Newsletter

2018  ANNUAL MEMBERS’ MEETING COMING UP – MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

 Our annual meeting will take place Monday, May 7, 1:00 at the Chicago Near North Branch of the Chicago Public Library, 310 W Division Street. The meeting is open to the public, so bring friends or family members. Parking is limited; public transportation is recommended.

Our Speaker, Nancy Flowers, MSW, LCSW, Community Education Program Manager, Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care, will speak about Comfort Care End of Life: Hospice Care and Palliative Care. Her lecture will be followed by a Q&A session.

Nancy Flowers is the Community Education Program Manager and Dementia Project Manager for

Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care. In this role Nancy provides community and clinical education for

community members and professionals on topics related to advance care planning, end of life care and

advanced dementia care.  She has been a social worker, educator and manager for the past 35 years, working primarily with older adults and persons with disabilities, in a variety of health care and government settings.

 

What’s New

CMA has completed a price survey for the Chicago area.  A copy is available upon request. Call 773/327-4604 and a copy will be mailed to you.

Latest Study from the Funeral Consumers Alliance

Chicago Memorial Association offers a number of benefits to members including access to favorable pricing via a cooperating funeral home, area funeral price survey, forms for planning your funeral, annual meeting with speaker and support of our national organization, The Funeral Consumers Alliance.  Recently, the Alliance has worked with the Consumer Federation of America to survey 200 funeral homes regarding availability of pricing online on websites.  The result was that only 16% of funeral homes with websites included their full price lists online which makes it more difficult to help consumers comparison shop.  Of 211 funeral homes surveyed in 25 cities, 193 had websites but only 30 posted their complete price list online. The current Funeral Rule requires that funeral homes give prices over the phone and in person but does not require prices on the website because the original rule predates the rise of the internet. The FTC is scheduled to review the rule in 2019 and both organizations have petitioned the commission for early review and asked for the FTC to require on line pricing disclosure.  CMA definitely supports this requirement.  For more info, go to this address: news > blog-the daily dirge > survey of online funeral price information in 26 state-capita at the Funeral Consumers Alliance website.

Apply to serve on our Board of Directors. Chicago Memorial Association is looking for some new board members who can bring different perspectives and fresh energy to our organization. If you are interested, call our membership number,773-327-4604.


 Keeping up!

 

Chicago Memorial Association has been in existence since 1963, over 55 years.  As with most organizations things change and some things stay the same.  We want to take this opportunity to review with our members where we are.  Our mission remains the same to promote dignity, simplicity and economy in funeral and memorial arrangements by educating our members and providing access to information about funeral options.  To provide this, we continue to have a discounted arrangement for direct cremation with a funeral home with two locations in the Chicago area.  One location is in the Northwest part of Chicago and the other in a near-loop location.  To date, many members have used this service and have been able to have fair pricing for their cremation.  The funeral home will also handle simple to complex funeral arrangements from cremation to traditional funerals.   For CMA members, their service area is for these Illinois counties; Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Will.  For pricing information which is available only to CMA members, visit our website,

www: chicagomemorialassociation.org under pricing.

 

CMA has also been aware of the need for funeral home pricing in the Chicago area.  We have compiled a survey of a sample of funeral home pricing which is available to our members to comparison shop in their area.

 

We continue to have an annual meeting with a speaker that addresses current issues and needs of our membership.

 

Included in this newsletter is an updated funeral planning form.  For your convenience, a self-addressed envelope to our cooperating funeral home is also included. Please think about sending a new planning form with current information so they have it on file.  If you don’t want to use this service, we suggest you fill it out and keep with your funeral planning documents for your relatives and friends.

 

Our membership fee not an annual fee but a lifetime membership!

 

Hope we have updated you and answered some of your common questions.

 

These reports indicate why it is important for organizations like Chicago Memorial Association to support initiatives like these to educate and inform consumers about funeral industry pricing and provide advice for end of life planning.  Please consider donating to support our continuing activities and ask friends and families to join CMA as members or volunteers.

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Yes, funeral planning is the way to go, and I want to support the work of Chicago Memorial Association! Please make check payable to Chicago Memorial Association and use the enclosed reply envelope to mail to PO Box 5889, Chicago, IL 60680.

 

Donation amount $__________

 

Name____________________________________________________

 

Address_____________________________________City_______________________________________

 

State____________ Zip__________ Phone_________________

 

E-Mail Address____________________

Please send me membership brochures (at no charge) for myself and friends.

 

Please send me information about leaving a bequest to CMA. (This does not obligate me in any way)

2017 ANNUAL MEMBERS’ MEETING COMING UP – MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

Our annual meeting will take place Monday, May 15, 1:00 at the Chicago Near North Branch of the Chicago Public Library, 310 W Division Street. The meeting is open to the public, so bring friends or family members. Parking is limited; public transportation is recommended.
Our Speaker, attorney Mark Hellner, will speak on Advanced Health Care Directives and Power of Attorney. Mr.Hellner is the Executive Director of the Center for Disability & Elder Law. His lecture will be followed CHICAGO MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION by a Q&A session.

What’s New

National Public Radio’s All Things Considered did a month-long investigation into pricing and marketing in the funeral business. They collected price information around the country and found “a confusing, unhelpful system that seems to be designed to be impenetrable by average consumers.” To get info on the NPR report go to this page.

Additionally, our parent organization, Funeral Consumers Alliance and the Consumer Federation of America also did a price survey of 103 independent funeral homes compared to corporate owned (SCI) in those same localities. In general, they found that SCI Prices were 72% higher for simple cremation than independent funeral homes surveyed and 30% higher than Full-Disclosure Funeral homes. For more information go to www.funerals.org and get the full report.

These reports indicate why it is important for organizations like Chicago Memorial Association to support initiatives like these to educate and inform consumers about funeral industry pricing. CMA is in the process of preparing price surveys in the Chicago area to provide to our members. Please consider donating to support these activities and ask friends and families to join CMA as members or volunteers.

Yes, funeral planning is the way to go, and I want to support the work of Chicago Memorial Association!

Name____________________________________________________Donation amount $__________

Address_____________________________________City_______________________________________

State____________ Zip__________ Phone__________________E-Mail Address____________________

How did you hear about CMA? Member________family/friend _________Internet___________Other_____

□Please send me information about leaving a bequest to CMA. (This does not obligate me in any way)

ADVICE FROM FUNERAL CONSUMERS ALLIANCE (FCA — OUR PARENT ORGANIZATION)
Possible sources of help to pay for a funeral:

—Employer. Some companies have survivor benefits available for the family of the deceased. Also, some unions may offer benefits to help cover or defray funeral costs.

—Veterans’ benefits. All eligible veterans are entitled to burial in a national cemetery, with no charge for the gravesite, headstone, vault and interment. The family is responsible for all other charges. The VA makes additional burial allowance payments in cases of death during active duty, from service-related injuries, in a VA facility, or when veteran was receiving a VA pension or disability payments. Veterans’ spouses and dependents are also entitled to some burial benefits. See our brochure, “Veterans’ Funeral and Burial Benefits,” for more information.

—Victims’ assistance. Some states help families of accident or homicide victims with funeral expenses through their Victim Compensation Program. For example, New York State will pay up to $6,000 for the funeral of a homicide victim. Check the policy in your state.

—Other government agencies. Surviving spouses of Social Security recipients can receive a lump-sum death payment of $255. In addition, some states, or county Social Services Departments may help with the funeral costs of an indigent person, or those receiving Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. The amount is usually minimal, barely covering a cremation or direct burial.

—Fund-raising. Churches, businesses, clubs, and other groups sometimes help raise money to defray the costs for funerals for those in need. In some communities it is customary to hold special events, car washes or bake sales to help families with these expenses. You could also try crowd-funding websites like GoFundMe and Indiegogo, which allow individuals to set up pages to request donations.

—Borrowing. We believe that no one should go into debt to bury or cremate a loved one, and strongly advise against taking out a loan. Most ordinary lenders are reluctant to finance funerals. But some special loan companies offer their services through funeral homes. If your credit is good, you can borrow up to $10,000 with interest rates of about 15%. But borrowing money to pay for funeral costs should be a last resort only, after all other avenues have been exhausted.

—Free urns for those in need—Memorial Gallery, a Seattle company that sells urns and cremation/remembrance jewelry, is kindly offering free, slightly blemished urns to those who can’t afford one. You must mention Funeral Consumers Alliance to receive this offer. Contact them at www.memorialgallery.com or call them at 1-253-649-0567. Let them know what style of urn would be appropriate (for example, masculine, feminine, and child). They will select an urn and mail it to you. Please note, the urn is free, but you must pay the shipping charge.
Sources
Chicago Memorial Association receives calls regarding funeral services for outside of our 5 county areas. The website: www.usafuneralhomesonline.com provides an extensive directory of funeral homes and services for all 50 states. It lists the cities that have funeral homes and services; links and information about funeral homes, funeral flowers, cremation services, caskets, florists, and grave markers.