Burial Assistance For The Uninsured

burial assistance for the uninsured

Burial Assistance For The Uninsured.

When a loved one passes away, bereaved family members are faced with a slew of funeral decisions, many of which must be made swiftly.

These include:

    • What type of funeral do you think it should be?
    • Should we utilize a certain funeral home?
    • What should our budget be?
    • Is there anything else we need to purchase in addition to the casket?

Thousands of Americans face similar issues every year and require assistance with funeral expenditures. It’s typical for folks to be stumped as to where to begin.

Understanding your rights when it comes to funeral expenditures and other burial charges is a smart starting step.

Funeral and burial laws differ from state to state, and knowing them may be difficult. Knowing and comprehending all of your alternatives can help you relax as you begin your funeral preparation checklist and ensure that you are protected while dealing with funeral homes.

This guide will lead you through all of the different ways you may seek assistance with funeral and burial fees from charities, non-profits, government benefits, military aid programs, and other sources. Burial insurance or last expense insurance are two forms of life insurance that can assist pay the escalating costs of funeral preparations.

Your Funeral Rights

When a loved one passes away, bereaved family members are faced with a slew of funeral decisions, many of which must be made swiftly. These are some of them:

  • What type of funeral do you think it should be?
  • Should we utilize a certain funeral home?
  • What should our budget be?
  • Is there anything else we need to purchase in addition to the casket?

Thousands of Americans face similar issues every year and require assistance with funeral expenditures. It’s typical for folks to be stumped as to where to begin.

Understanding your rights when it comes to funeral expenditures and other burial charges is a smart starting step.

Funeral and burial laws differ from state to state, and knowing them may be difficult. Knowing and understanding all of your alternatives can help you relax and defend your rights while dealing with funeral homes, reducing the stress of funeral preparation. Find out what to do if a loved one passes away.

Here’s a brief rundown of rights and funeral planning suggestions to help you save money on funeral costs.

The Funeral Rule

The Funeral Rule was enacted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prohibit funeral houses from forcing customers into purchasing goods and services they didn’t want or need, as well as charging inflated costs for those they did.

The purpose of this rule is to educate customers about their rights regarding funeral home fees. Consumers have the right under the Funeral Rule to:

  • Purchase only the items and services that you desire. Some funeral homes offer package offers that may contain items and services that you do not want or need. You are not forced to buy a funeral package that includes goods you do not desire.
  • Get price information over the phone. If you request it, funeral establishments are required by law to offer price information for their products and services. To receive funeral home charges, you are not required to provide any personal information.
  • Get a detailed invoice for your goods and services. The funeral home must present you with a General Price List (GPL), which you must preserve. It includes a pricing breakdown for all of the things and services they provide.
  • View a price list for caskets. Funeral houses must publish a dated, printed list of casket costs, which includes containers not on display. Only a few caskets are frequently displayed at funeral stores (usually the best they have to offer). The printed list is meant to show you options that aren’t currently on display.
  • For exterior burial containers, see a printed pricing list. After a coffin is buried, outer burial containers (also known as grave liners) surround it. Although there are no state regulations mandating burial containers, many cemeteries do so to prevent graves from collapsing. Such containers may or may not be available for purchase at your funeral home. If they do, it’s possible that it’ll be listed on their GPL. You have the right to request a different pricing list for the container if it is not published.
  • After you’ve determined what you want and before you pay, you’ll get a written statement. The statement should include a thorough breakdown of what is being purchased as well as the actual pricing of each service. Each expenditure should be itemized and a total should be provided. It also has to notify you of any cemetery or crematory requirements that may incur additional costs.
  • For cremation, use a different container. Cremation does not need the use of a coffin. If a funeral home provides cremation services, they must advise you that there are alternate containers available. Find out more about cremation fees and urn prices.
  • You must supply your own coffin or urn. A funeral home is required by law to accept a casket or urn purchased from a third party. They are also not allowed to collect a handling fee. When the coffin or urn is delivered to the funeral home, you are not needed to be there.
  • Arrange for a funeral without embalming. Every death is not required to be embalmed by state law. If the body is not buried or burned within a specific amount of time, certain states may mandate embalming or refrigeration. Refrigeration is frequently used as a substitute for embalming. Embalming is not required for services such as direct cremation and prompt burial. Without your permission, a funeral parlor cannot embalm a body.

Buying Life Insurance for Your Parents: A Step-by-Step Guide

The majority of individuals are responsible for paying for their parents’ funerals, and the best way to do so is to plan ahead of time. While a basic savings account can do, many individuals prefer to get life insurance policies for their parents or other elderly relatives in order to cover funeral fees and other expenses left behind by their loved ones. Follow these instructions if you want to do the same for your parents.

Step 1 – Talk to them about your plans.

Discuss the policy with your parents before buying life insurance for them, including the coverage amounts and who will pay the payments. Explain that you’re safeguarding your family’s financial future by ensuring that you’ll be able to cover their funeral expenses when the time comes. You may go on to the following stage once you’ve selected how much coverage to get and which insurance provider to utilize.

Step 2 – Decide who is the policy’s owner and who will profit from it.

Changes to the policy’s coverage, beneficiaries, and billing information can all be made by the policy’s owner. They also have control over who gets access to policy information. It’s crucial to talk about this ahead of time if your parents don’t want to get their own coverage.

By accurately identifying the policy beneficiaries, you’ll be able to precisely designate where any residual cash goes once last expenditures are met in full. That might be you if you’re paying for the coverage. If you’re splitting the cost with your siblings, you may divide the extra money as well. Your parents may want the money to go to charity, to their grandkids, or to pay off other obligations.

Step 3 – Purchase the appropriate insurance coverage.

It’s time to pick a policy once you’ve gone through the information. There are various possibilities, and depending on your financial capabilities as well as your parents’ ages and health, some may be better than others.

  • Term Life Insurance – Term plans are less expensive than other forms of life insurance, but they only last for a certain length of time. You must purchase new insurance at a higher cost to prolong coverage. It may become more difficult to qualify as you get older and your health changes.
  • Whole Life Insurance – A whole life policy covers you from the moment you sign up until you die. This type of coverage normally has a higher premium, so buying it early in life when you are in excellent health will get you the best prices. Even if you become unwell, your rates are unlikely to climb.
  • Funeral Insurance – This sort of coverage, often known as last expense or burial insurance for seniors, is meant to cover funeral and burial costs. It lasts until you die, just like full life insurance. This sort of coverage pays much lesser cash payouts than regular life insurance. There is no need to take a health exam to qualify for coverage, but you will most likely be asked health questions. Funeral AdvantageSM from Lincoln HeritageSM is the nation’s premier final expenditure coverage, paying cash within 24 hours of a claim being granted.

Helpful Charities and Non-Profit Organizations

If a loved one dies unexpectedly and without insurance, charities and non-profit groups may be able to assist with funeral expenses.

Religious Organizations

Churches and institutions of worship frequently employ a benevolence fund to assist members of their congregations with burial expenses. This money may be available to members of the general public in some instances. In times of need, larger religious groups such as Catholic Charities USA may be able to assist.

Consumer Advocate Organizations

Policyholders who purchase Funeral Advantage receive a free membership to the Funeral Consumer Guardian Society, a non-profit consumer advocacy group whose main aim is to assist its members save money. When a member’s loved one dies away, a specialized representative will assist the member’s family in shopping for services in their region and making funeral arrangements. Cremation can save up to $600 and conventional funerals can save up to $1,800 for members’ families.

Federal Government Help

Upon the death of a loved one, the federal government will provide a special lump-sum payment of $255 if they qualify. Despite the fact that the average funeral cost has grown every year since 1954, this payment amount has stayed constant.

Medicare & Medicaid

Neither Medicare nor Medicaid cover the cost of a funeral. You may, however, be allowed to set away up to $1,500 for each of you to help with funeral costs, for a total of $3,000. You can put the monies in a medical savings account (MSA) with a private insurance provider and choose a beneficiary to receive them upon your death. You’ll need a certified funeral trust if you want to put money away tax-free. This sort of account can be set up by a tax preparer or an attorney. Check for these sorts of accounts among a family member’s papers and documentation after he or she goes away.

Social Security

If your spouse or parent was on Social Security, he or she may be entitled to a $255 one-time death payout. The funeral home will most likely notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) of your loved one’s death. You can also apply for benefits by calling 800-772-1213 or visiting an office location near you. For those that qualify, there may be additional advantages available.

Military & Veteran Assistance

All military veterans are entitled to a free burial in a national cemetery and a grave monument to aid with funeral costs. Veterans’ spouses and dependent children are entitled to a plot and marker in a national cemetery as well.

There are usually no charges for opening and closing the burial, for a vault liner, or for placing the grave monument for veterans. Other funeral expenses, such as transportation, are normally covered by the family.

Although many states have created military cemeteries, some commercial cemeteries provide veterans discounts. These cemeteries may provide the soldier with a free site, but they may demand a significant cost to open and shut the burial. Before deciding on a commercial cemetery, it’s critical to weigh all of your alternatives.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will reimburse up to $780 in funeral costs for non-service-related fatalities. The deceased must have been hospitalized by the VA at the time of death in order to receive this sum. The VA will reimburse $300 toward costs if you do not get VA hospitalization. You may be eligible for an extra $780 plot-interment allowance if you do not plan to bury your loved one in a national cemetery.

The VA will cover up to $2,000 in burial costs for service-related fatalities. Veterans who are buried at a VA national cemetery may be reimbursed for their transportation expenses. You must fulfill the following criteria to be eligible for reimbursement:

  • You covered the cost of the veteran’s funeral AND
  • No reimbursement from another government agency or other source has been provided AND
  • The veteran was discharged with honor, AND
    • the veteran was awarded a VA pension or compensation, OR
    • was entitled to compensation but did not make use of it, OR
    • died as a patient at a VA facility or under contract with the VA, OR
    • died while en route to a medical facility for treatment, OR
    • had a pending compensation or pension claim at the time of death, OR
    • He died at a state nursing facility that was approved by the VA.

The VA does not provide burial benefits to dead veterans who died while serving in the military while serving in Congress, or while imprisoned by the federal government.

Proof of death, receipts for funeral expenditures, and a statement from the funeral director or cemetery are all required to get payment. You can apply for benefits online, by mail or in person at a local office, or by working with a representative.

In addition to burial costs, the National Cemetery Administration may be able to provide free military funeral benefits for your loved one, such as:

  • a burial flag to drape the casket or accompany the urn and be retained by the next of kin as a souvenir,
  • military funeral honors, such as flag folding and playing “Taps,” and/or
  • a headstone, a monument, or a medallion are all examples of memorials.

Disaster Relief

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will assist with uninsured funeral expenditures for close family members in the case of a natural catastrophe. The cause of death must be a proclaimed catastrophe or emergency. The following are examples of items and services that may be covered:

  • Casket or urn
  • Mortuary services
  • Transportation of the deceased and/or up-to two family members into the region to identify the death (if state/local authorities request it).
  • Up to five death certificates
  • Burial plot or cremation niche
  • Interment or cremation
  • In a public cemetery or a private burial site, a marker or headstone is placed.
  • Reinterment costs if disinterment occurs as a result of a proclaimed catastrophe AND it takes place in a family cemetery on private land.

You must supply the following information in order to get funeral assistance:

  • A death certificate
  • Documentation from a specified authorized state or local authority (attending physician, medical examiner’s office, or coroner’s office, as applicable) that links death or the harm that caused death to the proclaimed emergency or catastrophic disaster.
  • Proof that the applicant is financially liable for the funeral costs.
  • Confirmation that no other funds have been used to cover funeral costs (Social Security and VA benefits, for example)
  • Evidence of unpaid funeral expenses (a receipt from a service provider, for example)

Burial Assistance For The Uninsured Parents

It’s difficult enough to lose a parent without having to worry about how you’ll pay for a funeral. Though it may be difficult to discuss, speaking with your parent might assist you in determining where to seek assistance once they have passed away. Request that they spell out their final intentions in detail, including any financial arrangements. It will be easier to use such resources when you know about their military experience, union affiliations, general financial condition and savings, and life or funeral insurance policies in advance.

Assistance with the Costs of a Child’s or Baby’s Funeral

Children’s Burial Assistance, Inc. (CBA) is a non-profit organization that assists families in affording the burial of a deceased minor child aged one to seventeen years. Families that lack life insurance and savings are entitled to seek for assistance.

CBA provides cremation services as well as donated burial sites and funding for costs related with opening and closing graves. Families can also be connected with low- and no-cost funeral service providers through the program. The money goes straight to the funeral houses.

Funeral Assistance for Low-Income Families

State and municipal aid programs may be available to low-income families. For further information, see the State and Local Resources section above.

Alternatives to Funerals and Burials that are Low-Cost or Free

There are various things to consider if you want or need to keep funeral costs low. Use one or more of these choices to keep your out-of-pocket costs low while still honoring your loved one.

Direct Cremation

Direct cremation, often known as basic or simple cremation, is a less expensive option than traditional cremations or burials. The deceased’s corpse is burned and returned to the family as soon as possible. This price does not include a service, but you are welcome to provide your own.

DIY Funeral Service or Memorial

To commemorate the life of a loved one, family, friends, and neighbors might meet in a house, church, or community center. Consider a potluck-style supper where everyone brings a dish to share if you wish to offer food. This might help you avoid the exorbitant costs associated with utilizing a funeral home.

Body Donation

You may be allowed to donate your loved one’s body to a university or private group for medical research and educational purposes if donor approval conditions are satisfied. This choice is considered by many as “giving back” to society and, so, having a beneficial influence on the world, even after death, in addition to being free or with little cost. Ensure that the program is a member of the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB).

Burial on Family Property

Private funerals on family land are permitted in most states. Check with your town to make sure you’re following zoning laws and health-related standards.



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