Financial Assistance for Funeral Expenses

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Various organizations can help cover funeral expenses.
Various organizations can help cover funeral expenses. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The cost of a funeral can be surprisingly high. According to the Daily Herald, the average traditional funeral in Utah County costs about $8,000 as of June 2011, with low-cost burials priced at about $2,500 and cremations at about $1,000. If you need financial assistance for funeral expenses, you may be able to obtain it from several possible sources.

Social Security

U.S. Social Security provides death benefits of $255 for eligible individuals who paid into Social Security for a minimum of 40 quarters. The surviving spouse is usually the one who gets the payment if the deceased was living with his or her spouse at the time of death. If the deceased has no surviving spouse, his or her child would get the $255 as financial assistance to cover the funeral expenses.

Veterans Administration

If the deceased served in the military and did not receive a dishonorable discharge, he or she may be eligible for funeral assistance. If the deceased died in a VA hospital, you may obtain financial assistance for travel expenses. The Veterans Administration pays out $300 for the funeral and $150 for the burial. You may also be able to bury the deceased for free in a national cemetery. Depending on your state, you may also have access to a low-cost veteran cemetery. Other possible benefits include a headstone, a U.S. flag and financial help for the deceased's family.

Other Organizations

The deceased's employer may offer death benefits. Contact all the employers the deceased has worked for in the past to inquire about financial assistance. If the deceased belonged to a professional organization or a workers' union, you may also be able to obtain death benefits from it. Some states offer financial assistance for funerals. For example, the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance pays up to $1,100. You may also obtain help from religious groups, service organizations, insurance companies, fraternal orders and pension funds.

Circumstances of Death

The circumstances under which the deceased died may determine whether you can get financial assistance for the funeral. If death occurred due to injuries or diseases caused by the deceased's work, you may obtain help from workers' compensation insurance for funeral expenses. If the deceased died of a traffic accident, insurance may cover the funeral expenses. The availability and extent of coverage depends on the state laws and the deceased's insurance policy.

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