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How to Access Free Cremation Services for Low-Income Residents in Nevada

In Nevada, there are no statewide programs that offer free cremation for low-income residents in Nevada. State law delegates that responsibility to counties, which have programs for residents that qualify as indigent.

With an indigent cremation, the remains are typically dispersed or buried in an unmarked cemetery plot. Family members are not allowed to attend the cremation or take possession of the remains. It is considered a last resort for families lacking the financial resources to pay for low-cost cremation services.

Low-Income Vs Indigent

There is a difference between low-income and indigent.

Low-income refers to individuals or families whose income falls below a certain percentage of the federal poverty line (FPL). In 2024, the FPL is $15,060 for individuals or $31,200 for a family of four. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acknowledges that such families may struggle to afford some necessities like food, housing, or healthcare.

Indigent status is reserved for those in a state of extreme poverty, such as residents with little or no income and who may lack food and/or shelter.

Each county has its own threshold for what qualifies for assistance and whether someone is indigent or low-income and evaluates requests on a case-by-case basis.

Nevada Free Cremation for Low-Income Residents

Here are the general guidelines for the largest Nevada counties.

Clark County

Clark County, home to Las Vegas, will reimburse contracted funeral homes or crematoriums for the cremation of indigent residents who live within the county. To qualify, residents will typically need to fall under the federal poverty guidelines and not have the funds to pay for the service. The family would be required to demonstrate their financial circumstances, including proof of any income and assets.

The county requires referrals from funeral homes or crematoriums. You can not apply directly without getting a referral in Clark County.

Washoe County

Washoe County’s Human Service Agency provides payment for burial or cremation for county residents or non-Nevada residents who die within the county. Referrals can be made by funeral homes, the Public Administrator, the Coroner, relatives, or friends of the deceased. 

The county will also require proof of income and assets of the immediate family.

Lyon County

Lyon County residents should contact the Adult Services division of the county’s Human Services Agency. Each application is evaluated by a case manager who will discuss eligibility. Adult Services case managers work with individuals to help alleviate hardships, especially for low-income and financially distressed families.

Carson City/County

Carson City Human Services Division manages the indigent programs, offering one-time assistance for residents who can meet county income guidelines. According to the county’s website, Carson City is a payer of last resort. In other words, residents must exhaust any other resources before getting financial assistance.

Other Assistance Programs

If you do not qualify under these programs, there may be some other assistance available for specific cases. For example, the Veterans Administration provides some assistance for veterans under certain circumstances. There is a death benefit for those eligible through the Social Security Administration, as well.

There are also programs for victims of violent crimes, those who died in natural disasters, and families who have lost a child.

No-Cost Cremation Through Whole Body Donation

Whether you qualify for a Nevada free cremation for low-income or not, you can get a free cremation in Nevada when you make a whole body donation.

Body donations make an important contribution to the advancement of medical science and eliminate cremation costs. In Nevada, United Tissue Network (UTN) pays 100% of the expenses associated with cremation, including:

  • Removal from the place of passing
  • Safely transporting the body
  • Placement with a legitimate scientific research or education facility
  • Cremation after research has been completed
  • Return of remains to family members if requested

There is no income threshold for participation and no cost for donor families. For those suffering from financial hardship, a whole-body donation can ease the burden and provide the comfort of knowing that the passing on a loved one is helping medical researchers, scientists, and physicians study diseases and search for medical breakthroughs.

UTN is a nonprofit organization and is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB), recognized for upholding the highest ethical standards.

If you would like to learn more about whole body donation or free cremation for low-income in Nevada, contact United Tissue Network today at 877-738-6111 to talk to our Donor Service Coordinators.

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