

 --In the city of Toledo, the Cemetary Office of the Department of Parks and Recreation handles the cremation and burial of indigents.  Their website is in need of modifications.  Please call directly at 419 936 3081.

 --FYI, here's a page from the Ohio Legislative Services (albeit 2007) on the obligation of local and state government to provide burial or cremation for certain poor people, like veterans and residents of state institutions.  According to 9.15 of the Ohio Revised Code, if an indigent person dies and is not a resident of an institution, the city or municipality must pay for the cost of a burial or cremation.  The government body is not absolved of the cost of a burial or cremation if the body is claimed by an indigent person.

--Here's a listing of some indigent burial services in the greater Cleveland area, courtesy of the 211 referral service.

--Some counties help with indigent funerals.  In Florida, contact your county's human services agency.

--In Oregon, indigent burial costs can be applied for at the state Department of Health.

--In Pennsylvania, here's the state regulations and who to contact for indigent burial.

--In Alaska, here's the site of the state social service agency that has "limited" funds for that.

--In Alabama, the county has the responsibility to provide a small sum for the burial of indigents, and those whose relatives cannot bury them.  In the case of deaths on the job, the employer is supposed to pay up to $3000 towards the funeral.

--In Illinois, it's covered by the Department of Family and Community Services, and here's the informational link.  For more information, call  (217) 524-5294 or (217) 558-6653. 

--In the District of Columbia, there's the Department of Human Services, which will give $800 towards a funeral or $450 for a cremation.  The total cost of the funeral cannot be over $2000.

--In Louisiana, the burial of paupers may be paid for by the municipality or parish where they died, with each city or parish establishing the maximum amount paid.  If the pauper were in a state institution, the state of Louisiana is responsible for their burial.

--In Georgia, the county deals with costs for the burial of indigents, and you start by contacting the county's Department of Social Services. Here's a useful publication to give more details--see #16.

--Here's the state information on indigent burial assistance in the state of Indiana.

 .--In New York, there is a guide for burial assistance options.  It's been updated (2011) and may give you an idea of where to go for help. There’s also assistance for New York City residents of up to $900 and an application online.

--For indigent people of the Jewish faith in the New York City area, the Hebrew Free Burial Association will provide a religiously and culturally appropriate funeral.

--Social security.  There is a small lump sum amount at the death of a Social Security recipient ($255).

--Was the deceased a veteran?  Besides VA benefits, some states have burial funds for veterans.  For veterans who have died in military conflict, while a resident of a VA-approved nursing home, receiving veteran's pension or other circumstances, they may be entitled to more compensation.  See this page.  Check your state's veterans office.  Here' the information for Ohio veterans burial benefits.

--Did they die as the result of a crime?  Some states have benefits for those who have died as the result of a crime

--Did they die as a result of a federally-declared disaster?  If so, and the family has no financial resources for burial, they may be eligible for disaster aid.   If so, contact FEMA at 1 (800) 621-FEMA (3362) for more information.

--Religious organizations. If you are a member of a church or denomination, they may help the burial of indigent people in that faith. 

--If the deceased is a child, there are organizations that assist in funding the burial of children in parts of the U.S.  The Unforgettables helps with funeral expenses of children in Orange County, San Bernadino and Riverside, California.  AMT Children of Hope, based in the New York City area, works to prevent the abandonment of infants, but also provides assistance for the burial of children.  Child Burial Assistance Inc. of Georgia also helps child burials in that state.  In Michigan, the Olivia Raines Foundation helps up to $500 with the cost of an infant's burial.  In California, the Emilio Nares Foundation helps with the cost of children who die of cancer in their area of service.  Call 1 (877) 507-7788 for more information.

AgapeCare Cradle, Inc offers financial help for the burial of infants in the Witchita, Kansas area.

The Tears Foundation will assist in funding the burial of an infant between 20 weeks gestation and 1 year old in the states of New York, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and Washington state, if there are sufficient funds.  You can contact them at (253) 200-0944.

--The angels of Aidpage came up with another winner: a page full of suggestions on burial financial help.  They include references to several individual cities.  like Milwaukee,   The link to Nashville is dead, but I found the new Nashville burial help site here, and here is the Maryland burial siteColorado has burial assistance also.

--Another possibility is crowdfunding. See this blog entry for more.

***See more on indigent burial at this entry.****


Anonymous said...

Never would have thought to look at half of those places. Great list.
-Jack @ human services software

Anonymous said...

Where is help in minnesota?

Linda Koss said...

In Minnesota, state law requires you to go to the county for assistance. Here's the citation to the Minnesota law:

Within this framework, every county may provide different assistance. Here, for instance are the regs and procedures for Hennepin County:

Contact your county government for assistance.

Anonymous said...

Is there any help in Missouri, specifically St. Louis County?

Linda Koss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Koss said...

Try (800) 427-4626, the 211 for your area. I tried, but could not answer your specific questions about location, age, veteran status of the dead person, which you could. They told me it was a slim chance in any case. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Terri Gately said...

Is there any help in Arkansas to help pay for your child's monument for the cemetary?

Linda Koss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Koss said...

Most places do not have money for memorials, but there is a place in Phoenix, AZ, that does limited numbers of memorials for dead children, without a geographic limit that I can find. It's the Dempsey Burdick Memorial Foundation, and the link to pursue an application is:

I hope this helps.

sara marsden said...

Great information! I would just like to add that DFS Memorials also helps to connect families with their nearest low cost funeral provider. In many areas a cremation can be performed for between $575 and $995. This helps families save thousands on funeral costs. A simple direct cremation is carried out and the ashes returned to the family who can then arrange their own memorial service.

For more information visit :

Catherine Hardy said...

I am the founder of a non profit in Michigan Called Six Feet Over. Please feel free to add us to this amazing list. We help with funeral, clean up and memorial service costs for those surviving loss by suicide in Michigan. Our email is sixfeetover2013@gmail and our website is being constructed and should be up soon. Thank you, Katie Hardy

Linda Koss said...

Thank you, Ms. Hardy, we'll include your information.

Anonymous said...

My newphew is in newark new jersey we are looking for help to bury him do any one now where or whom to call

Anonymous said...

Hello my name is Shawn Onion we lost my newphew on Sunday October 5 my family and I are really strugglingtrying to raise money to bury Omar Hudson my newphew which I loved with all my heart a goodkid.We have Omar body at Cottons funeral home in Newak New Jersey the cost of the funeral is 4900.00 we raised up 780.00 so far im pleading and asking any one to help my number is 570-855-5019 please can you help my family to help bury my newphew

Linda Koss said...

Most government agencies won't pick up the costs of a funeral-home funeral. What might work better is setting up an account at a crowdfunding site especially for funerals, like or, and raising the money that way. I'm sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

My beloved grandmother passed away on Friday, she was a NY native until a few months ago when my mother sent for her from Massachusetts. We have not found any assistance, or any service that would be appropiate to her wishes. I have set up a fundraiser both with GoFundMe and GivingForward. Please help us lay our grandmother to rest. Any support would be very much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Where can we get help in louisiana

Stephanie A. Leber said...

My dad passed away September 17, 2014 in Olive Branch, Ms but my brother had Bartlett Funeral Home in Bartlett, Tennessee pick him up.... Unfortunately my dad was creamiated so his ashes are there. My dad didn't have a will, etc and I need financial help getting my share of his ashes and the certified death certificate asap. What state do I ask & what site do I ask? He doesn't qualify for VA assistance program, I have no family help, & medically not able to work.... Please help it's breaking my heart more my dads ashes are still there.

Linda Koss said...

Anonymous:in Louisiana, any noninstitutionalized poor person is the responsibiity of the parish or city where they died. However, some places don't have or.parish officials, or try crowdfunding at the sources listed above.

Linda Koss said...

Stephanie--there are no public services for what you describe. My suggestion would be to try to put your request up on Modest Needs ( to see if someone could help you with your request. Good luck to you.

Stephanie A. Leber said...

Ok thanks

Anonymous said...

Do u have any resources available for Burial/crematory services in Michigan that are for very low income families? TIA

Linda Koss said...

There are several: the state Department of Social Services (,4562,7-124-5453_5531-18246--,00.html). For infants, there is the Olivia Raines Foundation ( For people whose family member has committed suicide, there is Sox Feet Over. Contact them at sixfeetover2013@gmail. If they died as a result of a violent crime, you might also try the Michigan Department of Community Health's Crime Victim Compensation program (,1607,7-132-54783_54853---,00.html).

Anonymous said...

What about georgia do they have assistance

Anonymous said...

Are there any resources in georgia for burial are cremation