By: Amanda Winstead
Thinking and talking about death is incredibly difficult. If the emotions weren’t hard enough to handle, there is also inevitably a discussion about the costs associated with the affair that can add additional strain. While funeral traditions have been the same for as far back as we can remember, people are starting to think differently about how we honor those we lost and what we do with their remains.
Funerals are typically a costly expense, but that is starting to change. There are several ways you can have a free funeral if you know where to look. While it will still be sad to see a loved one go, the reduced cost could make things a bit easier. Here are some ideas to consider in the event of an unfortunate loss.
Consider a Home Burial
The first option is the home burial. This arrangement is often free because you don’t necessarily need to bury your loved one in a coffin. Typically, the coffin itself is the most expensive part of a funeral, with a cost of between $2,000 to $5,000. Many people don’t realize that, while a cemetery may prefer it, you don’t need to bury your lost one in a coffin. That opens you up to more options at home and it can save you that hefty price tag.
In addition to being costly, coffins and other traditional methods are also bad for the environment. Traditional caskets take up a lot of room in the ground, and even cremation requires burning fossil fuels to create the ashes.
You can be even more sustainable by having a home funeral and being smart about handling the remains. One tactic that has become popular lately is alkaline hydrolysis, which uses a salt and water-based solution to dissolve the remains. This is a green alternative to cremation. There is also the option to bury remains in cocoon-like sacks beneath a newly planted tree. As the body decomposes, it helps the tree thrive. Whenever you view that tree, you will remember your loved one.
You’ll also save money with a home burial because you won’t need to pay for a funeral home or to rent another venue for the services. A home memorial service is also a great way to cope with your loss. Although getting past your grief won’t happen overnight, it helps to express your feelings and turn to your friends and family while you grieve. By sharing stories about the one who passed, you can remember their spirit, and it might help you get through things.
Options for Your Scenario
There are other ways to get a free funeral if you are part of a certain group or if you fit within certain circumstances.
For instance, the funeral expenses of veterans who pass away after certain dates may be reimbursed for the cost of the event. Specific requirements must be met for eligibility. A veteran can be eligible for reimbursements if they had a service-related death before or after September 11, 2001. Those not in service may be reimbursed for a certain amount if they passed on or after October 1, 2019.
Granted, these payouts are typically between $796 and $2,000. While that doesn’t sound like it can pay for a funeral, if you choose cremation or go with a certain casket, then the funeral could be close to free.
Families with very little resources or money may also be able to take advantage of potter’s fields. Potter’s fields are located around the United States, and they are areas where unknown or poor people are buried. Although there are many of these fields around the country, not all of them are open. However, some, like the potter’s field in New York, are still operational, and 1,000 coffins are buried there yearly. Consider using a potter’s field if that is the only option.
New and Unique Ways To Get a Free Funeral
As times change, we find new ways to get a free or heavily discounted funeral.
Since scientists continue to test and study our bodies in an attempt to understand the human form, you can donate your body to science, which can help the human race and get you a free funeral. If you are interested, you can apply to the Science Care program. Once accepted, the program would cover the cost of transportation, the filing of the death certificate and other forms, and your cremation. Then, your loved ones could have the memorial service at home and save a lot of money.
As we saw with the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is not always changing in a good way. The pandemic led to millions of lost lives. Because of the severity of the issue, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has the COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program.
Anyone living in America who had a death attributed to COVID-19 would be eligible for up to $9,000 in funeral assistance. That could include cremation, clergy, the burial plot, the ceremony, and more. Remember that you will first need to pay for your own services, but with the proper paperwork, you can be reimbursed, so it is essentially free.
These are a few ways to get a free funeral or a heavily discounted service. If you are planning your future or your will, consider these options. It is not great to think about life after death. But, by making the proper arrangements ahead of time, a free funeral could be a great benefit to your family.Back to Knowledge Center