Although eligibility depends on a number of factors, in many states, the government provides financial assistance for a funeral if the deceased person's estate lacks sufficient funds to pay for it. In some cases, the U.S. Social Security Administration pays a death benefit to the survivor to cover funeral costs.
For example, in Michigan, if the deceased person's estate does not have enough assets to pay for a burial and memorial service, the state offers fixed payments to help with the cost. The amount the state pays depends on whether the deceased person is buried or cremated, but the payment is typically several hundred dollars. The person asking for financial assistance must make the request within 10 days of the person's cremation or burial.
In addition, the U.S. Social Security program pays a death benefit of approximately $225 to help pay for the burial and funeral costs of a deceased Social Security recipient, as of 2015. The government pays this money to the surviving spouse or children. The Medicaid program also allows recipients to set money aside for funeral and burial expenses.