Funeral Benefits

When an individual dies, oftentimes the family is stuck with the cost of the funeral. While life insurance policies can offset this cost provided the individual had taken out life insurance, there are other sources that offer funeral benefits for the bereaved to take advantage of. Many of these death benefits require a copy of the deceased individual's death certificate before they can be applied for.

There are many sources that offer grieving families funeral benefits. For example, members of the United States Armed Forces who die on active duty, or who completed their required years of service and die while not on active duty, are eligible for veterans' benefits. These death benefits apply to these individuals' remains, no matter if they are cremated or in a casket. They provide the deceased with a free burial in a national cemetery, free headstones and markers, perpetual grave care, a Presidential Memorial Certificate, a burial flag, and a free grave liner for those in a casket. Additionally, the families of these veterans are eligible for a one-time payment of between $300 and $1,500.

While Social Security is primarily known as a provider of retirement benefits, this program also offers funeral benefits to the families of deceased United States citizens. For these death benefits to be available, the deceased must have credit for Social Security covered work, which can range from one to ten years, depending on the age that the individual died. These death benefits provide the spouse or children of a deceased individual with a one-time payment of $255. For children to receive this payment, they must be under the age of 18 or under the age of 19 if they are a full time student. This payment is not sent automatically, so eligible individuals should not hesitate to contact the Social Security Administration to notify them about the death of their loved ones. To claim this payment, the claimant needs the social security number of the deceased and to provide proof of the individual's death, as well as their own birth certificate, social security number, and proof of their relationship to the deceased individual.

Other sources of death benefits include pension and retirement funds, miner's benefits, credit unions, trade unions, and fraternal organizations. If the death was work related, workman's compensation should offer death benefits to the family of the deceased. Furthermore, those who worked in the civil service sector, whether local, county, state, or federal, also may be eligible for death benefits. Some counties, states, and cities provide public aid assistance that offers bereaved families funeral benefits.

For grieving families, funeral benefits can offer much needed financial aid in a troubling time.