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Helpful Sources for Paying Funeral Expenses in Maryland
Sources of Financial Assistance
Funerals can be quite expensive. However, several types of financial benefits can
help survivors offset part, but generally not all, of a person’s final expenses. Although not an exhaustive search, some of the most common types of benefits include:
Although Social Security is best known as a retirement program, it also includes survivor insurance. If a deceased person worked and paid Social Security taxes, family members may be eligible to receive survivor benefits, including a lump-sum death benefit. Generally, a person must have worked for at least ten years to be eligible for benefits, depending on his or her age at the time of death. Eligible beneficiaries include the surviving spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents of the
deceased. At the time of death, the surviving spouse can receive a lump-sum death payment of $255. If there is no surviving spouse, the payment will be made to a dependent child.
The Veterans Administration (VA) offers a range of benefits and services to honor deceased veterans. Typically, the VA pays a burial allowance of around $2,000 for veterans who die from service-related causes. For other veterans who were honorably discharged and completed the required period of service, the VA will pay about $300 for funeral expenses and $150 to cover interment expenses in cemeteries other than national cemeteries. The VA will also provide a monument to mark the grave. Veterans may also be entitled to be buried in any of the national cemeteries. If the veteran is so entitled, the VA will provide a gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care of the cemetery, a government headstone or marker, and a burial flag, at no cost to the family.
If death occurs while working, the workers’ compensation commission in most states will pay a death benefit to the deceased’s estate for funeral expenses. Note that the maximum benefits available vary significantly from state to state, generally ranging from $2,000 to $10,000. Some states may also pay for a headstone or transportation. However, some states—notably, Rhode Island, New Mexico, and Louisiana—do not pay a benefit for work-related deaths.
Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund
Some states have established crime victims’ compensation programs, which provide financial assistance to individuals who have died as a result of criminal activities. Depending on the state, an amount of up to $5,000 may be payable for funeral expenses to surviving family members.
Social Assistance Programs
If a person dies without the financial resources to pay for a burial, the decedent’s town or county may provide minimal funeral and burial arrangements through its department of social services. The purpose of such programs is to provide a decent burial for indigent persons who do not have the resources to pay for interment costs.
Although eligibility requirements vary among counties, a deceased must generally meet certain criteria to qualify for indigent burial:
• They have no estate from which to pay the cost of a funeral.
• They have no family who can afford to pay for a service.
• They are ineligible for burial assistance from the Social Security Administration or the Veterans Administration.
While the type of funeral services offered by counties will differ, municipalities will typically pay for a basic funeral only, without any provision for services or viewing. The county will generally take care of any legal filings that must be made. They will also transport the remains and provide a casket, clothing, and grave or cremation services.
Are you trying to make funeral arrangements and just don't know how you are going to pay for them. Allow one of our experienced funeral directors to help you find agencies that will help offset the cost. We are dedicated to making sure that every individual is able to afford a decent and dignified funeral service.
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