Facing a loved one’s death is stressful. But to make matters even more complicated, many people struggle with paying for their loved one’s funeral expenses. If the deceased didn’t leave behind any assets, and you cannot meet the financial obligation to pay for services, you may be forced to look for outside resources.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Will the State of Georgia Pay for a Cremation?
- Places or Programs That Offer Free Cremation in Georgia
- Tips for Saving Money on Cremation in Georgia
We have researched cremation in Georgia to give you ideas on finding low-cost or free crematory options. Some of the organizations we found are designed to help specific populations. Here’s what we discovered.
Will the State of Georgia Pay for a Cremation?
The State of Georgia will not pay for your loved one’s cremation. However, according to the organization called The Memorial Society of Georgia, each Georgia county is obligated to pay for the burial or cremation of impoverished people.
Contact the Department of Human Services Division of Family and Children Services in the county where the deceased resided. Ask to be directed to the Indigent Burial Department and explain your situation.
The staff for this agency will investigate the deceased’s assets to determine if there are any funds available – either from property ownership, bank accounts, or insurance payouts. Once the investigation has been completed, the county may pay (or reimburse the family) for direct burial or cremation.
As with some government programs, the funds sometimes become depleted. So, here are some additional resources for those looking for free or cheap cremation in Georgia.
Places or Programs That Offer Free Cremation in Georgia
When researching charities that help with funeral costs, it’s helpful to understand how cremation works and the different types that are available. Most organizations that offer cremation assistance will provide funds for direct cremation, which occurs soon after death.
If the family is (or the deceased had been) opposed to the idea of cremation, some organizations may assist the family with a direct burial.
Here are some other organizations to reach out to if you need help paying for end-of-life services.
1. FEMA Funeral Assistance for COVID-19.
If your loved one died of COVID, there might be funds available to help pay for funeral expenses. According to the most recent information, the death certificate must attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 to receive funds.
The contact number for the COVID-19 Funeral assistance line number is 844-684-6333. The number is not answered on weekends.
2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
If your loved one served in the U.S. military, they might be eligible for veteran death benefits. Contact the Department of Veterans Affairs to find out what help is available. You may need to have your loved one’s military discharge paperwork to expedite the process.
3. Children’s Burial Assistance, Inc.
Children’s Burial Assistance is a non-profit organization developed to assist families with the funeral, burial, or cremation of deceased minor children. You may also consider reaching out to the TEARS Foundation for other child-specific resources.
4. Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
If your minor child was a victim of a homicide, you might be eligible for burial assistance through this organization. Call 800-547-0060 for more information about the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council organization.
As you can see, finding charities that help with funeral costs can be difficult. If the county and one of the previously listed organizations couldn’t help you with cremation expenses, here are some additional resources to consider.
5. Memorial Society of Georgia
Memorial Society of Georgia requires you to pay a nominal membership fee before receiving help. However, the society’s network of cremation providers agrees to provide low-cost cremation to the organization’s members.
Please understand that the Memorial Society of Georgia does not offer financial assistance to families. However, they can ensure that the cost of direct cremation for your loved one does not go over $1,095.
6. Georgia Funeral Directors Association
Another resource to consider is the Georgia Funeral Directors Association. Even though this group will not necessarily offer free cremation, they would be an excellent resource to help find funeral homes that offer discounts or payment plans. Additionally, the organization will provide you with information about laws regarding end-of-life services.
7. Employer of the deceased
If the deceased was employed at the time of death, there might be a death benefit policy paid by the company that can be used for funeral expenses. In addition, of course, if the deceased was a member of your immediate family, you may have purchased a policy for them. Contact the company’s human resources department for assistance.
Union employees and their families are also sometimes eligible for death benefits.
Tips for Saving Money on Cremation in Georgia
We have tried to give you several resources for free or reduced-rate cremation in Georgia. However, your loved one may not have qualified to receive assistance. Are you worried about paying for your loved one’s end-of-life services? Here are some other tips for saving money on cremation and funeral expenses.
8. Speak with the funeral director
Your local funeral director would be a great source to help you uncover charities or other organizations that may help with your loved one’s cremation costs. Reach out to a funeral director near you as soon as possible for assistance. Remember, once the body is moved from the location of death, you will be responsible for transportation and storage fees.
Some funeral homes allow you to make payments for funeral services for your loved one. Talk with a funeral home employee to see if this is possible for you.
9. Reach out to your local church
Churches and other religious organizations often assist families in need. Even if the group may not have a specific fund to help people with funeral expenses, they may have a particular dollar amount that they can donate to those in crisis.
10. Learn about direct cremation
Your Google search for free cremation may have uncovered direct cremation providers in Georgia. These organizations will transport your loved one from the place of death to the crematory, fill out the necessary paperwork, complete the cremation, and return the ashes to the family of the deceased.
The direct cremation providers vary in the level of services they offer. For example, some allow the family to observe the cremation at their facility. In contrast, others may not have a facility and instead contract out the services from another cremation provider in the area.
Most direct cremation providers do not have a space for funeral services, but some will assist you in planning a memorial service at a neighborhood venue.
Finally, some cremation providers will place the remains in a permanent resting place for the family. For example, you may pay for the company to scatter your loved one’s ashes at sea or place the remains in a scattering garden. However, cremation ashes can be sent through the mail, so you may be able to pay to have the remains shipped to your home if that is your desire.
Please understand that most local funeral homes also offer direct cremation at an affordable rate. Therefore, you might want to contact several businesses before choosing the right cremation provider for your situation.
11. Consider donating your loved one’s body to science
Search for anatomical donation programs near you. Some of these programs, such as med schools, will pay for the transportation of the body to the research facility. Once the body has been studied, the organization will pay for the cremation and return the cremains to the deceased’s family.
Before you agree to donate your loved one’s body to science, please “read the fine print.” Not all bodies are accepted to every program. Additionally, some may not pay for the transportation of the deceased to the facility – especially if the place of death occurred outside of the immediate area. Finally, some organizations do not return the remains to the family after the study, especially if the body was used to study forensic science.
People in your community may want to help you during your time of need. Consider reaching out to friends and family for financial assistance. You can use a crowdfunding app. However, some funeral homes will help facilitate gathering funds from donors.
Your family and friends may be happy to help you pay for your loved one’s funeral.
How Can We Help?
We understand how the death of a person can wreak havoc on your life. Not only are you dealing with the myriad emotions that come with grief, but you may be worried about other aspects of your life as well.
For example, maybe your mother who died was your child care provider, and you are concerned about paying for a babysitter now that she’s gone. Perhaps your loved one left behind a complicated financial situation, and you need to spend a lot of time closing accounts and paying off debts from the estate assets.
Regardless of the situation, Cake is here to help. Turn to our blog for all of your questions about grief, burial, end-of-life services, wills, and music for funerals, and more!