First, I’d like to say that I know death is not something that anyone wants to talk about, much less think about how you are going to afford a funeral. I know my family didn’t, which left us scrambling and stressed in an already devastating time. Unfortunately, the fact is everyone will pass way. So even if you don’t have life insurance, please research, sit down with family members, and talk about your options. Since starting the non-profit in May 2019, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “my loved one told me the VA was going to pay for it all", or they told me "the state was going to pick up the cost”, etc. Then they find out it’s not true and they are stressed trying to figure out how to pay for funeral or cremation expenses. It is so important to put the time in now to research your options and have that conversation.
If you cannot afford life insurance, here are some ways that your family may be able to get help for funeral expenses in Oklahoma.
1) Native American Assistance – If the deceased had tribal citizenship and a CDIB card from a federally recognized tribe, they may qualify for assistance. Tribes generally will pay $1,500 to $7,500 toward funeral cost, depending on the tribe. You will need to apply through your tribe. Your funeral home or crematorium should be able to help assist you with this process.
2) Veterans Assistance – If the deceased was a United States Veteran, they may be eligible to receive assistance for funeral expenses. The assistance allowances are different depending on years of service, where they will be buried, etc. Once burial assistance is approved from the VA, it takes time to receive payment. The Veteran’s spouse and unmarried adult children may be eligible for assistance if they are buried in a VA National Cemetery. If planning ahead, the veteran can also apply for “pre-need eligibility” to be buried at a VA National Cemetery. If approved, they will receive a pre-need decision letter from the VA. For more information you may go to the Veterans Affairs website https://www.va.gov/burials-memorials/eligibility or talk with your funeral home or crematorium.
3) Total Body Donation – United Tissue Network is one of the leading Total Body Donation services in the United States. The United Tissue Network covers the cost of cremation and two copies of the death certificate. There are some health restrictions to whole body donating. So not all deceased loved ones will qualify. Cremations take about 4 – 6 weeks. Your funeral home or crematorium should be able to help assist you with this process.
4) County Assistance – Some counties will pay up to $300 in funeral cost, if you qualify. There is an extensive application you will need to fill out. Your funeral home or crematorium should be able to help assist you with this process.
5) Give A Funeral, Inc. – This is a local nonprofit with a mission to help qualified families pay for funeral expenses that they cannot afford. Give A Funeral will pay up to $2,500 in funeral cost, if the funding is available. There is an application you will need to submit with a current ID, proof of income, and a signed contract with the funeral home. All payments are made to the funeral home, crematorium or monument companies. For more information visit the website at www.giveafuneral.org. Your funeral home or crematorium should be able to help assist you with this process.
6) Churches – some churches will help with funeral cost, depending on the churches funding for outreaches and membership.
7) Fundraising Accounts and Funeral Donation Accounts – Most people have seen these on social media. Examples are Go Fund Me, Fundly, etc. These donations go to the family and Funeral Donation Accounts usually go to the funeral home. Both charge a fee.