Financial and Legal Concerns

This page is intended to provide information and support for the death of a child in the hospital. For information about the death of an adult, visit Grief Support Following the Death of a Loved One on UofMHealth.org. For support following pregnancy loss, visit Loss of a Desired Pregnancy on the Von Voigtlander Women's site.

Funeral Expense Hardship 

Although the prices of funerals can vary greatly, any funeral can be unexpectedly expensive. Many families find they have some difficulty paying for a funeral. Here are some suggestions for ways to approach the cost of a funeral: 

Ask the Funeral Director at the funeral home you select:

The funeral home may be able to work out a payment schedule for you. However, the funeral homes that cost the least typically do not take payment plans and require payment prior to any service. Often the funeral director knows about local resources and can provide direction on seeking this financial support. In addition, many funeral homes will offer very discounted rates for their services when a child has died, so it can be very helpful to ask regardless of your financial need.

Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS):

If your child received CSHCS it is important to notify them of your child’s death. CSHCS may have additional information about local community resources that may be able to provide financial and emotional support. They will also be able to assist you with communication to your child’s various medical teams.

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS):

DHHS offers emergency burial money to go towards the expenses of a funeral or cremation, but does not cover the full amount. To see if you qualify, please contact your local county DHHS office before the burial or cremation takes place. DHHS will not reimburse families for these expenses, so it is important to apply as quickly as possible. Download the application

Family, Friends, and Community:

Contact family and friends, as well as clergy from local religious institutions, co-workers, community groups, or even a medical related support group to let them know of your need. Some families utilize online crowdfunding platforms to raise money for a funeral.

Insurance Policies:

If you have purchased a life insurance policy for your child, you may use these funds to pay for funeral expenses. Sometimes the funeral home will consider this for payment of services even if the money is not yet available.

Funeral Consumer Information Society:

The Funeral Consumer Information Society's Michigan Branch can provide support particularly for low-income families and is part of a national organization that can provide information on  resources available to help cover funeral costs.Visit the Funeral Consumer Information Society's website for more information.

Final Farewell:

Final Farewell helps families provide an affordable funeral for a loved child. They provide financial assistance, advice and guidance and have helped families from many religions and backgrounds. Visit the Final Farewell website for more information. 

Ike and Ella Fund:

The Ike and Ella Fund is a 501(C)3 charity that provides financial support to assist parents who have experienced the loss of a child to cover funeral, cremation, and burial expenses. Of note, this is a Christian organization. Visit the Ike and Ella Fund website for more information.  

Six Feet Over:

Six Feet Over is a non-profit organization that works to prevent suicide and helps individuals heal in the wake of suicide loss in Michigan. Six Feet Over provides financial assistance for funerals and memorial services, remembrance items, cleaning services, and various other services to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. Visit Six Feet Over’s website to apply for financial support. 

The TEARS Foundation:

The TEARS Foundation seeks to compassionately lift a financial burden from families who have lost a child by providing funds to assist with the cost of burial or cremation services. The TEARS Foundation pays the funeral home and/or cemetery directly and there must be an outstanding balance in order to receive assistance. Visit the TEARS Foundation website for more information. 

Veteran Administration:

If the child who died is a dependent of someone who served in the military, contact the VA to see if there are benefits to help with the funeral. A Service Officer can be helpful in guiding you through the process. You can also visit the VA website to view other burial benefits. Burial benefits available for eligible spouses and dependents include burial with the Veteran and perpetual care of the interment site. The spouse or dependent's name and date of birth and death will be inscribed on the Veteran's headstone at no cost to the family. Spouses and eligible dependents are eligible for burial even if they predecease the Veteran and do not have to be interred in the same national cemetery as the Veteran. View additional information about burial benefits for veterans.

Social Security Benefits 

If your child received social security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability (SSD), it is important to notify the Social Security Administration about the death as quickly as possible to stop the financial benefit. Benefits paid to an individual following their death are required to be paid back to the Social Security Administration. 

Contact Social Security Administration Customer Service at 800-772-1213 visit the Contact Social Security page on the Social Security Administration website. 

Death Certificate 

It is the responsibility of the funeral director to have the death certificate filed. The funeral director will assist with the process, and give you an idea of the number of copies you will need. There is a cost for the certified death certificate but it is typically less expensive to get them following the loss from the funeral home rather than getting them through the County Clerk’s office at a later time. 

If you need additional certified copies, you can obtain them from the County Clerk’s Office in the county in which the child died. Michigan Medicine is located in Washtenaw County. The Washtenaw County Clerk/ Register of Deeds Office can be contacted at 734-222-6720 or https://www.washtenaw.org. There is a cost for each certificate. 

Contact Us

The Office of Decedent Affairs (ODA) is part of the Michigan Medicine Department of Social Work. The ODA is the centralized point of contact at Michigan Medicine for ongoing questions and concerns before, during, and after the death of a loved one. To contact the Office of Decedent Affairs, call 734-232-4919 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. You may also email the ODA office at SocWk-ODA@med.umich.edu.