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Indigent Burial

Indigent Burial The Indigent Burial Program   assists in determining the proper final arrangements for decedents when there is lack of family involvement and/or income and resources are limited. Our staff members work with family and friends to determine eligibility and arrange the most appropriate disposition for the decedent. Valley contracted funeral homes participate in a rotation system coordinated by the Medical Examiner’s office. This system helps to ensure that a dignified and orderly process is followed. Members of Maricopa County Facilities Management and the Sheriff’s Office provide logistical services for proper interment. Arrangements may also be made with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona to inter indigent Veterans.

Program Eligibility

Eligibility for the Indigent Burial Program is NOT automatic. NO other Public-Assistance Program can pre-qualify a decedent or family. Eligibility is based on income and assets of both the decedent and next of kin and must meet poverty guidelines. The Decedent and the next of kin must both qualify.*

  • HHS Federal Poverty Guidelines are used in determining eligibility.
  • Maricopa County does not provide supplemental assistance for funeral services.

Services Provided

The Decedents family cannot choose a mortuary. The mortuary is assigned on a rotation basis by the Medical Examiner's Office. A rotation call does NOT imply an approved Public Fiduciary Case. The county will not consider requests for services after they have already taken place. Maricopa County will not assist if decedent is moved to/from another county of state.

Maricopa County provides assistance with disposition arrangements to families that qualify. Services for approved cases will be provided by an assigned county-contracted vendor. Notification of mortuary will be given upon approval by a caseworker. There are no provisions for viewing the decedent and no other additional services can be added or supplemented.

Qualified Veterans are buried at the Veteran's Administration National Memorial Cemetery in Arizona.

  • Direct cremation, direct burial provided in some instances
  • There are no provisions for viewing funeral services, or transportation to/from another state or country
  • When assistance has been approved, no other additional services can be added or supplemented to those indicated by the coordinator

Referral Process

To initiate a referral, call (602) 506-5801. Be prepared to provide the following information: Name of Decedent, Address, Date of Birth, Date of Death, Social Security Number, and Marital Status; next of kin Full Name, Address, and Phone Number. Walk-ins cannot be accommodated.

A Burial Coordinator will be assigned and will contact the family as soon as possible. An application and determination interview is then scheduled. At the interview the family is required to provide proof of income, other additional financial resources, rent/mortgage receipt, and other documentation as directed by the caseworker. In most instances, a decision is rendered at the time of interview with the next of kin.

Unclaimed Remains

Referrals of unclaimed remains should be called in to (602) 506-5801 providing as much information as possible. If there is no known next of kin, an effort will be made to locate family and/or an investigation to decedent’s personal assets will be made to determine eligibility.


*Burial responsibility falls upon the next of kin. A.R.S. § 36-831, “A person upon whom the duty of burial is imposed who omits to perform such a duty…is liable to the Person(s) performing the duty in their stead in the amount of two times the expenses the person(s) incurred in burying the body, which amount may be recovered in a civil action.”
Contact Us
Phone: 602.506.5801 (24/7)
Fax: 602.506.2495
Hours of Operation
8 AM to 5 PM
Monday through Friday
except holidays
Call Adult Protective Services (Arizona)
or area law enforcement (911) if the person appears to be at risk, or suffering from loss or harm.