What happens if you pass away when no one is left to take care of you? Who will take care of you, and where will you end your life? Public funeral services are spreading nationwide to guarantee the last path of life.
Public funerals are provided for people who are not related. The government undertakes the funeral if there is no family member or relative. This service is also provided for cases in which relatives refuse to dispose of the body.
According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, 3,603 people died without any relatives last year. It has steadily increased since 2013, up 2.8 times in eight years. It is because the number of single-person households and social disconnection increased, resulting in more blind spots for funerals.
With this trend, the Seoul Metropolitan Government enacted an ordinance for those who died without relatives in 2018. They set up a mortuary dedicated to public funerals in Seunghwawon. Also, the Ministry of Health and Welfare is introducing starlight buses that provide a funeral space inside the bus. The bus also visits local areas where the funeral support system is insufficient.
Public funeral services are being implemented locally. In July, Daegu City started providing the services. Only those who belong to a particular case can use the service: low-income people, teenagers, people with impairments, and seniors aged 75 or older among those without relatives. The service mainly provides items and cash for funerals.
Controversy is constantly occurring over the eligibility and support range surrounding public funeral services. How much support is needed to ensure the dignity of the dead? It is time to think about it as a member of society.