Social Assistance Funeral Programs

The table below lists by State what type and level of financial assistance may be offered by a State and County to assist families with funeral expenses.

Cremation services
StateState-level AssistanceCounty DepartmentCounty-level AssistanceLimit of family contribution
AlabamaNoCounty Dept. of Human ServicesMinimal – $400 According to Alabama law, each county needs to pay the necessary burial expenses or funeral costs of someone who has died in the county if they don’t have financial means. No clear data
AlaskaOnly for tribal membersDept. of Health & Social Services – Division of Public Assistance (GRA Fund)GRA is a last resort fund for burial expenses if household’s emergency need cannot be met by any other programs.Yes
ArizonaNoCounty Public FiduciaryLimited funds available from countyYes
ArkansasNoCounty JudgeEach county judge has a ‘Pauper’s Fund’ – varies by countyYes
CaliforniaNoDept. of Public HealthCounty Coroner has control over any assistance.Yes
ColoradoYes – $1,500 for Medicaid recipients & $1,000 for SSI recipientsDept. of Human Services (CDHS) Amount spent (contribution + family funds) may not exceed $2,500
ConnecticutUp to $1,800 Recipients of SAGA & TFADept. of Social Services (CDSS) $1,000
Delaware$400 – $1,500 – burial in one of the states 3 Pauper CemeteriesDivision of Social Services No clear data
DC$450 for cremation & $800 for burial. Estate of deceased (or family member arranging funeral) must not exceed $800Dept. of Human ServicesESA Burial Assistance ProgramFamily contribution cannot exceed $2,000 for total cost.
FloridaFor those below FL poverty guideline & unclaimedFlorida Health & Human ServicesEach county contracts with a local funeral homeYes
GeorgiaNoDept. of Human Services, Division of Family & Children Services (DFCS) by countyFamily cannot have assets or monies over $400   $250 – $500No clear data
Hawaii$400 towards funeral home or crematory expenses.  $400 towards cemetery expensesDept. of Human Services (Funeral Payment Program) No clear data
IdahoNoCounty Indigent ServicesVaries by county – $695 – $1,200No clear data
Illinois$1,103 for funeral costs & $552 for burial expenses.   Budget for the State-assistance program reportedly cut from Jan 2015 & will be discontinued from 2016.Dept. of Human Services – Funeral & Burial Program   Family contribution + state assistance amount may not exceed $2,000 for funeral costs and $2,000 for cemetery expenses.
Indiana$600 toward funeral expenses & $400 toward cemetery expenses for Recipients of TANFDivision of Family Resources – ICES Program (Integrated Client Eligibility System) Family can contribute up to $750 as long as total does not exceed $1,750
IowaNoGeneral Assistance Office Funds – linked to Federal Poverty GuidelinesVaries by county. For example: Linn County up to $1,000 & Henry County $1,200No clear data
KansasNo Unclaimed bodies onlyN/A
KentuckyNo Varies by countyYes
LouisianaNoCoroner’s office of the Parish that the person died in.Each parish has a procedure for disposing of indigent bodies.No clear data
MaineFuneral director received $785 for cremation or $1,125 for burial.Maine General Assistance Program If any liable relatives or assets a deduction will be made from the amount the funeral director receives.
MarylandUp to $650 paid to recipients of state benefits.Dept. of Human Services Total funeral cost must not exceed $2,500
MassachusettsUp to $1,100 for funeral costs (Paid direct to the funeral home) Must be a recipient of state benefits. (MassHealth)Commonwealth of Massachusetts Total funeral cost must not exceed $3,500
MichiganOffers a program called ‘Home & Burial Services’ Payment of up to $600 paid to funeral directorDept. of Health & Human Services (SER) Claim must be made within 10 business days after death
MinnesotaNoPublic Health Department and/or Human ServicesVaries by county – some counties pay up to $2,100 [Direct to funeral home]No clear data
MississippiNo Varies by countyNo clear data
MissouriNoCommunity Foundation of the Ozarks (CFO) has an Indigent Burial & Funeral FundCFO current reimbursement rate is $400No clear data
MontanaNo Varies by countyNo clear data
NebraskaNoDept. of General AssistanceVaries by county Lancaster County provides $800 Douglas County will provide assistance for cremation to an authorized mortuary in Douglas County.Spouse of the deceased can earn no more than the federal poverty level, $903 a month for one person. And the deceased, if there is no spouse, can have no more than $800 in his or her estate.
NevadaNoDept. of Social Services Clark County Social Services (CCSS) (702) 455-4270Varies by county. In Clark County consult the Public AdministratorNo clear data  
New HampshireNoDept. of Health & Human ServicesAn amount of up to $1,000 Recipients of Welfare (TANF)  No clear data
New JerseyNoDept. of Human ServicesUp to $2,246 for funeral & $524 for cemetery costsFamily contribution must not exceed $1,570
New MexicoSocial Services – Burial Assistance gives up to $200Dept. of Human Services Less than $600
New YorkNoVaries by county Dept. of Human Services No clear data
New York CityCheck: http://www.volsprobono.org/sites/default/files/pdf/vols-burial-guide.pdf    Public Administrator by Borough$900Family contribution must not exceed $1,700
North Carolina Dept. of Health and Human ServicesVaries – up to $1,500 reimbursed to funeral homeNo clear data
North DakotaNo Varies by county – can be from $300 to $3,000No clear data
OhioNo Varies by county & cityNo clear data
OklahomaNo Varies by county – limited helpNo clear data
Oregon$650 (if available in state budget)  No clear data
PennsylvaniaBurial and Cremation Services Payment $750 for recipients of SSI. If deceased has more than $750 but less than $1,500Dept. of Public Welfare Yes. Deceased cannot have assets over $1,500
Rhode IslandUp to $850 for cremation and $900 for burial. Recipients of SSI & GPADept. of Human Services To be eligible cannot have resources of $400 or more
South CarolinaNoCounty CoronerVaries by county but very limited assistanceNo clear data
South DakotaNo – state requires that counties cover the cost if a resident dies without sufficient funds to cover burial costs.Dept. of Human ServicesVaries by county. For example Minnehaha offers up to $2,250 for a funeral with a service or $1,000 for a simple cremation.Yes
TennesseeNoSocial ServicesVaries by countyNo clear data
TexasNoHealth Services DepartmentVaries by county – can range from $300 to $1,500No clear data
UtahNoDept. of Human ServicesRegions can provide $500 as a last option.No clear data
VermontUp to $1,100Agency of Human Services None
VirginiaFor recipients of TANF & SNAPDept. of Health & Human ServicesVaries by county. For example Norfolk county offers $500No clear data
WashingtonNoDept. of Social & Health Services (DSHS) funeral and interment programVaries by county King County offer up to $500 for veterans.No clear data
West Virginia$1,250 [to qualify the applicant must have less than $2,450 in resources]Dept. of Health & Human Services Family contributions of up to $1,200 are allowed

Written by

Sara is the Editor in Chief for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death care industry in the US for the last 10 years.