Funeral Consumers Alliance of Greater Philadelphia
1906 Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pa 19103
Please feel free to contact us at (215)-545-9210
We Get Questions
On of the services provided by the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Greater Philadelphia (FCA) is to answer questions posed by people having difficulty with funeral and cemetery matters. We've selected some of these questions and answers to share with our membership.
Most frequent is “My relative has just died and I have no money to arrange for interment.” If the bereaved is truly destitute the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare will provide some funds for a cremation. For this service call the Department of Welfare at 215 560 2926 (open only weekdays from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM).
“I want to add a name to a memorial grave marker. My cemetery requires that I purchase a new marker for an additional name. There is nothing in my plot contract that prohibits adding a name to the stone.” This is complex. One of our board members, Mr. Ted Miller, will help members with this and similar issues. Pennsylvania has a “Consumer Protection and Unfair Trade Law” that may apply in these matters and board member Rob Gasparro, Esq. will also provide some assistance to members.
“My funeral director says that Pennsylvania law requires that a body be embalmed if the burial/cremation is to occur beyond a 24 hour period following death. Is this true?” No. Embalming is not required in Pennsylvania all the time, even if the body remains beyond 24 hours.
“My cemetery requires that I have a costly vault installed in a burial plot that I purchased many years ago. Can they require this?” Yes. Most, but not all, cemeteries require the vault in order to delay the ground from sinking after the coffin has collapsed. This makes grounds keeping more efficient, saves money for the cemetery and may even add to cemetery profits from selling the vaults.
“My relative is a military veteran. Will the VA supply a free funeral?” No.
For a “non-service related” death the VA will pay up to $ 300 for burial expenses and a $ 300 plot interment allowance. Proof of honorable military discharge is required, Call 1 800 697 6947. State law requires Pennsylvania Counties to pay $ 75 for veteran funeral expenses.
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“My uncle bought his own casket and now he has died. Will the funeral director provide a credit for supplying our own casket? By virtue of the Federal Funeral Rule, the funeral provider cannot refuse to handle a casket or urn you bought online, at a local casket store, or somewhere else — or charge you a fee to do it. The funeral home cannot require you to be there when the casket or urn is delivered to them.
Charles Christine, Phd.
Copyright 2008 Funeral Consumers Alliance of Greater Philadelphia