How to Get Help With Funeral Costs for a Parent

| 6 min read Financial Assistance

Losing a parent can be one of the most difficult times of your life. The last thing you want to worry about is how to pay for a funeral. A funeral service can be truly priceless to the friends and family of the departed, as this allows them to heal, grieve, and pay their last respects. Yet, funeral costs and associated expenses often add up quickly. Learn about different ways to get help with funeral costs for a parent, so you can worry less about expenses and focus on honoring your loved one’s memory.

Start a funeral fundraiser

Six funeral costs to consider

The National Funeral Directors Association estimates that the median cost of a funeral service ranges from $6,260 to $8,755, depending on whether it is a cremation or traditional burial. This does not include cemetery charges, monument or marker costs, or items like flowers and an obituary. Let’s break down the cost of funeral services, so you know what to expect:

1. Transportation

Transportation to a funeral home will cost an average of $325. The average cost of a hearse is also $325. A hearse is a requirement for a traditional burial service unless cremation is chosen.

2. Embalming and preparation costs

Embalming is only necessary if you wish to have a funeral with a viewing. A viewing can apply to a traditional burial or cremation. The embalming and preparation process typically costs $975.

3. Casket or urn costs

A casket provides a dignified way to move the deceased before burial or cremation, and is usually the most expensive item purchased for a funeral service. Caskets also have the largest range in price, costing anywhere from $500 to $5,000 and up for a traditional burial.

The average cost of an urn is $275. However, if families choose, a cremation, then they must also purchase a casket. A cremation casket must not contain any metal, and averages $1,000 if it is also used for a viewing.   

4. Viewing and funeral ceremony costs

The cost of a viewing is typically $425, and covers the use of the funeral home facilities. The funeral ceremony held at the cemetery is an additional $500.

5. Cremation costs

This option is less expensive than a traditional burial. Cremation typically costs $350.   

6. Funeral home service fee

In addition, all funeral homes charge a basic services fee for every funeral. This fee averages $2,100.

Government assistance for funeral costs

If you live in the United States, you may be eligible to receive a lump-sum Social Security survivors benefit of $255. And in some cases, you may also be able to receive monthly benefits of the deceased. Additionally, funeral state assistance programs exist to help with the cost of a burial.

If your parent was a Veteran, the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs offers financial help for funerals in the form of burial benefits. These benefits can range from $1,062 to $2,000, depending on service qualifications.

While government assistance can provide some relief, the process is not automatic. It can take up to six weeks to receive a survivors benefit from the Social Security Administration, and up to four months for a decision from Veteran’s Affairs. Carefully follow the eligibility requirements, as claims can also be denied.

Charities that help with funeral costs

There are many organizations that help with funeral expenses. While benefit wait times through organizations are often quicker than through government assistance programs, each organization has its own eligibility requirements and application process. Here are three charitable organizations that may help with funeral expenses for those living in the United States:

Funeral Consumers Alliance

A nonprofit organization, the Funeral Consumers Alliance, is dedicated to helping families plan an affordable, meaningful service. The organization strives to educate people on planning funerals, and offers resources that can help with funeral costs. See our funeral savings guide for more information on planning an affordable funeral.

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross provides financial assistance for military families, which can include burial costs. Assistance is provided to active duty service members and their immediate families, as well as military retirees and their spouses.

United Tissue Network

The United Tissue Network is a nonprofit dedicated to honoring the wishes of those who choose to donate their body to science. The organization will cover the cost of transportation, the death certificate, and cremation. Families can expect to wait four to six weeks to receive cremated remains.

Start an online fundraiser to help with funeral costs for a parent

You may be wondering how to pay for a funeral with no money. A online fundraiser can help with funeral costs for a parent, when government benefits or life insurance isn’t enough. Starting a fundraiser can also help you through the grieving process by creating a place for friends and family to offer support and condolences.

Crowdfunding can relieve the burden of an expensive funeral

Crowdfunding has become a reliable way for family and friends to raise money to cover the cost of a funeral. Often, those who knew the deceased are happy to help. Donating to a funeral fund can also be a meaningful option in place of sending flowers or cards. If you choose to start a funeral fundraiser, learn more about funeral fundraising tips that can help cut memorial costs.  

fundraising means you keep more of the money you raise

Getting financial help for a funeral can be easy with crowdfunding, and a fundraiser means you won’t be hit with hidden fees. GoFundMe is the #1 and most trusted leader in online fundraising, and our 0% platform fee for organizers means you can keep more of your donations.

Crowdfunding means no wait times to receive help

Many people have used GoFundMe to help with funeral costs for a parent, and funds can be withdrawn immediately as they are raised. With online fundraising, there are no waiting periods to receive your funds, so you can start receiving financial help for a funeral right away.

Examples of funeral fundraisers for families

The Joyner Family

Rebecca and her three siblings were met with tragedy at the unexpected death of their father, after their mother had passed two years prior. She was able to raise more than her $2,000 fundraising goal to help cover the cost of a funeral service for her father.

Funeral for Francisco Flores

After Francisco lost his year-long battle with bone cancer, his family was left wondering how they would pay for a funeral. In just 10 days, the Flores family was able to raise over $2,500 for a funeral service.

Sharyn Delacroix

Grandmother of three, Sharyn lived on disability benefits due to health issues. Her daughter, Tina, was left with unexpected funeral expenses after her mother’s passing. Tina started a fundraiser to help cover funeral costs, and was able to raise nearly $3,000.

Find financial help for funerals when you need it

If you need help with funeral costs for a parent, a fundraiser can be your answer. Crowdfunding can be a beautiful way to honor your loved one’s legacy, while relieving some of the financial stress of paying for a funeral. Sign up to create your funeral fundraiser today, so you can stop worrying about expenses and instead focus on healing.

Start a funeral fundraiser