Funerals are expensive, and families may find it challenging to afford services when a loved one dies. However there are funeral assistance programs in New Brunswick that can help subsidize or pay in full for funeral arrangements. Some programs cover a portion of costs, while others may cover all final expenses. Learn about funeral financial assistance available to New Brunswickers below.
New Brunswick provincial funeral assistance programs
Listed here are funeral funding programs available provincially in New Brunswick. Federal programs are outlined later in this article.
Social development funeral benefit
The Social Development funeral benefit is a government-run program that provides financial assistance to help applicants cover funeral expenses for a deceased family member. The Social Development department will provide support per the agreement with the New Brunswick Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association.
Eligibility for the benefit depends on:
- The financial situation of the deceased person
- The financial situation of the deceased person's family. Family is defined as a sister, brother, parent, child, grandparent, spouse, and common-law spouse.
The province's Social Development department will look at the household income and living expenses to determine eligibility. This includes earnings, pensions, business revenue, allowances, investments, etc. Family members who are not part of the household will also be asked if they can contribute to funeral costs.
Applying for the benefit is a two-step process:
- Screening. This is a call with a representative to do a preliminary assessment.
- Registration. This is an in-person meeting to gather information and sign application forms.
The application process must begin no more than two weeks after the death. Families are asked to contact the nearest Social Development office at 1-833-733-7835 to get started. Families must have the necessary information and documentation available at the time of application, and all documentation must be provided to the department within 15 days.
The benefit received depends on when the death occurred. For any death after Jan. 1, 1998, WorkSafeNB pays benefits equal to 80 per cent of the deceased's worker's average net income for one year to the surviving spouse. In addition, the spouse must choose one of the following plans to receive benefits:
- Benefits equal to 85% of the deceased worker's average net earnings less any entitlement to CPP, payable until the spouse reaches age 65
- An amount set aside equal to five percent of the benefits paid, which combined with accrued interest, shall be used by the surviving spouse to purchase an annuity at age 65 (more info: Policy 21-206 Funding the Purchase of an Annuity).
- A lump sum payment equal to 60% of the deceased worker's net annual earnings
- Benefits equal to 60% of the deceased worker's average net earnings payable until the spouse reaches age 65
- Benefits for each dependent child as listed in section 3.0 of the policy
- An amount set aside equal to eight percent of benefits paid, which combined with accrued interest, shall be used by the surviving spouse to purchase an annuity at age 65 (more info: Policy 21-206 Funding the Purchase of an Annuity).
Benefits may also be awarded to dependent children, invalid children or a member of the deceased worker's family (as outlined in Section 3.0 of the policy).
For workplace-related deaths occurring on or after Dec. 20, 2012, WorksafeNB with also pay to the worker's estate:
- An amount equal to 40% of the New Brunswick Industrial Aggregate Earnings (NBIAE) to assist with necessary death expenses, such as burial.
- An amount equal to 50% of the NBIAE.
- A further sum for necessary expenses of transportation, where owing to the case circumstances, the worker's body is transferred for a considerable distance for burial.
Learn more about the Benefits for Survivors policy on the WorksafeNB website. Individuals can also call 1-800-999-9775 to report an accident, exposure, or general inquiries. Specific contact information can also be found on the contact us page.
A pension plan provides workers with a source of income after retirement. Contributions are made while working and set aside to fund retirement expenses. The government or employers can offer pension plans. Individuals can also typically opt out of a pension plan and use alternative sources (e.g., RRSP) for retirement.
Most pension plans include survivor benefits given to a worker's spouse or dependents after they die. The benefits can provide a source of income to families and be used to help cover funeral costs. Benefits are usually received as a lump sum or monthly payment for a period after death.
Below are examples of pension plans and survivor benefits available to New Brunswickers:
- New Brunswick Public Service Pension Plan – Survivor benefits
- The New Brunswick Teachers' Pension Plan – Survivor benefits
- Pension Plan For GLT&S of NB School Districts – Survivor benefits
Learn more about New Brunswick pension plans on the Vestcor website. General information about pensions and retirement can also be found on the Financial and Consumer Services Commission website.
Airline Bereavement Fares
Some airlines offer families discounted fares to fly last minute due to an immediate family member's death. In Canada, bereavement fares are provided by Air Canada and WestJet. Learn more below:
Body donation is an option for individuals who want to contribute to the scientific community in death directly. Donating one's body helps further research, education, and training for current and future medical professionals. It can also significantly reduce funeral expenses.
New Brunswick does not have a dedicated body donation program, but Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia accepts donations from the province.
The body must be accepted to be part of the program. The university will cover the cost for cremation and interment of ashes in the Dalhousie Memorial Garden or shipping of ashes to next of kin.
Learn more about the program at the links below:
Organ and tissue donations are also accepted in the province through the NB Organ and Tissue Program.
Federal assistance programs available to New Brunswickers:
Federal financial assistance programs available to all Canadians, including New Brunswickers are outlined below.
Canadian Pension Plan (CPP)
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Death Benefit provides financial support to survivors after the death of a family member.
There are three types of CPP financial support payments:
- A one-time payment to the estate of a deceased person of $2,500, which can be used to help pay for a funeral.
- A monthly pension payable to the deceased contributor's legal spouse or common-law partner.
- A pension payable to a dependent child under 18 or a child under 25 attending a recognized school or university.
To qualify for the CPP death benefit, a deceased person must have made contributions to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for at least ten years or one-third of the calendar years in their contributory period for the base CPP and no less than three calendar years.
A worker can apply for the CPP benefit online or in person at a Service Canada location. For more information about the application process, check out this article: How the Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit Can Help Fund a Funeral or visit the Government of Canada website.
Memorial Grant Program for First Responders
Memorial Grant Program for First Responders provides a benefit to the families of first responders who have died due to their duties. First responders include firefighters, paramedics, police officers, correctional officers, probation officers, and parole officers anywhere in Canada.
The program provides a one-time, tax-free direct maximum payment of $300,000 to the beneficiaries of first responders.
The Memorial Grant does not compensate beneficiaries of first responders for monetary loss (income replacement) or serve as life insurance.
Learn more about the Memorial Grant on the program website.
Allowance for the Survivor
The Allowance for the Survivor is a monthly payment for Canadians who have lost their spouse. This program is available to people who:
- Are aged 60 to 64.
- Live in Canada.
- Have a spouse or common-law partner that has died, and since their death, they have not remarried or become a common-law partner to another person.
- Have an annual income less than the maximum annual income threshold for the Allowance for the Survivor.
The monthly amount is adjusted occasionally. Check this website for thresholds and current amounts.
To apply for this benefit, complete the steps outlined in the "Your application" section on the Allowance for the Survivor web page.
Income Assistance Program (Indigenous Services Canada)
The Income Assistance program provides funds to individuals living on a reserve in Canada.
The funds support the basic needs and can cover funeral and burial costs. Clients may receive up to $3,500 and no more than $6,000 to repatriate the remains by rail, air, or vehicle transport.
To be eligible for the program, a client must demonstrate:
- They are ordinarily resident on a reserve. This means they live on the reserve or do not maintain a primary resident away from the reserve, or they are off-reserve to obtain required medical care or social service support because there is no reasonably comparable service available on reserve and lived on-reserve immediately before receiving the medical care or social service support.
- They are eligible for basic or special financial assistance.
- They have no other source of funding to meet basic needs.
The application process varies from province to province. Learn more by contacting the local community's band office.
Last Post Fund for Veterans
The Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) funeral and burial program is a benefit that helps ensure Veterans have dignified funeral or burial services. It is administered by the Last Post Fund.
Service eligibility for the Funeral and Burial Program extends to:
- Canadian Armed Forces Veterans or any predecessor Naval, Army or Air Forces of Canada or Newfoundland
- Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans of the Second World War or the Korean War
- Allied Veterans who served with the Allied Forces during the Second World War or the Korean War.
If the individual meets the criteria, eligibility will be established through financial means-testing to determine the financial need or as a "matter of right." Matter-of-right is when the Veterans Association Canada determines that the cause of death is due to service.
Assistance will be provided in one of two ways:
- LPF makes the arrangements: Standard funeral services may be provided when the Last Post Fund is contacted, and eligibility is determined before making firm arrangements with a funeral home. The Last Post Fund will contract directly with the funeral home within the maximum amounts set out in the Veterans Burial Regulations.
- Family / Estate makes the arrangements: When arrangements for funeral and burial are made by a Veteran's estate, family, or another person/organization, an application for reimbursement (partial or full) may be made within one year. This reimbursement is subject to the amounts set out in the Veterans Burial Regulations.
Apply for the Last Post Fund benefit online or by phone at 1-800-465-7113. An LPF counsellor will respond to applications.
Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime
This benefit is offered to parents or guardians who have lost a child to crime-related circumstances. It provides parents with weekly income support.
Eligible parents receive $450 per week, paid every two weeks, for a maximum of 35 weeks over a period of two years. Recipients can choose to stop receiving the benefit or restart at any time within the two years.
Apply using the online application or by mail using the following forms:
- PYVC – Application guide
- PYVC – Employment form
- PYVC – Incident report form
- PYVC – Consent to release personal information to a designated individual
Payment begins immediately after submission for those eligible.
Lived or Living Outside Canada
If a worker lived or worked both in Canada and in another country or is a survivor of someone who has, they or their survivors may be eligible for pensions and benefits from Canada and the secondary country because of a social security agreement.
A social security agreement is an international agreement between Canada and another country designed to coordinate the pension programs of the two countries.
Canada has signed social security agreements with several countries that offer comparable pension programs. Learn more about the agreements, eligibility, and the application process on this website.
Need more help?
For help and answers to questions about a specific program, be sure to contact the program's administrators using the information provided above in each section.
Eirene can help you arrange a funeral and will work with the applicable funding program once you have qualified.
We provide cremation services in Ontario and Nova Scotia with regulatory applications for other provinces pending.
To make arrangements in the provinces where we provide services, click here.
Eirene's cremation operations in PEI, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Alberta are planned for the future and are subject to regulatory approval by each province.
See also: Canadian funeral funding and financial assistance programs. You can reach us via email at email@example.com.