Part of Death

Funeral benefits

Funeral benefits may be available to help pay for funeral arrangements for eligible Albertans.

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Overview

Funeral benefits are available to help eligible low-income Albertans when other programs or sources of funding to cover funeral costs are not enough. Funeral benefits help cover the costs of a funeral service and burial or cremation for eligible Albertans.

These benefits can also help cover the cost to transport remains to another province or territory within Canada.

Eligibility

Deceased Albertans who were receiving benefits through the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) and Income Support programs are eligible for funerals benefits if they meet the program’s eligibility criteria.

Albertans with low income may also be eligible if they meet the criteria listed below.

  • General eligibility for funeral benefits

    The deceased may be eligible if they are:

    • a member of an AISH or Income Support household, or an Alberta resident with low income
    • a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, sponsored immigrant, refugee or refugee claimant
    • not eligible to receive a similar benefit from any other program or source

    If the deceased was not receiving AISH or Income Support at the time of their death, the following information is assessed to determine financial eligibility:

    • income – for example, employment earnings, Old Age Security, other pension income
    • assets – for example, money in a bank account, stocks, a rental property
    • Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit
    • a life insurance payout to the estate of the deceased individual or a responsible survivor
    • a prepaid funeral where arrangements have been made and paid for prior to the individual passing away

    The income and assets of responsible survivors are also considered during the application process. A responsible survivor includes:

    • a spouse or partner
    • a legal sponsor for immigration
    • a parent in the case of a deceased dependent child

    If the deceased had any dependent children at the time of their death, this can also affect both eligibility and maximum payment amounts. Specific amounts will be determined after the application is submitted and reviewed by program staff.

    For more information, see Funeral Benefits for Low Income Albertans policy.

  • AISH and Income Support recipients

    The AISH and Income Support programs have already collected and verified some information for their clients.

    We are able to use that information to make it shorter and easier to apply for funeral benefits.

  • Other funding sources that impacts eligibility

    You must apply for other benefits the deceased may be eligible for before applying for funeral benefits through the Government of Alberta. If the deceased is eligible for funeral benefits coverage through another program or source, they may not be eligible for funeral benefits through the Government of Alberta.

    Examples of other programs or sources that may help cover funeral expenses:

  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP) death benefit

    Eligible individuals receive a CPP death benefit of $2,500 from the federal government. For applications for a deceased Income Support client or a low income Albertan, the CPP death benefit must be signed over to the Alberta government.

    If the CPP death benefit was applied for prior to applying for funeral benefits, the maximum funeral benefit amount provided will be reduced by the value of the CPP death benefit ($2,500).

    If the CPP death benefit application is denied, proof of denial may be submitted to the Health and Funeral Benefits Unit to receive any funeral benefit amount the applicant is eligible for.

    If the CPP death benefit is signed over to the Alberta government and the value of the funeral benefit issued was less than $2,500, only the value of the funeral benefit will be collected from CPP. The applicant may request the remaining amount by completing an Application for a Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit (ISP1200) through Employment and Social Development Canada.

    The CPP death benefit is not used to cover expenses for deceased AISH clients and a personal representative or next of kin may apply for it on behalf of the deceased client.

    Read more about Government of Canada’s CPP death benefit

Reimbursements

If you have already paid for funeral benefits for a deceased loved one, you may be eligible for a reimbursement, if eligibility criteria are met. The standard application process is used to apply for a reimbursement. See How to apply below. 

For deceased AISH clients 

If an invoice was paid in full prior to the application being submitted, AISH may provide reimbursement if the request is received within 6 months of when the expense was incurred, if eligibility criteria would have been met at the time of payment. 

For deceased Income Support clients and low income Albertans

If there was an emergency situation requiring the expense be paid immediately, and all other eligibility criteria were met at the time of payment, and the funeral services were paid for within the last 6 months, you may be eligible for reimbursement.

What is covered

Effective January 1, 2024, the following rates apply for funeral benefits for burial or cremation within Alberta:

Funeral BenefitRate
Funeral expenses for burial or cremationActual cost up to $4,421
Funeral ceremonyActual cost up to $1,000
Embalming – Embalming is provided when deemed necessary by an embalmer licensed under section 20 of the General Regulation to the Funeral Services ActActual cost up to $750
Additional transportation (within Alberta) – A transportation rate is provided, after 20 kilometres outside of the funeral service provider’s municipality, for required transportation and attendant servicesActual cost up to $1.13 per kilometre
Cemetery – Cemetery fees are provided for a single cemetery plot or alternate resting place, perpetual fees, grave opening and closing fees plus winter fees (if applicable) and a grave liner, if required by the cemeteryActual cost for cemetery fees. Note: a maximum of $3,000 is provided for the placement of remains in an alternate resting place within a cemetery, including a single columbarium niche or mausoleum crypt

Important

If you are approved for a funeral benefit from the AISH or Income Support programs, including those who are approved as a low income Albertan who was not receiving benefits from these programs when they passed away, you can get a cemetery burial plot for half (50%) of the regular cost. This requirement is outlined in the Cemeteries Act (section 12).  

Alternatively, a benefit to transport the deceased individual to another province or territory (within Canada) for burial or cremation may be provided at the actual reasonable cost. This benefit only covers transportation costs and does not cover any funeral expenses for burial or cremation in the province or territory the deceased individual is transported to.

Additional funds may continue to be provided for exceptional circumstances such as health and safety related expenses, oversized caskets, and extended safe sheltering of remains. 

Exception requests for an amount above the maximums identified above will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Applicants need to determine if they will request an exceptional amount, based on their circumstances.

These exceptions may be requested when applying (if all the required documents are available) or after you have been approved and arrangements are being finalized.

Required documents

You must provide documents as part of the application.

  • Required documents for all applications

    If you are applying for funeral benefits, you will be required to include:

    • proof of identity of the applicant
    • a funeral director’s statement of death or official death certificate
    • quotes or invoices of all expenses related to the funeral benefits you requested

    Missing information may cause delays in processing and payment.

  • Documents for AISH and Income Support recipients

    To speed up processing times, provide the deceased's:

    • AISH or Income Support file number
    • Social Insurance Number (SIN) or
    • Personal Identity Number (PID), as found on AISH or Income Support program documents
  • Required documents for other applications

    If the deceased was not receiving AISH or Income Support, you need to provide:

    • proof of identity
    • proof of Alberta residency (address)
    • proof of Canadian citizenship or immigration status
    • bank statements for the deceased that show at least 30 days before death as proof of income sources, amount of income and the value of liquid assets

    Ensure you include supporting documents if the deceased had any of the following:

    • proof of denial from another programs or sources of funeral benefits
    • a life insurance policy
    • a pre-paid funeral

    Proof of identity and proof of Alberta residency, or address, may be the same document, for example, a driver's licence.

    If the deceased's identity and address are NOT on the same document, provide one document to prove each, for example, an Alberta ID card and a utility bill with an address, matching the name of the deceased.

  • Required documents for responsible survivors

    A responsible survivor of the deceased includes:

    • a spouse or partner
    • parents, if the deceased was a dependent child
    • a legal sponsor

    If there is a responsible survivor, the application must include verification of their identity. 

    A bank statement, showing information from at least 30 days before the deceased’s passing, must also be included to verify income and liquid assets for each responsible survivor.

Who can apply

The person applying for funeral benefits should be the person who is able to make final arrangements for the deceased.

The applicant does not have to be:

  • a spouse or partner
  • legal sponsor
  • parents of a deceased dependent child

However, the applicant will need to coordinate with any of the people listed above to gather the required information to complete the application.

  • Who has priority to apply

    The applicant should be the person with the highest priority, which is based on their relationship with the deceased individual, as set out in section 36 of the General Regulation to the Funeral Services Act. If the person who has the right to make arrangements is not available, or is unwilling, the right passes to the next person as listed below:

    • the personal representative named in the will of the deceased
    • the spouse or adult interdependent partner of the deceased, if they were living with the deceased at the time of death*
    • an adult child of the deceased
    • a parent of the deceased
    • a legal guardian of the deceased – for both adults and minors
    • an adult grandchild of the deceased
    • an adult brother or sister of the deceased
    • an adult nephew or niece of the deceased
    • an adult next of kin of the deceased
    • the Public Trustee
    • an adult person having some relationship with the deceased not based on blood ties or affinity
    • the Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services

    * In some situations, the spouse or adult interdependent partner may not have been living with the individual who passed away, for example, a person was in a care facility due to health reasons.

How to apply

Apply online for funeral benefits

  • Step 1. Gather your documents

    Gather all the documents and supporting paperwork before completing your application.

    This will make the process faster and reduce the time needed for follow-up questions.

  • Step 2. Decide on type of service and provider

    Make the decision on what type of funeral service and ceremony you want to have:

    • cremation (keep the remains)
    • cremation (with burial or interment)
    • burial
    • transport the remains to another province or territory within Canada

    Albertans are free to choose the funeral service provider and the type of service that best meets their needs, and the wishes of the deceased individual.

    See the list of licensed funeral service providers at Alberta Funeral Services Regulatory Board’s (AFSRB) public directory.

  • Get help

    Get help

    If you need help filling out the application form, ask:

    • your chosen funeral service provider
    • a family member or friend
    • a community or other service provider
    • or contact ministry staff

Forms and resources

The following include application forms and user guides in PDF format for each client group.

PDF form issues

Fillable PDF forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save the form:

  1. Save the PDF form to your computer – click or right-click the link and download the form.
  2. Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader. Fill it in and save it.

If you are still having problems opening the form, contact PDF form technical support.

After you apply

Funeral benefits program staff will review your application. This usually takes between 24 and 72 business hours (1 to 3 business days).

A staff member may reach out by email, phone or letter to clarify information and will work with you to collect all the information required to make a decision. Once a decision is made, a staff member will send a letter, first by email, and then again by mail, with the approval or denial details.

If approved, the letter will explain:

  • the maximum amount you are entitled to for the goods and services requested
  • who to contact with questions

If denied, the letter will explain:

  • the reason you were denied
  • who to contact with questions
  • how to provide additional information, if necessary
  • your options, including the right to appeal the decision

Payment

Once approved, a payment will be issued. In most situations, the approved payment is forwarded directly to the funeral service provider and cemetery, if applicable.

If you are responsible survivor of the deceased (includes the spouse or partner of the deceased, or a parent of a deceased dependent child), you can choose to have the payments sent directly to you. Note, by choosing this option, you agree to pay all service providers yourself.

Appeal a decision

If you were denied benefits or the full amount requested, you may appeal the decision. Details are provided in your email or letter of denial.

If you have any questions, or need clarification, contact us.

Contact

Connect with the Health and Funeral Benefits Unit if you have questions:

Office hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-638-4443 (Edmonton)
Toll-free: 1-855-638-4443
Email: [email protected]

Fax

To: Health and Funeral Benefits Unit
Subject line: Funeral Benefits Application
Fax: 780-643-9228 (Edmonton)
Toll-free fax: 1-855-643-9228

Mail

Health and Funeral Benefits Unit
Seniors, Community and Social Services
Government of Alberta
PO Box 805 Stn Main
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 2L4

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