What happens if someone can't afford to pay for a funeral

If someone can’t afford to pay for a funeral there are many resources and options available to help them out. Before we begin, let’s briefly look at the average cost of a funeral and who is supposed to be paying for it.


On average, a funeral costs between $2,000 to $6,000 for the service and cremation of the deceased body. A service that includes a burial will cost at least $5,000 and can go up into the tens of thousands of dollars from there.


If there is no funeral insurance, the estate of the deceased is responsible for the funeral costs. If there isn’t enough money in the deceased person’s estate, then whoever signs the funeral contract will be responsible for funeral expenses.

Below are 12 solutions to consider, including ways to cut costs and how to cover the funeral and burial or cremation costs without going broke.


Cremation surpassed burial in popularity in 2015 due to it being substantially less expensive. Burials are approximately 70% more expensive than cremations.


A Green (or natural) burial emphasizes simplicity and environmental sustainability. The deceased body isn’t prepared with chemicals such as embalming fluids. It is simply placed in a biodegradable shroud or low-cost coffin and buried without a concrete burial vault that wards off decomposition. It’s much less expensive than the standard practice of embalming (can cost around $1000) and burying the body in a traditional casket (hundreds to thousands of dollars).


Some states allow you to perform your own burial on your property.


It’s not required to purchase a casket from the funeral home. For example, you can usually find more affordable caskets online. “Casket shopping” seems a bit dark to me, but if funds are tight, it’s something to consider. If the body is going to be cremated but you still want to hold a viewing, you can rent a casket just for the viewing.


Whole-body donation is the act of donating the deceased body to science. If the body is accepted, all burial or cremation costs are covered.


Some companies and trade unions offer survivor benefits for the family of a deceased employee.


All eligible veterans are entitled to a proper burial in a national cemetery with no charge for the internment, gravesite, headstone, or vault. The family is responsible for any additional charges. The Veterans Administration (V.A.) makes additional burial allowance payments in cases of death while on active duty, from service-related injuries, while in a V.A. facility, or when the veteran was receiving a V.A. pension or disability.


Some states help families of homicide victims with funeral expenses through their Victim Compensation Program. For example, New York State will pay up to $6,000 for the funeral of a homicide victim. Check for options in your state.


Some funeral homes offer financial assistance on a case-by-case basis. This varies greatly but is something you might want to take into account when choosing a funeral home if you find yourself in a tough financial situation.


Surviving spouses of Social Security recipients can receive a death payment of $255. Some states and county Social Services departments may help with the funeral costs of an indigent person or anyone receiving Medicaid or Social Security disability benefits. The amount is usually minimal, barely covering a cremation or burial.


Churches, businesses, clubs, and other groups can help raise money to help with the costs for funerals for those in need. In some communities, it’s customary to hold special events like car washes and bake sales. Crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe and Indiegogo are also becoming popular for fundraising.


Some special loan companies will offer low-interest loans to help with funeral expenses. You’ll have to provide the lending institution with documentation to prove the money will be going towards a funeral.


If you simply can’t come up with the money, you might be able to work with the county coroner for financial assistance. These programs are becoming less common as states and counties are forced to tighten their budgets.

  1. A properly folded military flag shows 4 stars, representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.
  2. Elephants and chimpanzees have been known to bury their dead by throwing leaves and branches over deceased family members.
  3. Approximately 28 burials are conducted each day at Arlington National Cemetery.

  1. SuperMoney.com – What Do You Do If You Can’t Afford a Funeral? 9 Solutions to Lessen the Financial Burden
  2. Funerals.org – What to Do When You Can’t Afford a Funeral
  3. BeresFordFunerals.com – INTERESTING FUNERAL FACTS!

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