Free Cremation Through State Funeral Assistance In Pennsylvania

The PA Department of Human Services (DHS) will provide payment for cremation services on behalf of eligible individuals. Cremstar of Pennsylvania is registered as an official provider with DHS. You will need to purchase the cremation in advance before we can apply for reimbursement from the state.

What’s Covered
DHS will reimburse qualified applicants up to $750 towards cremation expenses. Assuming the applicant is approved, PA DHS will pay Cremstar, and we in turn will reimburse the original purchaser of the cremation.

  • Individuals who received Supplemental Security Income or SSI
  • Individuals receiving cash benefits from the Department of Human Services prior to death
  • Individuals who were found eligible for cash assistance prior to death
  • Residents of nursing homes who received SSI or nursing home care payments prior to Jan. 1, 1973, continuously to the present
Ultimately, eligibility for financial assistance is determined by the local County Assistance Office (CAO).

To Apply
To find out if you qualify for assistance, the next-of-kin will need to contact the CAO office nearest to where the decedent lived (not where s/he passed away). For the phone number of the correct CAO office, visit the DHS CAO Information page and look it up by county of residence. You will be asked to provide them with the social security number of the person in question in order for them to tell you if the applicant qualifies and, if so, for how much. Remember: You need to purchase the cremation before we can apply for reimbursement from the state. To let us know you’re interested in funeral financial assistance, please check the box by the phrase beginning “We may be eligible for reimbursement” on the Options and Payment page when you first order the cremation. We’ll help you get through the process and make sure that all qualified applicants are paid.

If you are in immediate need because a death has already occurred, order a direct cremation now. If a death is imminent (a matter of days or weeks), visit the Cremstar Cremation Cost Calculator for an estimate and to email yourself a customized "Order Now" link. If you are planning ahead and want to lock in a price for the future, visit our Planning Ahead for Cremation section.