Funeral benefits are available to help eligible low-income Albertans when all other programs or sources of funding to cover funeral costs are not enough. Funeral benefits help cover the costs of a funeral service, burial or cremation for eligible Albertans.
These benefits can also help cover the cost to transport remains to another province or territory.
Deceased Albertans who were receiving benefits through the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) and Income Support programs are eligible for funerals benefits
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
- 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 used to determine financial eligibility:
- income – for example, employment earnings
- Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan, or other pension income
- a life insurance payout
The income and assets of responsible survivors are also considered during the application process:
- a spouse or partner
- a legal sponsor for immigration
- a parent in the case of a deceased minor
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 an assessor.
For more information, see Funeral benefits for low income Albertans.
AISH and Income Support recipients
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 make sure the deceased is not eligible for other benefits before applying for the Government of Alberta’s funeral benefits. If the deceased is eligible for these or other funding resources, they may not be eligible for funeral benefits though the Government of Alberta.
Other sources or programs that can help cover funeral expenses:
- Workers Compensation Board if the death was a result of a workplace injury
- Victims of Crime Assistance Program, if the deceased is eligible under the Victims of Crime Act and Public Safety Act
- motor vehicle accident victim benefits for funeral expenses, if the deceased is eligible under the Automobile Accident Insurance Benefits Regulation
- Last Post Fund, if the deceased was a Canadian Forces veteran
- a child in care under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, may be eligible for funeral benefits under that act
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, 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, and any eligible funeral benefit amount will be issued.
If the CPP death benefit is signed over to us and the value of the funeral benefit issued was less than $2,500, we will only collect the value of the funeral benefit 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.
For more information, see: Government of Canada’s CPP death benefit
What is covered
The costs of burial or cremation within Alberta or transportation within Canada up to:
- $4,240 for cremation and funeral services, when the remains are not being placed in a cemetery
- $6,360 for cremation or burial and funeral services, when the remains are being placed in a cemetery
Potential expenses that may be included:
- basic administrative services from funeral service providers
- a ceremonial farewell
- embalming and other preparations
- cremation and burial costs, including:
- a casket or urn
- a cemetery plot or cremation internment
- cemetery care and maintenance fees
- grave opening and closing fees (required for burials)
- a grave liner (required for casket burials)
- transportation costs
- transportation to another province or territory for burial or cremation
- Funeral benefits will cover the costs of preparing the remains prior to shipping and the reasonable costs of transportation by road and by air-freight to another province or territory within Canada.
- Applicants will be expected to provide cost estimates and invoices.
Exceptional costs will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Applicants will need to explain and provide evidence of the need to exceed the maximum benefit amount.
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.
You must provide documents as part of the application
Required documents for all applications
If you are applying for any funeral benefits, you will be required to include:
- proof of identity of the applicant
- funeral director’s Statement of Death or Official Death Certificate
- invoices and receipts of funeral services, burial or cremation expenses
Missing information may cause delays in processing.
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 your 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 the income source, amount of income and value of liquid assets
Ensure you include supporting documents, if the deceased had any of:
- a life insurance policy
- a pre-paid funeral
- proof of denial from another programs or sources of funeral benefits
Proof of identity and residency or address may be the same document, such as a driver's licence.
If identity and address are NOT on the same document, you will have to upload 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 the survivors
If the deceased is survived by:
- a spouse or partner
- a legal sponsor
- parents, if the deceased was a deceased minor
Include bank statements that show at least 30 days before the deceased’s passing to verify income and liquid assets for each 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 minor
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, as set out in Section 36 of the Funeral Services General Regulation, which is based on their relationship with the deceased individual. 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
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 internment)
- transport the remains to another province or territory in 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.
See the list of licensed funeral service providers: Alberta Funeral Services Regulatory Board’s (AFSRB) public directory.
Step 3. Apply online
When you apply online, include all the required information and documents. You will find helpful tips and information throughout the form.
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
You will be asked to create an account, so you can pause, save, and continue your application. You will also get updates throughout the process.
Application forms in PDF format are also available on the application site after the pre-screening steps.
Forms and resources
Application forms in PDF format are also available on the application website.
AISH funeral benefits
When the deceased individual was receiving AISH, or was the spouse or partner or dependent child of an individual receiving AISH at the time of death:
Income Support funeral benefits
When the deceased individual was a member of a household receiving Income Support at the time of death:
Albertan with low income funeral benefits
Related funeral benefit forms
These forms can be completed with a funeral benefits application or after an approval letter has been received.
Funeral Benefits: Payment Direction (PDF, 218 KB) – Required information for the payment of a funeral benefit, including payee information and required documentation.
Funeral Benefits: Request for an Exceptional Amount (PDF, 231 KB) – Used to request funds in excess of the maximum funeral benefit rates, in extraordinary circumstances.
Service provider resources
Service providers who assist Albertans with funeral arrangements, see:
PDF form issues
Fillable PDF forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save the form:
- Save the PDF form to your computer – click or right-click the link and download the form.
- 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 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 an email with the approval or denial details.
If approved, you will receive an email, or letter if you choose paper correspondence, with:
- the maximum amount you are entitled to for the services requested
- how to submit the quotes and invoices and death certificate for payment, if you have not already provided these with your application
- who to contact with questions
If denied, you will receive an email, or letter if you choose paper correspondence, explaining:
- the reason
- who to contact with questions
- how to provide additional information, if necessary
- your options, including the ability to appeal the decision
Once approved, a payment will be issued. In most situations, the approved payment is forwarded directly to the funeral service provider.
If you are a spouse or cohabiting partner of the deceased or a parent of a deceased minor you can chose to have the payments sent directly to you. By choosing this option, you agree to make payments to all service providers themselves.
If there was an emergency death situation and you were required to pay for funeral services, you may be eligible for reimbursement.
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 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 apply for reimbursement.
How to apply for emergency reimbursement
Use the online application and select ‘Requesting reimbursement’. Provide all the details, all invoices, receipts of services and expenses.
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 want clarification, contact us.
Connect with the Health and Funeral Benefits Unit if you have questions:
Email: [email protected] subject line: Funeral Benefits Application
To: Health and Funeral Benefits Unit
Subject line: Funeral Benefits Application
Toll-free fax: 1-855-643-9228
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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