Welfare is available for individuals and families in need of financial assistance. Potential candidates will apply at their local department of social services (DSS) office. Welfare is designed as a stepping stone from the government to help people get back on their feet while working part-time or out of work completely. If a person dies while on welfare and has no assets, DSS will offer death benefits to assist the family.
Funeral Service Benefits
DSS pays funeral homes a set amount to perform removal of a body, preservation techniques and an in-house service. These benefits do not cover additional memorialization, the cost of an obituary or death notice in the local newspaper or out of town/state services. Families have the option to pay for additional details out of pocket. To receive these benefits the next of kin must alert DSS prior to any removal or preparations being performed. In some states, DSS will only fund services through specific funeral homes.
Caskets, Urns and Burial Vaults
Payments will be made by DSS toward caskets, urns and burial vault expenses for a person on welfare. This amount can be contributed toward a higher end burial container or used to cover the full cost of a basic container. A simple stainless steel casket in blue or brown is available for families wishing to have DSS cover the entire cost of a casket. The urn selection varies based on funeral home and manufacturer. A basic concrete burial vault, also known as a rough box, is also paid for by DSS. Payments from DSS for an outer burial container are not applicable towards lawn crypts or mausoleums.
Cemetery Space and Headstone
Deceased that have been receiving welfare are also eligible for a burial space. There is a specific section in the cemetery that offers discount pricing for this occasion. Some cemeteries may also offer miscellaneous unsold plots throughout their park to the family. Once a burial space is designated it cannot be transferred or sold to another person. Cemeteries sell a variety of headstones and grave markers that a family will choose from. DSS does not offer any benefits for cemetery markers. If a family is unable to afford a basic cemetery marker (flat, bronzed stone) then the funeral home or cemetery will put a temporary marker in place free of charge. If this marker is damaged, a person may locate their deceased family by asking the cemetery management for a map and directions to the burial space.