Frequently Asked Funeral
& Burial Questions
What purpose does a funeral serve?
The funeral serves two major purposes. First, to honor and commemorate a human life lived. And second, to give the survivors of that life, help to begin the grieving process, and eventually the resolution of the death.
What do I bring to the funeral home when making arrangements?
- Deceased social security number
- Military service records
- Cemetery deeds or other paperwork
- Burial garments including underwear and shoes
- Insurance policies
- Deceased personal information: place and date of birth, parents, and survivors
- Special request that your deceased loved one might have had
What do funeral directors do?
The primary duties of a funeral director, here at Farenga Brothers and David J. Hodder & Son is to understand your family individual needs and to offer options in order to satisfy those requirements.
It all begins with the training of our staff. The Farenga’s have a rich tradition of high standards and professionalism, which has continued for five generations. The Farenga’s also have over one hundred years of experience with both local and professional association, which gives every director an advantage of knowing their profession and the needs of their community. This, of course, translates into better information and choices to you and your family.
Armed with a deeper understanding of what can assist your family, our staff can offer options that can bring better value and satisfaction in a varity of areas. Some of these areas are: coordinating funeral arrangements with religious institutions, cemeteries, florists, local and state governments, printing needs, transportation, information and choices in merchandise needs, facilitating agency and insurance benefits, just to mention a few areas.
Why have a public viewing?
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.
What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.
Does a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?
No. Most states, however, require embalming when death was caused by a reportable contagious disease or when remains are to be transported from one state to another by common carrier or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours. Our company policy, however, does require treatment of the body when we are to retain remains over a 24 hour period. We also require embalming if a family wishes to have an open casket funeral.
Funeral Cost Questions
Why are funerals so expensive?
When compared to other major life cycle events, like births and weddings, funerals are not expensive. A wedding may cost at least three times as much; but because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized. A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Contrary to popular belief, funeral homes are largely.
What to do if a Death Occurs
What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
Always phone the funeral home, day or night. One phone call brings over one hundred years of advise immediately. We will instruct you
what to do and how to avoid unnecessary steps and pressures. Where can I find more information about what to do when a death occurs, as well as veterans and social security benefits?
Our funeral arrangement information packet will automatically include vital information for both social security and veteran benefits. All you need do is stop by one of our offices, and we will be happy to give you this information, as well as answer any of your questions.
Social Security Benefits
Who may receive monthly benefits?
- A widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled), or at any age if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled.
- A divorced widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled) if the marriage lasted 10 years, or if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled.
- Unmarried children up to 18 (19 if they are attending a primary or secondary school full lime).
- Children who were disabled before reaching 22, as long as they remained disabled.
- Dependent parent or parents 62 or older.
What is the lump-sum death payment?
A one time payment of $255 is paid in addition to the monthly cash benefits described above. The lump-sum death payment (LSDP) is paid in the following priority order:
- A surviving spouse who lived in the same household as the deceased person at the time of death.
- A surviving spouse eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death.
- A child or children eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death.
How may I apply for benefits?
You must apply in order to receive benefits. You may apply at any Social Security office or, if you wish, you may apply by telephone. Just dial the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 and the operator will schedule an appointment for you or arrange for the local Social Security office to take your claim by telephone. As part of our services, Farenga Bros. / David J. Hodder & Son funeral homes will, as a matter of procedure, include a “Statement of Death by the Funeral Director” ( a social security form) with every final statement.
Which burial expenses will be reimbursed by VA?
VA will pay a burial allowance up to $1,500 if the veteran’s death is service connected. VA also will pay the cost of transporting the remains of a service-disabled veteran to the national cemetery nearest the home of a deceased that has available gravesites. In such cases, the person who bore the veteran’s burial expenses may claim reimbursement from VA. VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral expense allowance for veterans who, at time of death, were entitled to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled to compensation but for receipt of military retirement pay. Eligibility also is established when death occurs in a VA facility or a nursing home with which VA contracted. Additional costs of transportation of the remains may be reimbursed. There is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims of service-connected deaths. In other deaths, claims must be filed within two years after permanent burial or cremation.
VA will pay a $150 plot allowance when the veteran is not buried in a cemetery that is under U.S. Government jurisdiction if the veteran is discharged from active duty because of disability incurred or aggravated in line of duty, if the veteran was in receipt of compensation or pension or would have been in receipt of compensation but for receipt of military retired pay, or if the veteran died while hospitalized by VA. The plot allowance is not payable solely on wartime service.
If the veteran is buried without charge for the cost of a plot or interment in a state-owned cemetery reserved solely for veteran burials, the $150 plot allowance may be paid to the state. Burial expenses paid by the deceased’s employer or a state agency will not be reimbursed.
Again, Farenga Bros. / David J. Hodder & Son Funeral Homes will be pleased to assist you in securing these benefits.