The Indigent Burial Program provides dignified professional burial services as a last resort for any deceased person declared indigent or unclaimed, resident or non-resident, if the death occurred within Escambia County. This is a cremation only program. However, burials may permitted if the deceased qualifies as a veteran of the Armed Forces or the medical examiners’ office or the sheriff’s department requires or requests the remains to be buried. Application for services must be requested by the legal next-of-kin of the deceased.
Indigent Burial FAQs
1. What is the Indigent Burial/Cremation Program?
The program was designed to provide payment of the expenses incurred for the disposition of the deceased pursuant to Chapter 406, Florida Statues. Any deceased person declared as unclaimed and/or indigent, resident or non-resident is eligible for County cremation or burial if the death occurred within Escambia County, Florida. (NOTE: The county does not pay for shipment of the deceased to or from another county or state for burial or cremation.)
2. When is a deceased individual considered unclaimed?
If no legally authorized individual or other interested persons are found to claim the deceased or if they are unwilling to claim the deceased and to pay for the expense of the disposition of the deceased, the process for the disposition of the deceased will proceed at the expense of the county.
3. How is the deceased determined eligible for the program?
An investigation will be made to determine if the deceased had sufficient income or assets to assume responsibility for disposition. The county will use the poverty threshold of 100 percent of the poverty income guidelines as established and published annually in the Federal Register. The county will use documentation and information from the deceased records, the funeral establishment, the Department of Children & Families, the Office of Veteran Services, Social Security Administration, family, friends and other service agencies as may be appropriate in determining the financial status of the deceased.
4. What happens if the deceased is a Veteran?
If it is documented that the deceased was Honorably Discharged from the Armed Forces, burial in Barrancas National Cemetery may be authorized. The authorized funeral establishment shall make arrangements for such burial services.
5. What happens if the deceased is a resident of Escambia County and expires in another county or state?
To be considered for this program, death must occur within Escambia County. The deceased is ineligible for services, even if transported back into the county. Escambia County does not pay for transporting the deceased into or out of Escambia County.
6. Will the program provide for a supplement to assist with private burial/cremation expenses?
No, this program does not provide any supplement paid for cost incurred for private burial/cremation services.
7. Does this program provide for funeral, memorial or graveside services?
No, this program provides cremation only, with the exception if the deceased was Honorably Discharged from the Armed Forces and may be buried at the local national cemetery. A brief committal service is provided by the Patriot Guard at the grave site.
8. Can the deceased be transported to any local funeral home?
No, the program has agreements with specific local funeral homes to provide this service to those who expire within Escambia County. The assignment of a funeral home is determined by the date of death. If the deceased is transported to a funeral home not affiliated with this program, and is determined eligible for services, the decreased will be transferred to the funeral home that was on rotation based on the date of death.
9. What happens if the deceased does not qualify for services?
If it is determined that the deceased does not meet criteria, the legal next-of-kin will be responsible for making alternate arrangements to pay for any expenses incurred during the eligibility process.
10. If the deceased is eligible for program services, how much will the legal next-of-kin have to pay?
If the deceased is determined eligible for program services, there is no cost to the family.