For those who die without sufficient resources for cremation or burial, limited options are available. Under Washington State law, the next of kin is liable for the cost if the deceased left no funds for funeral arrangements. Veterans may qualify for various benefits that are detailed in the Veterans section of this website.
In 1993, Washington State transferred the responsibility for the disposition of unclaimed indigent remains to that of individual counties. Hence, program requirements and benefits vary significantly between counties but generally only provide for cremation, not burial, and many counties lack funds to cover the full costs for those who qualify. For information regarding indigent cremation programs, in King County call: 206-732-3232, Snohomish County: 425-438-6200 and Pierce County: 253-798-6494. Here are the websites of coroners and medical examiners statewide.
Given these circumstances, People's Memorial created the Indigent Cremation Fund from the proceeds of donated cemetery lots for qualified individuals. This program is only available to the extent that PMA has funds on hand. To qualify, the funeral arrangements must be handled through a funeral home that is contracted with People's Memorial Association. Read more about the Indigent Cremation Fund Guidelines.