UTN is a Nonprofit 501(c)(3)

Direct Cremation Resources for Low Income in Florida: A Comprehensive Guide

If you are searching for “direct cremation services near me,” this guide will detail the options for low-income families, those looking for affordable end-of-life solutions, or families that want a simple, streamlined process for their loved ones.

This guide will explain how a basic cremation works, the average cost, and how to find low-cost or no-cost direct cremation services.

What Is the Least Expensive Way to Be Cremated?

In Florida, direct cremation is the least expensive way to be cremated. This eliminates the cost of services such as embalming, preparation of the body, funeral service, burial plot, and grave marker.

How Much Does the Most Basic Cremation Cost?

Direct cremation is the most basic form of cremation. Bodies are sent directly to a crematorium shortly after death, without a viewing or funeral service. Cremation happens within a few days.

The average cost for a Florida direct cremation is about $2,600, although you may be able to find a low-cost direct cremation for as low as $800. In comparison, a traditional funeral and burial now averages more than $8,000.

The total expense of cremation can be affected by several factors, including geography. The cost of cremation is generally higher in urban than rural areas because of higher overhead and demand.  Different providers may also offer varying pricing structures. For example, it may be less costly for a funeral home to handle cremations if it operates its own crematorium.

According to US Funeral Online, the least expensive low-cost direct cremations in different areas across Florida are:

CityAverage direct
cremation cost
direct cremation
Cape Coral$1,474$1,095
Fort Lauderdale$1,855$795
Port St. Lucie$1,565$1,095
St. Petersburg$1,723$1,095

Additional Fees for Direct Cremations

While direct cremation is a low-cost, no-frills option, the family may want to include additional services, which can add to the cost. For example, the family might opt for an obituary, memorial ceremony, cremation urn, or burial of the remains.

There may also be administrative fees, such as certified copies of the death certificate. Death certificates are available through the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Vital Statistics. Funeral homes and crematoriums may also get them for you for a fee.

Florida Laws Governing Direct Cremations

There are a few state and federal laws that govern direct cremations as well as local ordinances. You can check with your cremation provider to help you understand any specific local requirements.

The Funeral Rule

The federal Funeral Rule applies to anyone providing funeral services and has specific requirements for cremation and funeral services providers:

  • Consumers have the right to buy only the funeral arrangements they want. They do not need to accept a package price that includes options they do not want.
  • Providers must give you a General Price List (GPL) of all the items and services offered, including the price of each one. This itemized list is available by all providers in writing and pricing information must be provided over the phone if requested without sharing personal information. Some providers post their price list online, but they are not required to do so.
  • Provide a written good faith estimate of costs after you make your decision and before you pay, along with the price for each item.
  • Disclosure of any additional requirements for legal, crematorium, or cemetery requirements that would add to the fees being charged.
  • You are not required to choose a casket or urn. Direct cremations can be done in simple boxes and remains returned in alternative containers. You can also choose to purchase an urn or container elsewhere. You do not have to limit yourself to the provider’s selections.
  • You do not have to have embalming services, although they are likely necessary if you plan to have a public viewing of the body at a funeral home. While there is no law mandating embalming, most funeral homes will require this when preparing the body for viewing.

State and Local Rules

While these rules may vary by location, here are some of the general regulations you should know about.

Before Cremation

Before a body can be cremated, the closest living next of kin must provide written authorization and approval for the cremation. Alternatively, the deceased can sign an authorization prior to death.

The county’s medical examiner generally has to sign off on cremation to ensure there is no sign of foul play or that the body is part of an investigation. There may be fees for permits or transit as well. You will need to obtain certified copies of death certificates. These may be available through your provider or from the state for minimal cost.

After Cremation

With a direct cremation, remains will be returned in a simple container. You may choose to buy a memorial urn, but you are not required to do so.

You may choose to keep the remains, bury them in a cemetery or mausoleum, divide them among family members, or scatter them. Florida laws do not regulate where remains can be dispersed because the cremation process makes it so the ashes do not pose a health risk. However, there may be restrictions on certain areas, such as public lands.

Other options include:

  • Private property you own
  • Scattering gardens at cemeteries and memorial parks
  • Some public state and federal lands—check first as you may need a permit
  • At sea—The EPA’s Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) provides a general permit and you must be at least three nautical miles from shore.
  • Environmental regulations also govern the burial or scattering of remains in bodies of fresh or saltwater.

Florida Direct Cremation Resource Guide

We have put together this resource guide for Florida families looking for financial assistance to help offset costs when a loved one dies. There are various programs available, depending on your circumstances, from federal, state, county, and nonprofit organizations.

Federal Assistance for Florida Direct Cremation

The following federal agencies and organizations can help. While they do not offer free cremation for low income in Florida, they offer various levels of support:

State and County Assistance for Florida Direct Cremation

Who pays for cremation if no money is available in Florida? There are limited options. The state requires counties to provide free cremation or burials for indigent families. However, families must meet strict guidelines and provide proof of financial hardship.

You can find each county’s health department online here.

Eligibility will vary by county depending on where families are located. Here is a sample of requirements in some counties.

Broward County

In Broward County, family income must not exceed 100% of the federal poverty guideline. Families must provide income verification for the prior three months, such as W-2 forms, check stubs, or income tax statements along with other financial records and documents. If families wish to take possession of the remains after cremation, there are fees ranging from $150 or more.

St. Lucie County

In St. Lucie County, the deceased must not have assets of more than $750 at the time of death. If the person was married, marital assets must also meet this threshold. For children, the parent’s assets are considered. Families will also need to provide financial proof.

Miami-Dade County

Cremation fees in Miami-Dade County can be lowered to $115 if the family shows proof of receiving current government assistance, such as food stamps, Medicaid, or supplemental Social Security Income. Families must also not exceed the current federal guidelines for poverty, based on household size.

There is a state-sponsored fund for cremation or burial for victims of violent crime. You can find out more about this program through the state Attorney General’s Office, Division of Victim Services and Criminal Justice Programs.

Religious and Charitable Organization Assistance

Many religious organizations and nonprofits offer financial assistance for low-income families to help with the costs of Florida direct cremation. You may want to contact your county health office or the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA). The FCA does not provide financial support, but they do offer advice and can direct you to organizations that may be able to help.

  • In Broward, Miami-Dade, Indian River, Martin, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie counties, contact the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Southeast Florida at (954) 429-0280.
  • In Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough Pinellas, Pasco, or Hernando counties, contact the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Suncoast Florida at (941) 953-3740.

Local United Way offices may provide referrals.

Funeral Homes

Some funeral homes offer direct cremation services for low-income families. These are often offered at reduced rates.

Free Cremation for Low Income in Florida

Besides the indigent programs available at the county level, another way to get a free cremation in Florida is through United Tissue Network (UTN). UTN provides no-cost cremation for families making whole body donations available for medical and scientific research. UTN pays for transportation and storage of the deceased’s body, as well as covering cremation costs after research has been completed. UTN places donations with accredited research and medical facilities.

In addition to no-cost cremations, families can take comfort in knowing that their loved one’s donation plays a role in advancing medical science, training future physicians and surgeons, and helping in the study of diseases, medicines, and medical devices.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency, United Tissue Network meets and exceeds the ethical standards set by the American Association of Tissue Banks, which accredits us. UTN works exclusively with legitimate research and education programs.

Contact one of UTN’s compassionate Donor Specialists 24/7 to discuss whole body donation options and answer your questions. Call 877-738-6111.

Frequently Asked Questions — FAQs

What is the difference between a pure cremation and a direct cremation?

The terms pure cremation and direct cremation refer to the same thing. They are a way to describe the simple process of cremating the body shortly after death, without a public viewing or memorial service. There is no preparation of the body, such as embalming or cosmetics. It is transported to the crematorium, with remains returned to the family.

Is there free cremation in Florida?

For indigent families that experience financial hardship, counties will work with a local funeral home or crematorium to dispose of the body. Families will have to disclose their financial information and meet strict guidelines.

The only other free cremation in Florida is through a whole body donation program, such as the one offered by United Tissue Network. UTN pays the fees for direct cremation and return of the remains (if requested) after medical research is complete.

Do you get ashes from direct cremation?

If you are paying for direct cremation, you can get the remains returned to you. If you are using the state’s indigent family program due to financial hardship, the remains will be disposed of or buried by the county where you live.

If you would like to know more about no-cost cremations with whole body donations in Florida, contact United Tissue Network today at (877) 738-6111.

Ready to register a loved one?

Click the link below to get started:

Register someone who is passing/passed