List of 14 Ways to Get a Free Cremation in Michigan


Did an extended family member or close friend from Michigan recently die, leaving behind little or no financial resources? Is no one able to step up to pay for the cremation or burial? If this describes your scenario, you might be researching free or low-cost cremation. 

Jump ahead to these sections:

If the death occurred in Michigan, state resources are available to help pay for end-of-life service needs. In addition, we have discovered other resources for those families who meet specific qualifications. We will also provide you tips on saving money on cremation in Michigan. 

Will the State of Michigan Pay for a Cremation?

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website, financial assistance may be available for the deceased if their estate cannot cover the costs. The monetary payments can cover burial, cremation, or the transportation costs to donate the body to a medical school.

The application for assistance must be submitted no later than 10 business days after the burial, cremation, or donation. The remains must be located in Michigan. 

The chart found on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website outlines how much the state will put toward each specific service. While the state offers payments for many different types of services, you probably realize that the amount paid will not cover the actual costs of cremation in Michigan. Therefore, here are other resources to help pay for the service.

» MORE: Online obituary that is 100% free. Honor a loved one beyond a newspaper.

Places or Programs That Offer Free Cremation in Michigan

Most charities that help with funeral costs do so for specific populations or situations. Here are some programs that might help you pay for end-of-life services. We will also give you other places to turn to for help if the case doesn't meet the requirements of any of the official programs. 

It's worth noting that 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 instead of cremation. 

1. FEMA Funeral Assistance for COVID-19

If your loved one died directly or indirectly of COVID, funds are currently available to help pay for funeral expenses. The contact number for the COVID-19 funeral assistance line number is 844-684-6333. 

FEMA funeral assistance is capped at $9,000, but that doesn't mean the situation will qualify for the total amount. 

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. Or, a full-service funeral home or cremation provider should be able to help you obtain these benefits.

3. Social Security Administration

The funeral home staff will also be able to help you apply for death benefits from the social security administration. The one-time payment of $255 may be used to help pay for end-of-life services. 

4. Children's Burial Assistance, Inc.

Children's Burial Assistance is a non-profit organization developed to assist families with the end-of-life services of deceased minor children. Even though the organization is located in Atlanta, Michigan families who lost children may apply for assistance.

5. Final Farewell

Many people depend on insurance policies to pay for end-of-life services. However, some families do not purchase a policy for their children. This means that if a child dies, the family may need help with the burial costs. Final Farewell is another child-focused organization that helps parents pay for end-of-life services. The group also provides emotional guidance to families in mourning. 

» MORE: Grief can be lonely. Create space for your community to share memories and tributes with a free online memorial from Cake.

6. The TEARS Foundation

The TEARS Foundation also helps families who lost a minor child. If your situation qualifies, the organization will directly pay funeral homes up to $500 for end-of-life service costs. 

7. Crime Victim Services Commission

If your loved one died due to a crime, your family might be eligible to receive up to $5,000 to help cover the funeral costs. In addition, the state may also help pay for counseling, crime scene cleanup, and up to $350 weekly for a loss of support.

8. Funeral Consumers Alliance

The Funeral Consumers Alliance doesn't offer funds to help pay for cremation, but it does help people find low-cost cremation and burial options.

9. Speak with the funeral director

The local funeral director is probably the best source for finding financial assistance to help pay for funeral expenses. After all, these individuals will be aware of community resources that we couldn't uncover in an online search. 

It's best if you make decisions relatively quickly following the death. After all, once the body is moved from the location of death, the estate will be responsible for transportation and storage fees.

A funeral director might also set up a payment plan to help families or friends pay monthly for their loved one's service.

10. Reach out to your local church

Churches and other religious organizations often assist local individuals in need. 

11. Contact the human resources department

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 to cover cremation costs. Contact the company's human resources department for assistance. In addition, if the deceased was a member of a union, the organization may also offer death benefits.

» MORE: An online memorial is a perfect ending to honor and celebrate someone's life. Create one for free.

Tips for Saving Money on Cremation in Michigan

Perhaps you don't qualify to receive financial assistance to help pay for the cremation of the deceased. However, here are some other tips for saving money on funeral expenses.

People are sometimes squeamish when talking about money and funerals. In fact, some families want "only the best" for their loved ones – even if it puts them in an uncomfortable financial situation.

While we understand that you want to give your loved one a proper, dignified service, consider how the deceased lived their lives. Would they want you to go into debt to buy a luxurious casket or pay for traditional service?

Here are some ways to say a respectful, loving goodbye without going into debt. 

12. Consider direct cremation

Direct cremation occurs when the deceased is transported from the place of death to the crematory. Once the necessary paperwork is completed, the body is cremated, and the remains are returned to the family or placed in a final resting place. Direct cremation is typically the least expensive option of end-of-life services.

Funeral homes in Michigan offer this low-price option in addition to direct burial. You may also find websites of direct cremation providers that provide this service.

Direct cremation providers vary in the level of services they offer. For example, some have their own facilities while others contract out the cremation from another provider in the area. Some will assist you with planning a service, while others only offer the cremation – leaving the family on their own to organize the service.

Finally, some cremation providers will take care of the remains 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. On the other hand, some families may request to have the cremation ash shipped to their homes.

13. Consider donating your loved one's body to science

Search for anatomical donation programs near you. Some of these programs (med schools) will pay for the body to be transported to the research facility. Then, once the body has been studied, the organization will pay for the cremation and return the ashes to the deceased's family.

Please read and understand all of the fine print before you agree to donate your loved one's body to science. Embalmed bodies are typically not accepted, so you'll need to decide to donate relatively quickly after the death. Also, the body may not be acceptable for study depending on the cause of death and condition of the body. 

Some research organizations 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 cremated remains to the family after the study, especially if the body was used to study forensic science. 

14. Crowdfunding

The concept of crowdfunding for funeral services was around well before the internet. Funeral homes would assist families in need by facilitating donations to help pay for the services. 

Now, of course, the family can send a link to a crowdfunding website to extended family and friends to ask for assistance. Consider adding this link to the end of the obituary or online memorial page. 

More Help Is Available

We understand that you have many concerns following the death of your family member or friend. Besides taking care of the funeral expenses, it may be up to you to act as the executor of the estate. In addition, you might need to dispose of the deceased's possessions, which may be a significant undertaking.

Regardless of your specific situation, Cake is here to help. We have a wealth of resources available for those experiencing loss in their lives.


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