Funerals can be expensive, and some families struggle to pay for their loved one's final arrangements. Fortunately, financial assistance programs can help cover a portion or all the costs for Saskatchewan residents. Learn more about federal and provincial programs available to families in the province. They are outlined below and include contact information or links to reach each program administrator.
Saskatchewan Income Support (SIS) is a program that provides financial assistance to individuals and families who cannot meet their living costs due to low income or unemployment. The program offers a variety of benefits, including a benefit to help support the costs of a funeral.
The amount available to residents is not listed on the Saskatchewan provincial website. Still, according to an SIS policy manual from January 2020,$2,100 is given for basic funeral expenses (e.g., body preparation, casket, urn, etc.). Funds are also provided for additional funeral expenses such as embalming, transportation, cremation, etc. Some services have limits to what will be covered. More information can be found in the manual.
An individual may be eligible to apply for SIS if:
Eligible applicants can apply online by creating a Saskatchewan account. Residents can also apply by calling Social Services at 1-866-221-5200 or TTY: 1-866-995-0099 or visit the nearest Social Services office from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If an employee dies due to a work-related incident, legal spouses and dependents may be eligible for benefits offered by the Saskatchewan Worker's Compensation Board (WCB). These include spousal and dependent children benefits described in Sections 80 to 94 of The Workers' Compensation Act, 2013.
The WCB may also assist with burial expenses and counselling support for families.
If the death is determined to be the result of a work-related injury, WCB will:
Depending on the situation, WCB may offer counselling support by:
Assistance for these benefits must be approved in advance by the customer care facilitator working on the claim. Case managers will let families know which benefits are available. Learn more by contacting a customer care facilitator or calling 1-800-667-7590.
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Saskatchewan Government Insurance offers benefits to surviving spouses and dependent children of a customer who is fatally injured because of a vehicle accident.
Benefits offered include:
To apply for death benefits, families must complete the Application for Death Benefits form with relevant source documents outlined on the Death Benefit Checklist section in the SGI Injury Manual. A Personal Injury Representative will also help guide families through the process.
The Compensation for Victims of Crime program offers compensation for reasonable expenses resulting from criminal actions of violence, such as physical or sexual assault, murder, robbery, and kidnapping. Victims can also apply for Restitutions for Victims of Crime for additional coverage.
Compensation may be awarded for funeral expenses to a maximum of $5,000 (if not covered by other programs). Different types of compensation include certain medical costs, counselling, loss of income, or damage to or loss of clothing because of the crime.
Individuals may be eligible if:
A pension plan is a benefit that provides a source of income to workers after retirement. Survivor benefits may be included in pension plans. These benefits are given to the worker's spouse and/or dependents after the worker dies. A portion of the funds can be used to help cover the cost of funeral arrangements.
Below are some Pension Plans available to eligible Saskatchewan residents. Survivor options are outlined in each plan:
Body Donation in Saskatchewan
Body donation is an alternative option for those that cannot afford funeral services. In Saskatchewan, this is available through the Body Bequeathal Program administered by the Department of Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology in the University of Saskatchewan's College of Medicine.
To sign up for the program, applicants must do the following:
Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology
GA20-107 Wiggins Rd Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E5
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The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Death Benefit is a federal program that provides survivors with financial support after a family member has died.
CPP has three types of financial support payments available to families:
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. This article discusses the application process: How the Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit Can Help Fund a Funeral or the Government of Canada website.
The Income Assistance program provides funds to individuals living on reserve in Canada.
The program provides funds for basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter; and special needs, including goods and services essential to physical and social well-being.
Eligible applicants can also include funeral and burial costs. They may receive up to $3,500 and no more than $6,000 to repatriate (when applicable) the remains by rail, air, or vehicle transport.
To be eligible for the program, a client must demonstrate:
The application process varies depending on location. Learn more by contacting the local community's band office.
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 program extends to:
If the individual meets the criteria, eligibility will be established through financial means testing. This determines 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:
Apply for the Last Post Fund benefit online or by phone at 1-800-465-7113. An LPF counsellor will respond to applications.
A Memorial Grant Program for First Responders is a benefit offered to the families of first responders who have died due to their duties. This includes firefighters, paramedics, police officers, probation officers, correctional workers, and parole and probation officers in Saskatchewan and other parts of 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.
Information about the Memorial Grant Program can be found on this website.
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The Allowance for the Survivor is a monthly payment for eligible Canadians who have lost their spouse. This program is available to people who:
To apply for this benefit, complete the steps outlined in the "Your application" section on the Allowance for the Survivor web page.
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 other country because of a social security agreement.
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.
This benefit is offered to parents or guardians who have lost a child to crime-related circumstances. The death or disappearance of a child often causes parents to miss work or lose income when coping with the loss. The benefit provides grieving parents with weekly income support.
Eligible parents receive payments of $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 a later date at any time within the two years.
Apply using the online application or by mail using the following forms:
Payment begins immediately after submission for those eligible.
Eirene can help you arrange a funeral and will work with the applicable funding program. To make arrangements click here. For information about our service areas please visit our locations page.
See also: Canadian funeral funding and financial assistance programs. You can reach us via email at email@example.com.