Deceased Indigent Program

The County’s Deceased Indigent Program provides assistance for the disposition of deceased County residents whose family or estate cannot provide for cremation or burial.   To qualify, both the decedent and the person legally responsible for the disposition of the remains must be legally indigent.  California State law requires blood relatives of the deceased to provide for the disposition of the remains (Health and Safety Code sections 7100 and 7103).  Failure to act in a timely manner is a criminal misdemeanor violation and could result in the next of kin being required to pay up to three times the cost of the disposition.


Section 7100 of the Health and Safety Code establishes next of kin.


The general order of priority for the duty of disposition of remains and the liability for reasonable costs is:


  1. Agent under a power of attorney for healthcare with right and duty of disposition
  2. Competent surviving spouse
  3. Competent adult children
  4. Competent parent(s)
  5. Competent adult sibling(s)
  6. Competent adult person in next degree of kinship
  7. Public Administrator

Residents of San Benito County may be eligible for assistance as required by law.   Applicants must prove that the deceased and the next of kin are indigent and financially unable to pay for the disposition of the remains.  


To qualify for Deceased Indigent Program, the deceased must meet the following criteria:

  1. They have no estate from which to pay the cost of a cremation or burial
  2. They have no family who can afford providing this service
  3. They are not eligible for burial assistance from the Veterans Administration


If you feel you qualify, contact Detective Sgt. Lamonica at the Sheriff’s Office at 636-4080 to start the application process. At minimum a copy of the applicant’s and decedent’s last paycheck stubs and most current tax returns will need to be presented


If you qualify for the deceased indigent program, San Benito County will handle final disposition of the remains.  If the deceased is a Veteran (Honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States), the burial cannot be made in any cemetery or burial ground used exclusively for the pauper dead.  Burial is often made in a military cemetery plot.  Veteran Services can assist with the burial of a Veteran.  A DD form 214, Veterans service number, or similar documentation will be needed to show the deceased served in, and was honorably discharged from, the Armed Forces of the United States.  Contact Veteran Services at (831) 637-4846, to determine eligibility, and apply for assistance, for a military burial.