Helpful Links

Here you will find different links to local businesses that provide helpful products and services.

Social Security and VA Benefits

Social Security Benefits

$255 Lump Sum Death Benefbe insured under Social Security.  This payment can be made to: 

The surviving spouse, if living with the deceased or, if living apart was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased person's record, or...

If there is no surviving spouse, a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased person's record on the month of death. 

If there isn't a spouse or child meeting these requirements, then the lump-sum benefit is not paid.  The lump sum benefit cannot be paid to a funeral home, cemetery, or estate.

After you have completed the arrangements with us, we complete and fax form SSA-721, "Statement of Death by Funeral Director," directly to Social Security as well as entering the information into Missouri's electronic death registration system.  This system electronically notifies SSA of the death.  Generally, this is sufficient so you do not have to provide a certified copy of the death certificate to Social Security.

Click here for the Lump Sum Death Benefit information page from Social Security.

Survivors Benefits

Social Security survivors benefits help ease the financial burden that follows a worker's death. Almost all children under age 18 will get monthly benefits if a working parent dies. Other family members may be eligible for benefits, too.  Anyone who has worked and paid Social Security (FICA) taxes has been earning Social Security benefits for his or her family. The amount of work needed to pay survivors benefits depends on the worker's age at the time of death. It may be as little as 1-1/2 years for a young worker. No one needs more than 10 years.

Here is a list of family members who usually can get benefits:

• Widows and widowers age 60 or older.
• Widows and widowers at any age if caring for the deceased's child(ren) who are under age 16 or disabled.
• Divorced wives and husbands age 60 or older, if married to the deceased 10 years or more.
• Widows, widowers, divorced wives, and divorced husbands age 50 or older, if they are disabled.
• Children up to age 18.
• Children age 18 - 19, if they attend elementary school or high school full time.
• Children over age 18, if they became disabled before age 22.
• The deceased worker's parents age 62 or older, if they were being supported by the worker.

Applying for Benefits

If you're already getting benefits as a wife or husband on your spouse's record when he or she dies, in many situations Social Security can change your payments to survivors benefits once you report the death to them. Benefits for any children will also automatically be changed to survivors benefits after the death is reported to Social Security.

This publication from Social Security may be helpful.

For More Information

For more information, write or visit any Social Security office, or phone the toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. You can speak to a representative weekdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can also visit Social Security's Internet website: www.socialsecurity.gov.

Here are two Social Security Offices in our area:

Social Security Administration
650 Gravois Bluffs Blvd.
Fenton, MO 63026    
Google Map
Mon.-Fri. 9am - 4 pm

Social Security Administration

1215 Fern Ridge Parkway #100
Creve Coeur, MO 63141
Google Map
Mon.-Fri. 9am - 4 pm


Veterans:

IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY KNOW THE LOCATION OF YOUR MILITARY SEPARATION DOCUMENTS (USUALLY REFERRED TO AS A DD214).  IF YOU HAVE MISPLACED YOURS, REQUEST A REPLACEMENT FROM THE VETERAN'S ADMINISTRATION THROUGH THIS VA WEBPAGE.  NOT HAVING THIS DOCUMENT IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE CAN CAUSE A DELAY OF SEVERAL DAYS WHEN SCHEDULING A BURIAL AT A NATIONAL CEMETERY.

Benefits accorded to honorably discharged United States Armed Services veterans who have served our country for the required period of time include:

United States Flag to drape the casket, or be displayed with the casket.  Information here

Burial in a National Cemetery, such as Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, MO.  Spouses and dependent children are also eligible.
Concrete grave liner for casket burial in a National Cemetery.
Military Honors, including bugler for Taps, and flag folding ceremony.  A gun salute and pallbearers may be also be available.  Military Honors in this area are provided through the Missouri Military Honors program.
Veteran's headstone or grave marker, in a National Cemetery or a private cemetery as long as the grave is unmarked.  The VA page about headstones and markers is here.
Presidential Memorial Certificate.  Click here for information about this VA program.

Additional benefits may be available if the death was a service connected death or if the death occurs in a Veterans Administration facility (eg:  hospital or nursing home).  Visit this page for specific information about determining eligibility for VA benefits.

Your funeral director will ask you to provide the discharge/separation documents for the veteran.  We will arrange for the flag for your family, as well as scheduling the burial at a National Cemetery. 


IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO MAKE ANY SCHEDULE PLANS BEFORE YOUR FUNERAL DIRECTOR SCHEDULES THE BURIAL AT THE CEMETERY, AS THEIR SCHEDULE IS BUSY AND GENERALLY INFLEXIBLE.


 What Support is Available for Military Veterans Starting a Business?

  https://www.companydebt.com/what-support-is-available-for-military-veterans-starting-a-business/ 

Offers support and resources for those grieving the loss of a loved one from an aggressive cancer such as mesothelioma.

"https://www.asbestos.com/support/mesothelioma-grief-guide/">The Mesothelioma Center</a>


 What Business Resources are Available for People with Disabilities?

Our carefully researched 4500 word guide ‘What Business Resources are Available for People with Disabilities' covers

  • Business plans
  • Funding
  • Specialist advice and support
  • Regionally relevant grants

It can be found here: https://www.aabrs.com/business-resources-for-people-with-disabilities/ 


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    Please take a look at some of the great information we have at https://www.asbestos.com/support/mesothelioma-grief-guide/.

  • Mesothelioma       "https://www.asbestos.com/support/mesothelioma-grief-guide/">The Mesothelioma Center

    Offers support and resources for those grieving the loss of a loved one from an aggressive cancer such as mesothelioma.            

  • Here are some things we offer patients that set us apart from other advocacy sites:

    • A monthly online support group where we discuss a variety of topics pertaining to cancer patients.
    • An on-staff doctor and nurse available to answer any medical-related questions.
    • 24-hour live chat support.
    • Patient Advocates that work 1-on-1 with individuals to help them find local doctors, treatment centers and support groups.

    Please take a look at some of the great information we have at 
    https://www.asbestos.com/support/mesothelioma-grief-guide/
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  • . For more information on finding financial and legal assistance after being exposed to asbestos, visit https://www.mesotheliomalawyercenter.org/mesothelioma-lawyer/.
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  • Our goal at Drug Dangers www.drugdangers.com is to help keep the public educated and informed
  • of defective medical devices and dangerous medications that are currently available on the market today.
  • Pharmaceutical companies are trusted to put safe products on the shelves,
  • yet thousands of people lose their lives each year due to prescription medications with adverse side effects.
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New Home, New Life? Moving After the Loss of a Loved One

 

If you're dealing with the loss of a loved one, a fresh start may be exactly what the doctor ordered. You're likely haunted by painful reminders of your loss every day. Maybe your house lingers with memories, and perhaps objects with sentimental value follow you wherever you go. If so, it's time to move on — literally. Moving for a change of scenery is the best way to reinvigorate yourself and get a new lease on life.

 

While this can be a challenging step to take, sometimes it is the most prudent. Moving has numerous benefits — you can move closer to loved ones and away from difficult memories. The opportunity to get away from it all is another massive upside. Whatever your reason, we understand how important it is to honor life to truly heal from loss. We hope this guide from our team at Valhalla Funerals provides you with the perspective and advice you need for this significant change.

 

Moving on From the Past

Grieving is an ongoing process that requires time and effort to fade away. However, separating yourself from the treasured memories with your loved one is a way to speed up the grieving process. Physically moving away allows you to distance yourself from difficult memories, objects, and places.

 

Dealing With the Present

You will probably have to sell your old home when you move. While this can be an emotionally distressing time, remember that it does come with its upsides. Downsizing is an excellent task to keep you mentally occupied during this challenging time and help organize your life. Living simply and letting go is a beautiful healing process in itself.

 

However, we understand the pain that accompanies going through your departed one's belongings. Having to decide which items to keep and which ones to give away can be especially heartbreaking. Although it may feel like the last tangible link to your loved one, we recommend keeping only the items with sentimental value. Carrying around all sorts of things, big and small, will only burden you in your preparation for a new life. If you're finding it particularly difficult to make a decision, we recommend renting out a storage unit. This way, the items won't burden you with intense memories but will remain accessible for you in the future. According to Scientific American, this is essential in reconstructing narratives of your loved one.

 

Preparing for the Future

Once you're ready to buy a new place, check out homes that fall within your budget and meet your needs. This study by American Forests reports that access to the outdoors helps those grieving a loss, so perhaps look for a home with a big backyard. Great big windows and access to expansive parks is also always a good idea. Locations with nearby support groups and therapy centers are another way to narrow down on a location.

 

You will then need to decide on an approximate price range. Research the homes in your dream neighborhood extensively to understand the current market. For example, the sale price for a home in St. Louis averages about $218,000. This will vary by area and nearby amenities, so be sure to adjust your search settings if needed. Once you note the average cost that homes are selling for, you'll be able to decide on a property and put down an offer.


A change of scenery after losing a loved one is a must for those grieving and suffering. The simple act of moving has incredible therapeutic and healing effects. You will find that the ins and outs of the move will keep you busy, with less time to focus on the painful memories. It can be challenging to pick yourself up after a loss, but the pain is worth the effort. Creating a home that is uniquely yours is a positive step towards your new life.



While this can be a challenging step to take, sometimes it is the most prudent. Moving has numerous benefits — you can move closer to loved ones and away from difficult memories. The opportunity to get away from it all is another massive upside. Whatever your reason, we understand how important it is to honor life to truly heal from loss. We hope this guide from our team at Valhalla Funerals provides you with the perspective and advice you need for this significant change.

 

Moving on From the Past

Grieving is an ongoing process that requires time and effort to fade away. However, separating yourself from the treasured memories with your loved one is a way to speed up the grieving process. Physically moving away allows you to distance yourself from difficult memories, objects, and places.

 

Dealing With the Present

You will probably have to sell your old home when you move. While this can be an emotionally distressing time, remember that it does come with its upsides. Downsizing is an excellent task to keep you mentally occupied during this challenging time and help organize your life. Living simply and letting go is a beautiful healing process in itself.

 

However, we understand the pain that accompanies going through your departed one's belongings. Having to decide which items to keep and which ones to give away can be especially heartbreaking. Although it may feel like the last tangible link to your loved one, we recommend keeping only the items with sentimental value. Carrying around all sorts of things, big and small, will only burden you in your preparation for a new life. If you're finding it particularly difficult to make a decision, we recommend renting out a storage unit. This way, the items won't burden you with intense memories but will remain accessible for you in the future. According to Scientific American, this is essential in reconstructing narratives of your loved one.

 

Preparing for the Future

Once you're ready to buy a new place, check out homes that fall within your budget and meet your needs. This study by American Forests reports that access to the outdoors helps those grieving a loss, so perhaps look for a home with a big backyard. Great big windows and access to expansive parks is also always a good idea. Locations with nearby support groups and therapy centers are another way to narrow down on a location.

 

You will then need to decide on an approximate price range. Research the homes in your dream neighborhood extensively to understand the current market. For example, the sale price for a home in St. Louis averages about $218,000. This will vary by area and nearby amenities, so be sure to adjust your search settings if needed. Once you note the average cost that homes are selling for, you'll be able to decide on a property and put down an offer.



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Caring for Seniors with Autism

Caring for Seniors with Autism
Image credit: balouriarajesh / Pixabay

When we hear about autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we often think about small children and the challenges they will need to face throughout their lives, but most often than not we forget that these children will grow up and turn into young adults and then seniors.

Although autism can’t be cured, there are many approaches that you, as a caregiver - whether you are a beloved family member or a paid professional - can make to facilitate the life of an elderly that has been diagnosed with ASD.

Autism Spectrum Disorder can be diagnosed at any stage in life, however, when it is rather later than earlier, it can be a little more challenging - but not impossible - to adjust. If diagnosed at a later stage in life, usually, a series of changes in the daily routine and care needs to be made.

If the diagnosis was made in the early years, this is something that you will be more accustomed to and dealing with a senior with Autism could be a little less changeling for the family.

We must all agree that one of the most important aspects of our existence is having a good quality of life, and so, with that in mind, here are some great tips on how to take care of seniors with ASD.

Caring for Seniors with Autism Calendar
Image credit: 422737 / Pixabay

Keeping a daily routine

In general, individuals with ASD need a healthy daily routine. These simple everyday tasks will be extremely powerful as they will reinforce a feeling of happiness, stability and overall well-being. When these feelings are surfaced and experienced, it will be much easier for them to accept and handle other changes when needed.

A great proactive plan is to sit down and make a morning schedule or a to-do list with the ASD senior. The routine must be straightforward and easy to follow. Some examples can include healthy meal times, short walks - if possible, an art class, medication at a specific time of the day, attending a support group, quality family time.

Also, keep in mind that a hygiene routine should be included. Reminding the senior with ASD of the good points of their appearance can be a good way of encouraging healthy hygiene habits.

A safe environment for everyone

It is imperative to ensure that the environment is prepared according to the difficulties of each individual.

For example, if the elderly person has difficulty moving around, it is essential to avoid slippery rugs, floors and cluttered spaces. Another idea is to install bars around so they can walk freely when needed.

Sociability is a must

To improve the individual's quality of life diagnosed with Autism, a key element is social interaction.

Whenever possible, seniors should attend a support group. Support groups can be a great place for them to identify with other people that face the same everyday challenges.

Always go slow and see how they feel - they don’t like being pushed too hard into doing something they are not 100% comfortable with and sure about. A good idea is to start nice and easy, with an easy topic and then add someone else into the conversation.

Since social interaction can be harder for seniors with ASD, support groups could be added to the routine.

Family support can be life-changing

To ensure good self-esteem and results in individuals with autism in older stages in life, it is important to have a good, caring and healthy family environment.

Although it is not always easy to deal with elderly and autistic patients, the family is one of the most important roles in this process.

Be kind to their sensitivities

People with autism are far more sensible as their senses are sharper than normal. Music and general noises will sound louder in their ears, lights can appear much brighter for them and smells can feel stronger.

With this in mind, try to find out which one of these senses can be a trigger and work towards minimizing it. A lower TV and radio can be more accommodating while dimming the light or using side lamps can do the trick for avoiding distractions and stress.

Watch out for the non-spoken language

Autism affects the way people communicate, especially seniors, so you will need to be extra sensitive when it comes to understanding what they need and figure out what is going on with them.

Simple questions such as “How are you feeling?” should be avoided and replaced with more specific questions such as “Are you happy/sad today?” “Are you feeling leg cramps or stiff joints?” Specific questions are more prompted to result in clear replies.

Some ASD seniors may panic one day when they realize that they have lost their hearing or can no longer see, so all eyes should be on them to understand the unspoken words of what is happening.